Pop-Up Magazine is just that: a print publication performed live in various cities. “I like to say that it's kind of like a magazine, a podcast, a concert, a film, and a play all wrapped up into one,” says Anita Badejo, a former BuzzFeed News features editor who's now Pop-Up's executive editor.
On May 15, the Spring 2019 Issue comes to Benaroya Hall. Comedian Mohanad Elshieky will tell a story about what Badejo calls “the wildest ride he ever had in his life” while he was in his native Benghazi. Laurel Braitman (The New York Times, Wired) will dig into the dating scene on a small chain of Alaskan islands. Bainbridge Island–based writer Jon Mooallem (The New York Times Magazine) will discuss a dream he had years ago, so strange it led him to University of California, Santa Cruz, where the “dream bank” holds thousands of dreams people have had. There’ll be live music from Magik*Magik Orchestra, photos from Xyza Bacani.
In all, around ten stories will be compressed into a performance that runs an hour and a half. So how is this different from, say, a variety show? “I think that one of the things that sets us apart is that we focus on nonfiction storytelling,” Badejo says. “All the stories in the show are truly works of journalism. They’ve been reported. They’ve been fact-checked.”
The articles are even arranged like a print magazine: shorter, fizzier work up front; longer feature stories later. Images are woven into the storytelling. Those who attend also get the exclusive experience—see it now or miss it forever—since Pop-Up doesn’t record any audio or video at the shows. “Just putting a camera in the back of the room recording isn’t going to give the same people the same experience,” says Badejo.
Pop-Up Magazine: Spring 2019 Issue
May 15, Benaroya Hall, $32–$42