POP QUIZ ‌ Test Your Cultural Literacy 

Word problems for arts lovers

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Negotiating the vast number of cultural options available to Charlestonians on any given weekend is a challenge to test the most knowledgeable among us. But understanding the maze of social cues, dress codes, esoterica, and etiquette that come with attending a performance or conversing about the local arts scene can be a brow-furrowing enterprise. One slip, and you’ve made an abject idiot of yourself, the laughingstock of the room. Test your local cultural literacy with these challenging word problems.


Three authors — bestselling Lowcountry novelist Dorothea Benton Frank (Pawley’s Island), S.C. Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth (Noticing Eden), and Charleston-area Christian chick-lit scribe Beth Webb Hart (Adelaide Piper) — all decide to spend a Saturday evening discussing the finer points of their craft at a GWAR concert at the Music Farm. Assume that Marjory drives to the concert from Mt. Pleasant, Beth takes a rickshaw from downtown, and Dorothea jets in on a private aircraft from New York and has a driver deliver her to the show in a stretch Bentley. Further assume that Marjory’s trip takes her 32 minutes, Beth’s ride lasts 17 minutes, and Dorothea’s flight from N.Y. was over before she knew it, probably because they were serving champagne and, sakes alive, she hadn’t hardly eaten a thing all day, bless her heart.

1. What other well-known local author are they most likely to meet and get into a conversation with at the G.W.A.R. concert?

A. Charlie Geer, author of Outbound: The Curious Secession of Latter-Day Charleston, there doing research on another satirical send-up of Peninsular aristocracy
B. James Rigney, a.k.a Robert Jordan, author of the 11-book The Wheel of Time series and no stranger to fantastical, otherworldly scenes of bloody carnage
C. The ghost of DuBose Heyward, Porgy author and George Gershwin friend, there on behalf of Gershwin to object to this stuff being called music
D . Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Mermaid Chair and secretly rumored to be a blood-spitting, giant-phallus-wearing thrash-metal/shock-rock fan despite herself
E. It’s a trick question: nobody converses at a GWAR concert

2. If you were to come upon the three women taking a cigarette break outside the entrance to the Music Farm, what single literary figure would be the best name to drop to assure they let you join them in making fun of the other women going inside?

A. Sei Shonagon, 10th-century Japanese pillow book author
B. Anäis Nin, early 20th-century French diarist and secret writer of erotica
C. Toni Morrison, Pulitzer Prize-winning magical realism novelist and big Oprah fan
D. Larry Flynt, First Amendment defender and golden boy of feminazis the world over
E. Sue Grafton — “The lady’s a genius, pure and simple.”


Two Improv Freight Trains leave the Meeting Street station at 8 p.m. on a Wednesday night. The first one has 9 members of the Theatre 99 comedy family on board, all between the ages of 23-36; the second carries 12 Theatre 99 comedians, including members of The Have Nots!, Moral Fixation, The Sofa Kings, Big Dicktionary, and at least two additional improv groups. The combined ages of the travelers on the second train is 336. At exactly 9 p.m., the two trains come to a complete stop for 60 minutes to make way for one sketch comedy troupe traveling on foot, which has not less than four members and not more than 11.

3. If the sketch comedy troupe has exactly four members, what are the chances that it is Men Are from Goose Creek, Women Are from Savannah?

A. 0%
B. 50%
C. 100%
D. Moncks Corner
E. 180 degrees

4. What time would the members of Hobo: The Musical meet the two Freight Trains, assuming they left the same station at 8 p.m.?

A. 6 a.m. the following day
B. Dinnertime
C. Anytime they damn well pleased
D. It’s a moot point: hobos can’t tell time, you fool
E. It depends upon whether the hobos have left the boxcar doors open and can see the North Star from where they’re sprawled out drinking 40s, telling lies, and scratching themselves


A downtown art gallery is opening a new exhibit with a free, open reception that’s scheduled to last from 6-10 p.m. The gallery lies somewhere within a rectangular area bounded by four streets: Meeting, Broad, East Bay, and Market, and its address is a single-digit number.

