Pop-Up Magazine Comes to LA

Ace Hotel Marquee
(Photo credit: Leo Jung.)

Earlier this month (Thursday 11/13/14), Pop-Up Magazine, the live-events arm of California Sunday, returned to San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall for the first time since Song Reader, the music-themed special issue created in collaboration with Beck and McSweeney’s in May 2013. According to Deborah Vankin, an LA Times reporter:

The scene was a beautiful, chaotic mess, a mashup of live music, animation and rollicking storytelling for about 2,600 people filling Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. So ravenous was the crowd for Pop-Up Magazine’s particular brand of storytelling — original magazine-style nonfiction, told aloud and through still photography, recorded interviews and short films, with many pieces accompanied by live “soundtracks” — that the Nov. 13 event had sold out online in about 15 minutes.

Pop-Up Magazine after-party

Afterward, the crowd streamed into the lobby rotunda for what some described as a deafening party that went on for hours. The bars were packed with gregarious guests savoring and retelling the stories they had heard….

Her review also highlights a handful of stories from prior live “issues” of Pop-Up Magazine:

At a 2009 show, shortly before he died, photographer Larry Sultan narrated images from a photo album he’d found 30 years earlier at a flea market, retelling the life story of a young man who shipped off to war. At another show, “Toy Story 3″ director Lee Unkrich used film clips to give a behind-the-scenes look at how he sound-edited a single line of dialogue in the movie. Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Sam Green has shown a narrative short about fog in San Francisco, accompanied by live music. Author Michael Pollan and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker have read nonfiction stories. Pop-Up has even had “special issues,” like an all-music show in 2013, a collaboration with Beck and novelist Dave Eggers’ publishing company, McSweeney’s, that featured live music and stories about music.

Last week (Wednesday 11/19/14) Pop-Up Magazine performed its first event for Los Angeles fans, at the United Artists Theatre at the Ace Hotel. Table of Contents here. The stories themselves aren’t recorded or republished online, but writer Jessica Langlois retells a few of her favorite shorts and features from the LA show here.

Pop-Up Magazine Table of Contents

Sponsors included MailChimp, Google Play, Nest, and Converse. Like the stories themselves, sponsor messages are delivered from the stage. In between editorial stories, with the word “Advertisement” projected above the stage in big letters, short sponsored vignettes are performed as branded entertainment in miniature.

Nest Gallery at Pop-Up Magazine
A Nest-sponsored gallery installation at the after-party features art pieces commissioned by Nest for “story ads” in The California Sunday Magazine.


The after-party featured a soundtrack curated by Google Play, with songs prompted by the most recent film in the “California Inspires Me” series, a collaboration between Google Play and the California Sunday story ad studio.

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