Who knew? Islanders thrive on Trivia Night

By Eleni Collins - December 13, 2007

Do you know which presidential candidate carried Spiro Agnew's home state of Maryland in the 1968 election? Or what New York Mets first baseman debuted as an actor on Seinfeld? How about West Tisbury's zip code?

The questions at Outerland's Trivia Night were as random as the crowd, which ranged from 20-somethings to the more mature. Held weekly beginning this past fall, trivia night has struck a chord with the Island crowd.

"We've really had a full house," said Mona Rosenthal, co-owner of Outerland. "One week we had over 70 people show. It's been a consistent event, and it's been a real success."

Marques Rivers, Lauren Weaver, Stephanie Pavao, and Anna Baumhofer
The "No-Eyed-Deers" in action. Clockwise from bottom left is Marques Rivers, Lauren Weaver, Stephanie Pavao, and Anna Baumhofer. Photos by Ralph Stewart. Click photo for larger version.

The evening begins at 7 pm, when contestants form themselves into teams of up to four people. Each team must decide on a name, and the group with the funniest or most creative name wins a prize. This past week, the "Sticky Fingers" won a box of Dunkin Donuts Munchkins, "imported all the way from Rhode Island," quipped host Whitney Dailey.

Trivia night contestants Lauren Weaver, Stephanie Pavao, and Marques Rivers have attended several trivia nights at Outerland and work hard to come up with unique names each week. Dubbed the "No-Eyed-Deers" last Wednesday, they have also used "CPR Certified" (both women work at the M.V. Hospital), and "Swingers," their summer softball team name.

"We change it up, we don't want to dominate," says Ms. Pavao, of Oak Bluffs, whose team took third place last week.

"It stimulates the brain," says Ms. Weaver. "And it's a way to pass the time in the winter."

Another group of regulars is the "We're Here For the Nerds" team. Three of the four women have been to every trivia night at Outerland, and their name originated from their lack of winnings.

Coreen, Mark, and Dave Alton
Team "Sticky Fingers" is (left to right) Coreen, Mark, and Dave Alton. Click photo for larger version.

"Every week, they'd hand out Nerds as a prize for the last place team," said Nerds team member Justen Walker, of Oak Bluffs. Since they've improved their trivia knowledge, they now bring their own box of Nerds, a type of candy. They even won most creative name two weeks ago.

Ray Whitaker and Whitney Dailey host the event, and are also in charge of providing the trivia questions.

"We pool all our resources," says Mr. Whitaker. "We use Trivial Pursuit, web sites. Mona is in charge of the music and movie trivia."

Included in the five categories are audio "soundbytes," one for movie quotes and one for music. An approximate ten-second movie clip is played on the sound system and the team must provide the movie's title. For the music section, the beginning of a song is played, and the team must provide the song title or artist.

Carol Borselle, left, and Beth Sawyer
Two members of team "Smart Girls" are Carol Borselle, left, and Beth Sawyer. Click photo for larger version.

The categories also include general knowledge, music trivia, and Vineyard trivia. The event is contestant-friendly; no one is ever put on the spot, unless by one's own teammates; questions and soundbytes are repeated and sometimes lengthened; and answers are read aloud after all teams turns in their sheets. A complaint heard among some younger attendees is that the questions are too dated and therefore difficult. However, the questions change weekly, so there is always variety.

The winning prize varies weekly, but usually includes a gift certificate equal to the team's drink tab, cash, or Outerland apparel. Last week's winning team, the Paper Tigers (made up of Times employees), were also given four tickets to the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival's screening of "Gypsy Caravan," held at Outerland.

Next Wednesday, Dec. 19, is Outerland's last trivia night before the venue closes for the season. The event is from 7 to 9 pm. There is no cover charge, and a bar menu is available with several pizza selections and menu specials.

As Outerland's web site suggests, "Find out if you're the sharpest tool in the shed - or just a tool."

Outerland is located on Airport Road in Edgartown. For more information, call 508-693-1137.