Trivia for Tunesters

Bay Area Girls Rock Camp's music-trivia night premiers at Actual Café.

Sari Flowers said that when she was a kid, her dad’s record room was something of a legend among her friends. The small alcove of her Sebastopol home was lined from floor to ceiling with records, and consequently her house was regularly filled with the eclectic sounds of her parents’ collection. “Growing up it was country music, punk music, rap music — it didn’t matter what kind of music,” she said. Her dad — an avid music lover and amateur rock photographer who grew up in Detroit with members of the iconic rock band MC5 — collected it all, and could even recite the storied histories behind much of the music.

That’s how Flowers, a board member for the nonprofit Bay Area Girls Rock Camp and a longtime musician, said she developed her own vast appreciation for the medium. It’s also how she came to know the answers to obscure music-trivia prompts such as: “Name the first song ever referred to in print as rock ‘n’ roll.” (The answer: “Caldonia,” a 1945 jump blues song by Louis Jordan — though it was the Erskine Hawkins version released later that same year that garnered the designation.)

So when Flowers and other camp organizers were brainstorming strategies to drum up money and volunteers for their music program, they found such questions to be the answer — that is, they designed a monthly, all-ages music-trivia night where music buffs of all ages could congregate, rattle off their musical know-how about everything from 1970s punk to contemporary pop, and show a little love for the all-girls music camp and after-school program via donations collected at the door. While Bay Area Girls Rock Camp already hosts various fundraising shows throughout the year, Flowers foresees team-based trivia nights being more inclusive than concerts, where music tends to drown out conversations and the focus is generally on the bands. “I guess I was trying to think of a way to have a community event that people could really engage in,” Flowers said. And what’s more, “There aren’t a lot of music-trivia nights around.”

Nor are there an abundance of quiz nights held at spaces other than bars. And so the next question for Flowers and fellow organizer and camp board member Dana Jae became where to hold a trivia event that could accommodate an all-ages crowd: a venue that was kid-friendly but still offered libations for the older faction. Flowers guessed that most adults probably wouldn’t go for a competitive trivia session sans alcohol. At the same time, holding a 21-and-up event in the name of a youth-centered program just seemed wrong. So the Actual Cafe (6334 San Pablo Ave., Oakland), a comfy, casual cafe that counts beer and wine among its many menu items, seemed like an ideal location.

And that’s where Bay Area Girls Rock Camp’s music-trivia night premieres on Friday, December 2, when music geeks of every ilk can converge in teams of three to six to test their knowledge of song lyrics, album covers, and other musical riddles for a chance to win vinyl and other prizes. Sistas in the Pit bassist Kofy Brown hosts the inaugural event, in which 10 percent of the cafe’s earnings from the evening will go to support the camp. Come with a team or form one on the spot. 8 p.m., donations accepted. 510-267-1808 or


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