Report by Elizabeth Bacon-Smith
The one aspect of the Event I could have 'lived without' was the Scavenger Hunt in Greenwich Village although it was organized by professionals. Some variations in it would've made a huge difference - say, more time; better and less obscure clues!
Some of the clues required knowledge of American slang, so if a team lacked an American familiar with the slang, they'd be lost. Even those who are familiar with it, might be. Not only did we have to follow the clues, to find the correct destinations, but we had to answer the trivia questions correctly, as well, to qualify as a winner. Here is an example of what we had to survive!
Getting orders... then ready for start!
The Burning Violins Team trying to solve the first clue "Find a park with the name of the venue in Cohen's 1993 tour that released a commemorative CD box" (Royal Albert Hall --> Albert Park)
The Asylum Team: X, X, Jane Addison (Australia), Christoph Aebi (Switzerland)
Kresha Frankhauser (Br. Columbia), Johanna C. (Louisiana),
Lisa Grunberger (New York), Armand Asher (New York),
Kieron Stout (Ireland), Richard Faber (Br. Columbia)
The Bluecoats Team: In the back row: Emily Way (Wisconsin), Olga Karpinskaia and Jack Bowerman (Ontario)
Anne and Joe Way (Wisconsin). First row: Pamela Bentley (Ohio), Ken Forsyth (UK), Jim Grorud (Wisconsin),
Esther Boerenbrik-de Haan (Holland)
The Strangers Team:
Back row: Jeannie and John Burgess (Delaware), Sinikka Hiljanen (Finland), X, X, Don Cummer (Ontario),
Tami Byler (Texas). First row: X, John Kloberdanz (New York)
Phil Spector may be responsible for the death of a lady, but Cohen won't take responsibility for this 'grotesque' album. An old merchants house is on a street that is equal to the placement of Memories on this album. What is the building number for this location? = Y |
Ha! We could all guess all we wanted, but no one on our team knew for sure what number the song was on the album.
Since the way the game worked was to find these various addresses and/or various-digit answers, via Clues X, Y, and Z, and then add them up to find the correct sum, which then corresponded to the 'correct' bar that you were supposed to go to next, every answer had to be absolutely correct!
So that you know what I mean on this, here's an example, with the final number [after adding up the three, various answers] and the bar it corresponded to:
7048 = Acme Underground; 9 Great Jones St
7049 = Bleecker Street Bar; 58 Bleecker St
7050 = Gonzalez y Gonzalez; 625 Broadway
7051 = Bitter End; 147 Bleecker St
Since no one knew the answer to the "Memories" question we decided just to go to the third clue, and try getting the answer to the second clue, later, by deduction. Here's the clue:
Montreal and New York have a longstanding rivalry regarding who makes better rings of boiled dough. There is a huge one on a street named like a massive desire. It is west of Bowery. How many letters are in the name of the credit card it's selling? = Z"
We figured out that the boiled dough was bagels, so we wanted a huge bagel shop. I scanned our map for a street west of Bowery, and – aha! - there it was ~ "Wanamaker!" I'm thinking 'sexual' [massive desire] and the slang term for a man/boy wanting relations with a woman/girl [this is more of a boy's term ~ something he might say to his buddies, "I really wanna make her!" I was certain I had it, so off I bolted, as it was at least 7 blocks away! No one had disagreed, but then I don't think I gave them much of a chance, either, as I was gone, and would return soon with the bagel shop's credit card.
The correct answer, of course, turned out to be "Great Jones." "Jones" is a slang term for massive desire, but my familiarity with it has to do with drugs, most specifically, heroin. Evelyn said that in New York it has to do with sex and, uhm, not going home with your... I'd never heard that usage, but even so, I hadn't even noticed the street named Great Jones [quite nearby], and I was already enroute to Wanamaker many streets north. The further I went, the more I realized I had lost my team . Convinced they would be findable as soon as I had the answer, I kept going.
Well, I had the only map, as well as the set of clues ~ which meant they were out there, somewhere behind me, with nothing. I finally found Wanamaker, and then had to run down it more blocks to finally find a [tiny] bagel shop; but it was on a side street that crossed Wanamaker. So, that couldn't be the right one, and they had no credit cards, and I had no team!
I borrowed someone on the street's cell phone, and called the Help number. I was told what bar I should be at. Unfortunately, Lightning and Margaret weren’t there, as I was also the only one with the sheet that had the Help number, or even the bar possibilities! So that was the sad story of our Team The Stubborn Garbage Bags.
Some other teams found their ways to the last control point where they were rewarded with a beer (the winning team got their drinks free of charge but the others had to pay). Congratulations to the winners [- and the Scavenger Hunt company for finding a real money-spinner: first every participant buys a ticket, 20 USD, and then the organizers, undoubtedly, get their share of the drinks and food from the bars that are visited during the hunt]
The Plywood Violins Team: (Front row) Sally and Stan Michalski
(Pennsylvania), Timothy Madigan (New York), Denny and Mary Arnoult
(Mississippi), (Back row) The Liptrot Family, Ian, Phillip, Paul
and Jean (UK). Photo collage © Stan Michalski.
Photos © 2004 Jeannie Burgess, Richard Faber,
Vern Silver, Eija and Jarkko Arjatsalo, Linda Straub