Pop-Up Magazine will hit its 50th show this season as the experiential event brings its 2018 Winter issue to more stops than ever before. With notable storytellers like Late Show with Seth Myers comedian Aparna Nancherla, novelist Daniel Alarcon, New York Times bestselling author Sloane Crosley, and National Geographic photographer David Guttenfelder, Pop-Up Magazine will hit San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Austin, New Orleans, and Atlanta.

This Friday (Feb. 2) Pop-Up Magazine will host its 50th show in front of a sold out audience at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, the same city Editor-in-Chief Douglas McGray started Pop-Up eight years ago.


McGray “started Pop-Up as a side project in San Francisco to bring storytellers from different genres and different mediums together,” Pop-Up Magazine’s Senior Producer Anita Badejo told Amplify. “It started in a really small 300-seat theater in the Mission and in the past eight years it has expanded a ton. At this point we go on three national tours a year in really big theaters across the country like the Theater at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.”

Pop-Up Magazine events bring the pages of a general interest magazine to life with entirely original content. It is a multi-media, immersive, live storytelling experience where filmmakers, radio producers, writers, and photographers present their narratives on stage with the help of house band, Magik*Magik Orchestra.

The stage is presented with the orchestra on one side, the storyteller on the other, and a screen in the middle to project the film, photography, illustrations, or animations.

“No one is ever getting on stage to give a talk or a lecture or to explain how they do their work,” explained Badejo. “What you’re going to hear is an interesting story they rigorously reported and researched and that we helped them produce.”

Image by Erin Brethauer

“Having a really good balance of subjects is important to us and making sure we have good balance of genre in terms of the types of storytellers. We also want to make sure our show is diverse across gender lines, racial lines, in terms of where people are in their career,” said Badejo. “Any single show might cover technology, business, foreign affairs, relationships, advice, environment, or politics.”

This issue will feature Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings from the podcast The Nod, New York Times Magazine writer Joe Mooallem, director and writer for HBO’s Mommy Dead and Dearest Erin Lee Carr, and criminal justice reporter for Buzzfeed News Albert Samaha. Other guests include staff writers for Rolling Stone, Grammy award-winning musicians, and documentary filmmakers

“One of the things that is really special about Pop-Up is that you do see the storyteller. We’re used to consuming stories in isolation, it’s usually a solitary experience,” said Badejo. “At Pop-Up you’re listening and experiencing a story with a theater full of people and you’re seeing the storyteller right in front of you.”

Badejo added “People become a lot more interested in the relationship that the storyteller has to the story in a way that we don’t necessarily think about when we are just reading a story that someone has published somewhere. How often are you paying attention to who wrote it unless they are someone well-known?”

In addition to expanding the boundaries of the medium, Pop-Up is expanding their national reach.

“A big focus for us is reaching new places and going to new cities. This tour is the first time we’ve had a significant Southern leg. We’ve been to Austin before but that was it. We’re really excited to add New Orleans and Atlanta to the mix,” Badejo told Amplify.

Pop-Up Magazine’s Winter issue will hit San Francisco this week for two sold-out shows at Curran, followed by a show at the Theater at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles on Monday. Tickets for February’s stops in New York, Washington D.C., and more can be found at PopUpMagazine.com.