May 21st 2014 Bottletree
“Civically Challenged: A Simple Game of Democracy” took the form of a live board game, in which contestants navigated their way through the strange and treacherous corridors of the democratic process.
Teams of four, each representing a citizens' group concerned with one of four civic issues relevant to Birmingham at the time (the controversial Pepsi sign atop the Two North Twentieth building in downtown Birmingham; the ALDOT 20/59 bridge redecking plan; the Hoover schools busing issue, and the Alagasco train depot demolition, competed. Each team got 15 minutes to play, being presented with various situations that did/could arise in each issue. It was up to the teams to choose what to do, and how to allocate their resources. These options included leading the audience in protest chants, making up headline grabbing twitter posts, hiring the mafia to topple a corporate regime, inciting anti-corporate rhetoric from the crowd, bribing officials, making up slogans, citing Supreme Court cases, and rolling giant dice. The team that advanced furthest in the first round had the unenviable task of answering questions from the United States citizenship test in the final round, where they competed as individuals.The winners of the game received gift certificates to fine dining restaurants. This "fun reinvention of a public forum" featured an esteemed panel of judges: John Archibald of al.com, Mark Kelly of Weld for Birmingham, and Joseph Casper Baker III of I Believe In Birmingham. The set was built during a volunteer work day at the Desert Island Supply Co, whom the event benefited. Poster by Scott Carlisle.