What event has lasted 500 weeks in West Seattle and raised a lot of money?
The 500th weekly trivia night at Talaricos in the West Seattle Junction on May 15 was hosted by a man who has been part of the event for the entire ten years. West Seattle's Phil Tavel. Over the years the event has held fundraisers for West Seattle Helpline, Jazz Night School, West Seattle Be Prepared, West Seattle Senior Center and several for Westside Baby. The event holds an annual fundraiser for the YMCA, for after school children’s education programs - this year was the 5th annual and has raised close to $10,000.
But the focus of a Trivia Night after all is a combination of knowledge, wit, humor, and for more than a few, a battle against inebriation as teams attempt to focus their combined intellect on the answers to a dizzying array of questions.
Here are just a few from the big night:
How do you say "Sieze the day" in Latin?
What number squared times what number cubed equals 500?
Who is Bug's Bunny's arch enemy?
Which U.S. state is the Volunteer state?
Answering means not relying on Google on your phone and that someone on your team knows a little bit about a lot of things.
The teams buy in and win cash prizes on the non-fundraiser nights. The teams might take seeking the answers seriously but not themselves, since they all try to top each other with goofy names. Among them are: My Couch Pulls Out But I Don’t, Fat Kids are Harder to Kidnap, Children of the Cornbread, and Oops...Pooped ‘em. A couple of teams that have actually been coming almost weekly since Tavel began are JiHad me at Hello and the B-Team.
The event has had players from all over the world, a team of King County Superior Court Judges, a team from the Washington Bar Association, a team from the Coast Guard who Tavel sent trivia night questions to while they journeyed to the Antarctic, and we even had a team made up of most of the D1 council candidates during the 2015 campaign (they chose the name “The Primary is August 4th”).
Tavel himself explains how it began, "My roommate at the time, called me up and asked if I wanted to check out trivia night at Talarico’s. I asked him if my parents could join us, he said yes and we started a tradition of going together to trivia. We played as “occasionally right.” After close to a year of playing, one of the servers said that the current host had to miss a night and asked my friend Marcelo (I call him Mars) and I if we wanted to host trivia. Much like Wally Pipp taking a game off and letting Lou Gehrig take his place (and never getting to play first base for the Yankees again), I took up the challenge. That was in September of 2008 and I haven’t looked back since. Mars retired less than two years later and I just kept going. My ten year anniversary was this past September, and I usually host 47 or 48 trivia nights a year . Over those ten years our biggest night was 34 teams and 156 players for a YMCA fundraiser and our smallest night was 44 (aside from a snowstorm one year when I had a guest host and then I showed up to play with about 20 other people in a very empty restaurant).
It helps to have a smart guy run an event like this. Tavel is an attorney with Aaron M. Lukoff and Associates and holds a degree in Physics from Vassar College. In the past he has worked for Bloomberg, Nintendo, and has served as a Public Defender..
Tavel said he still has every single trivia night on his computer and is planning on one day writing a Triviapedia.
"It’s been an amazing run that I hope to keep up for the next 500 nights and beyond" Tavel who is running for City Council District 1 (West Seattle and South Park) against incumbent Lisa Herbold explained," Even if I get onto council, I plan to keep up with my trivia night."
Trivia nights in pubs, according to LastCallTrivia.com began in the 1970's in the United Kingdom. It began as a marketing strategy to improve business on slow nights in pubs there and was eventually brought to America. Trivia took off in popularity with the introduction of the Trivial Pursuit card game which actually originated in Canada. The ultimate trivia game, Jeopardy began it's run on television in 1984
For the big 500th night Robert Kraft’s Massage Parlor won witht The B-Team in second. The Peppy Chimpers (one of whom drove up from Portland for the event) came in 3rd.
They had 28 teams and 114 people playing.