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Periodical Pop-ups

POSTED ON: 07/27/17 pop-up event ideas

One pop-up event takes the idea of “You really had to be there” literally. And literarily.

Picture your favorite magazine springing to life. Now imagine the entire masthead joining you for drinks. But don’t visualize any tweets, Snaps, selfies, recordings or links.

That’s “Pop-up Magazine.”

At this living “publication,” writers stand before an audience and tell true stories. Giant screens filled with animated art illustrate those stories, and a live orchestra provides a soundtrack. The pop-up event (which proves that anything can pop up) is structured like a general interest magazine. It begins with an editor’s note, and then proceeds to short, “front-of-book” dispatches – brief reviews, mini-profiles and infographics. Following are longer, in-depth pieces that mimic full-length magazine features. So, if you haven’t been to the show (or know someone who has), that’s all you’ll know going in. And that’s the point.

This pop-up event is the most ephemeral entry in the exploding genre of live storytelling shows. “Pop-up Magazine,” created in 2009, has been likened to memoir-driven events like “The Moth” and “Mortified,” the uber-literary WordTheatre, staged versions of radio shows like “This American Life” and “Radiolab” and the science-based “Story Collider.”

Harnessing FOMO

“Pop-Up Magazine” explores the post-modern notion of interaction. Part of that exploration is leaving no digital trail.

As vast and alluring as our interactions on social media can be, they sometimes lack authenticity and sensitivity. Immediacy is not intimacy. Therefore, it’s no coincidence that, in this digital world, audiences are seeing the appeal of the most ancient form of communication. Live storytelling will always be primal. Impermanence will always be tantalizing.

“Pop-up Magazine” redefines real-time connection with style, wit and heart. “Philosophically, we have nothing against recorded live events,” says cofounder Douglas McGray, who has worked as a magazine writer and contributor to “This American Life.” “But as we started making the show, we realized there’s something interesting about not recording it. You pay attention differently if you know you can’t go home and share a link. There’s something very exciting about seeing something that will happen once and never again.”

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