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CULTURE
The Live Issue
SF-based Pop-Up Magazine brings their live act to NYC for a collaborative production with ESPN The Magazine
by Karen Day
on 12 May 2011
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While the big debate among publications today mainly falls over print versus digital, Pop-Up Magazine offers a new way to think about editorial formatting with their with their ephemeral live events. At four "issues" strong, the performances piqued the interest of ESPN The Magazine's editor-in-chief Gary Belsky, who brought the San Francisco-based team behind Pop-Up to NYC for an unrehearsed, sports-enthused "Live Issue." The upshot was a highly entertaining and informative 90 minutes that mixed various forms of media to its full potential.

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Keeping each edition's contents top secret (images here are of the team preparing), Pop-Up founder Doug McGray explained that as a whole, they "try to make it flow like paging through a magazine, giving a brief editor's note and then straight into the content, no MC or introductions." With a who's who of journalists, artists and directors on board to contribute—including Starlee Kine, Cheryl Dunn and Craig Damrauer to name a few—the show gave commentators often masked by the written word the chance to tell stories in their own way.

For example, infographic maniac Andrew Kuo brought his charts to life with an entertaining break-down of his New York Knicks obsession. Kuo's idiosyncratic analyses might go overlooked by the uninitiated pilfering through a magazine spread, but the passion behind his heartfelt explanation really captured just how big a fan he is. Radiolab producer Pat Walters would have had a difficult time demonstrating just how long world champion free diver Tanya Streeter could hold her breath without asking the audience to participate in the challenge, as he told her backstory in the time frame she would use for one dive (roughly six minutes).

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Despite its sports-focused theme, the mix of longer and shorter stories, video excerpts, animated performances and more, the Live Issue was an exciting way to peruse the news and it definitely had the audience on the edge of their seats. Keep an eye out for Issue 5, hitting the San Fransisco Opera House this summer.

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