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Charlotte creatives Matt Olin and Tim Miner look for Queen City Quiz Show to broaden appreciation for Charlotte neighborhoods, reveal community connections.

Five minutes with Matt Olin and Tim Miner is all it takes to realize the pair are twin sons of different mothers.

Their back-and-forth patter over pizza lunch earlier this year had a rhythm and flow Jazz combos would envy. As if on cue, they finish each other’s sentences, burst into laughter at their own inside jokes and simultaneously become dead serious in their excitement about their forthcoming community development project, Queen City Quiz Show.

A Knight Cities Challenge grant recipient, Queen City Quiz Show is a traveling variety/game-show using historical Charlotte trivia and factoids in challenging Charlotte neighborhoods about their development and connections to the city. The five-part series launches this spring.

“If Jeopardy and The Daily Show had a baby in Charlotte – Queen City Quiz Show would be the result,” Miner said. “There are so many people who love the city like we do.  To know something is to love it and our hope is to help reveal more of Charlotte’s history and help people understand more about each-other, where we come from and the values we share.”

High-energy friends-since high-school at Charlotte Catholic, the 40-ish Olin and Miner are the duo who brought the morning speaker-series and international franchise, Creative Mornings to Charlotte almost two years ago. This caffeine-amped networking-cum-social-fun-fest hosts up to 300 guests monthly for a 90-minute exploration of creative endeavors organized around a single theme. Recent topics have included: Taboo, Moments and Mystery.

While the game-show format may ring familiar to Creative Mornings/Charlotte participants (a routine fun ice-breaker at every session), Olin and Miner are looking for Queen City Quiz Show to reach an even broader and more diverse audience than those participating in the monthly morning series.

“If the people that come to Queen City Quiz Show are simply the same as those folks who attend Creative Mornings, we will have failed,” said Miner, who is hopeful the project will attract Charlotte newcomers, established residents and members from all corners of the community.

Community Partnerships

To that end, the guys are working with a variety of neighborhood associations, community partners, the City of Charlotte, the Levine Museum of the New South and project volunteers in organizing the series.

Brenda Tindal, staff historian at the Levine Museum of the New South, will serve as a moderator at each event, leading discussions on Charlotte history and helping provide context.

“Partnering with Queen City Quiz Show is an extension of what we do at the museum,” said Tindal, “Which is building community through history. This is a creative, thoughtful and fun platform to extend our reach. We’re excited to be a part of it.”

The game-show features local musicians, artists and cultural groups to entertain and engage neighbors in a fun and educational event. Community teams compete for prize money awarded to the winner’s selected charitable/nonprofit organization.

Charles Thomas is Charlotte’s program director for the Knight Foundation. “Queen City Quiz Show is the type of community engagement program the Foundation enthusiastically supports,” Thomas said. “Matt and Tim are the right pair behind this and are the type of innovative civic leaders we want to help in developing broad-based community involvement that ultimately makes Charlotte a great place to live and work.”

Olin is optimistic about helping make connections.

“The more we know about Charlotte’s past and present,” Olin says, “The more poised we are to shape its future. Connecting people in ways that are unpredictable and not ordinarily done are fun, can expand the tight circles we tend to live in, break down walls, and help create understanding. And Tim and I can realize our secret fantasy of becoming game show hosts.”