Millvale Library fundraiser 'Drink, Talk, Learn' put a premium on fun -

Millvale Library fundraiser ‘Drink, Talk, Learn’ put a premium on fun

Sunday, October 6, 2019 | 12:01 AM

As part of a unique Millvale Community Library (MCL) fundraiser, attendees delivered 3-minute Power­Point presentations on tea-party hosting and karaoke song-selection tips, tea’s benefits compared to coffee, “Gilmore Girls” and the Harry Potter universe’s Hufflepuff House. Oh, and someone wore a Tyrannosaurus Rex costume and presented the species’ grievances against humans.

Danielle Spinola, who owns Tupelo Honey Teas adjacent to MCL, organized the “Drink, Talk, Learn” event in celebration of Love Your Library Month.

She was inspired by a BuzzFeed story about friends who gave Power­Point presentations for each other while having a few drinks. They awarded a prize to the presenter whose speech, focusing on Sonic the Hedgehog, was the closest to three minutes.

Spinola told the adult attendees Sept. 28 that they would mimic that format.

“Every minute that you go over you can either choose to chug your drink, or I brought a bunch of bubblies to make us nice and burpy,” she said of the tea-based beverages she provided. Guests could add their own alcohol. “Then, we voted at the end.”

At the end, an impromptu speed round occurred where presenters couldn’t use slides and needed to speak for as close to 60 seconds as possible.

Guests were encouraged to heckle presenters using aerosol string and plastic clapper toys. The atmosphere was more akin to a high school sleepover or dinner among friends than bullying.

While cosplaying as a dinosaur, Shannon Miller, Tupelo Honey Teas tearista, said her grievances included vegans, unfriendly memes about T-Rexes, fat shaming, Barney and mullets — the latter of which is due to publicity surrounding the American Museum of Natural History’s claims that the species had feathery mullet-like plumage.

Unsurprisingly, Miller won the best costume category.

Spinola attempted to persuade the audience that tea is better than coffee. She said coffee is one plant, with people only drinking the beans.

“Tea is one plant, but all herbs are also tea, so name an herb, name a plant, name anything you’ve got in your backyard, we can make tea from it,” Spinola said.

A crowd member shouted, “Poison ivy!”

She also said that there is a tea to treat every ailment. Her thorough question-and-answer session explained that yerba mate tea contains the greatest amount of caffeine, the same as coffee, the difference between herbal tea and tea — they come from different plants — and that she drinks coffee twice yearly. She won for best 3-minute presentation, due to the amount of information presented.

Daniel Fleegle filled the crowd with uproarious laughter in “Spilling the Tea: A Guide for Tea Parties and Social Semantics,” during which he advised hosts to serve finger foods, lest there are no utensils “that could be confused as a weapon, should conversation get heated.” He listed the “neighbor boy trimming the hedges” as a pro for hosting a tea party outdoors, but “Nebby Debbie,” as a con.

Fleegle won the award for coming the closest to the time limit, at 2 minutes, 41 seconds. Brighton Heights resident Karen Derzic’s “Gilmore Girls” presentation won for best 60-second speech.

“I had a lovely time. It was great,” said Fleegle, who works as audience and communications manager at Attack Theatre modern dance company. “Something like this is actually really good for me, as a person who works in communications because you’ve got to get your story out. You’ve got to get out there and do your public speaking thing. And you know it’s fun,”

“It will definitely not be the last one of these for sure,” said Nora Peters, MCL interim executive director. “I think that this was the first event to kind of figure out what it looks like for the future.

“It was kind of like the pilot, and I definitely think that we’ll have more of them because it was very fun.”