On the evening of Oct. 23, the bohemian environs of Bottletree Café will play host to a cosmopolitan event benefiting the Birmingham International Center. Globally Challenged, a sequel to a geography bee last year at the Avondale venue, will feature local contestants testing their cultural literacy for the edification, amusement and schadenfreude of the audience.
Unlike the more straightforward geography bee of last year’s vintage, this year’s Globally Challenged will feature teams – grouped by continent, with each contestant representing a different country – playing on a game board they have to progress along. True to realist foreign policy, the leading continent after the team round will balkanize back into separate countries for the final round, with each player competing against his former allies in a double-elimination format.
“Globally Challenged presents a chance for Birminghamians to show off their knowledge of world culture through friendly and humor-filled competition,” said Max Rykov, local young person, aspiring edutainment mogul and event emcee. “Audience members and competitors will be exposed to the best of our planet’s music, art, literature and more while interacting with one another in this participatory event. There will be plenty of opportunity for the brightest, bravest and luckiest to win fantastic prizes.”
The night will begin with a rendition of the superlatively difficult “Nations of the World” song from The Animaniacs, sung by the superlatively gifted Anita Clark. Other performances in the olio will include belly dancing from Aziza of Birmingham, flamenco dancing from Corazon Flamenco and music from Colombian guitarist Holguer Pimiento.
The evening’s trio of judges, operating with the icy impartiality of the Hague, will be Carole Griffin of Continental Bakery Downtown and Chez Lulu; Eric Fournier, geography professor at Samford University; and Rosie O’Beirne of UAB Digital Media.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Birmingham International Center, a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to promote global business development, including global education, in the state of Alabama.
Globally Challenged will return to Bottletree on Thursday, Oct. 23. Tickets are $20 to compete, $10 to attend. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the event begins at 8.