5. Assuming you arrive at the reception’s starting time, where do you park?

A. At the first open metered space you find, hoping this doesn’t take more than four hours
B. Anywhere you want, with that handy loading zone tag on your Yugo
C. In the gallery owner’s reserved space, after hanging a fake handicap badge from the mirror
D. Park? You take CARTA, like the rest of the French Quarter population
E. Just leave the car idling in front of the joint with the hazards on

6. Once inside, you must choose between a Sangiovese, a Pinot Noir, a Pinot Grigio, and an Uzbekistanian sparkling wine you’re unfamiliar with but which has a great label. There’s also Sierra Nevada on draft, but it’s being served only in plastic cups at this point (hey, you were the one who wanted to find a meter). You:

A. Look around discreetly and see what everyone else is drinking.
B. Notice that many of the paintings are of a maritime nature and choose the Pinot Grigio
C. Ask if they have any goat’s milk handy, because what could go better with Uzbekistanian sparkling wine?
D. Insist on a glass for your beer, then scream “Keg stand!” when you’re rebuffed
E. Ask for a “suicide” and slip the bartender a quarter

7. The artwork defies easy categorization, but seems to be a sort of postmodern abstract deconstructionist neoclassical landscape Dadaism, with heavy Gothic sensibilities and a whiff of surrealist camp. Spying the artist explaining his technique to another patron, you decide to:

A. Ask if his mother’s ever honestly told him “what she thinks of this shit”
B. Ask what the red dots are for, then snort Uzbekistanian sparkling wine out of your nose when he explains those paintings have been sold
C. Drop a handful of change on the floor at the patron’s feet so you can take an unobtrusive peek up her skirt
D. Clear your nose with the one-fingered “rocket-shot” technique on one of the paintings, then stand back and see if anyone notices the difference
E. Walk to the painting nearest them and mutter, “That looks exactly like a bowel movement.”
F. Listen politely for a moment, then whisper, “Anybody interested in a threesome?”


Your spouse wishes to take in a show on a Friday night. Checking the theatre listings, you find performances scheduled that evening at Charleston Stage Company, Footlight Theatre, The Village Playhouse, and PURE Theatre. While searching the listings, you discover also that the latest Rob Schneider atrocity is playing at the local cineplex. Parking is free at the cineplex, but popcorn, soda, and Milk Duds will run into the high double digits, and tickets will cost $9 each. Ticket prices for the theatre productions have an average price of $25, but you’ll have nothing to chew on but your own fingernails during the show, therefore you will incur no additional snack-related expenses. Assume start times for all options is 8 p.m., and all shows will last approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.

8. Your spouse expresses an interest in dinner before the selected show. What do you choose?

A. The Rob Schneider flick. It may be only 105 minutes long, but it’ll feel like an eternity.
B. The Charleston Stage play. After nearly two hours on the wooden pews at the Dock Street Theatre, your butts will be completely asleep and walking anywhere in public will be unthinkable.
C. The Pure Theatre show. If you wait ’til after to eat, the entire joint will be able to hear your stomach growling.
D. The Village Playhouse, obviously, as long as your spouse is okay with a dinner of free samples at the Food Lion next door.
E. The Footlight production. But make certain your spouse understands that “before the show” means the night before the show.


The tax incentives South Carolina provides to film production companies that shoot on location here are among the top packages offered by any state in the U.S. They provide a wage rebate of 20 percent for all crew, cast, and extras; a rebate up to 30 percent on all goods and services purchased, rented, or leased by the production company from a South Carolina supplier; and a 100 percent exemption on all state sales taxes.

9. What’s the worst movie ever to have been filmed in South Carolina?

A. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, 1995 (Jim Carrey, Ian McNeice, and Simon Callow)
B. The Legend of Bagger Vance, 1999 (Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron)
C. Chasers, 1994 (Tom Berenger, William McNamara, and Erika Eleniak)
D. The Prince of Tides, 1990 (Barbra Streisand, Nick Nolte, and Blythe Danner)
E. The Corndog Man, 1999 (Jim Holmes and Noble Willingham)
F. The Patriot, 1999 (Mel Gibson, Joely Richardson, and Heath Ledger)

Get Answer Key Here

POP QUIZ: 2006 College Student Guide

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