Sean runs a trivia company out of Minnesota
called “Trivia Mafia.”
Currently there is only one bar
in all of Milwaukee
(the city with more bars than grocery stores)
where you can play Trivia Mafia
and that bar is Vintage.
Here is why Sean and his dad came down for the weekend:
to go bar hopping, cialis
or rather bar hoping
that they will get some Trivia Mafia installed.
At the moment father and son are playing chess together
in the Lobby Lounge,
remembering the Milwaukee of the father’s kidhood.
How he went to Rufus King High School on the west side
long before leaving for Chicago to get his doctorate in Economics,
becoming a professor in Massachusetts,
then the president of Macalester College,
the job that brought him and Sean to St. Paul.
Each week Trivia Mafia features six rounds of five questions,
four of them have a theme,
and two of them are just general knowledge.
“I love presidential trivia.”
About 54 bars in the Twin Cities play Trivia Mafia.
Sean’s Mafia hopes to expand its presence
in Rochester, Duluth, Fargo and Milwaukee.
Sean’s father visits Milwaukee a lot
now that he has moved to Chicago.
He tells me that he just attended a conference
at Marquette University all about morality and psychology.
At the conference he learned how practicing mindfulness and meditation
has been measured by scientists to make you a better person.
“In a nutshell,
my economics training did not prepare me very well
for participating in that conference,
but it was a fascinating couple days.”
Sean went to the University of Minnesota
where he designed his own degree,
traveled nationally with a band called Heiruspecs,
then he finished his degree in music,
African American studies, cultural studies,
“and did the only thing you can with those degrees
which is run a trivia company!”
Aside from Trivia Mafia,
Sean also teaches a few classes at a music college
and plays bass for “Dessa.”
I ask father and son who usually wins at chess when they play.
Son replies, “Historically him, by a long shot.”
Father replies, “As my mental decline continues
and his maturation proceeds,
I think the tables are shifting.”
The supportive and proud father goes on to say,
“A lot of trivia contests are pure memory,
like ‘what was the name of the character this person played in that movie?’
but these guys are really good at asking questions
that make you think.
One of my all time favorite questions was,
‘who was the last president of the United States to wear a full beard
while in office?’
And you know, you’re not just going to know that,
but you’re going to think, well,
certainly by the time of Roosevelt
there weren’t any more full beards,
and the last one was obviously after Lincoln,
you know you’re in the late 19th century,
but the thing is you can make an educated guess,
it’s not like you either know it or you don’t.”
When I get up to leave, the mafia
tries to make an offer I can’t refuse:
“Tomorrow, Vintage, 5 ‘O Clock.
You can be on our team.”