Pop-Up Magazine began with the vision of creating a live magazine, a space where writers, musicians, photographers, filmmakers and animators could convene to transform their projects from written pieces into a heartfelt and authentic experience.

Founded in 2009, Pop-Up recruits authors from a wide array of backgrounds to bring their stories to a space and retell them in front of a live audience. This storytelling is accompanied by multimedia support ranging from animations and voice recordings to movie clips and live music. Every author gives a full-on performance, which combines elements of stand-up poetry, investigative journalism and TED talks.

These incredible performances are coordinated en-tour across the country, with shows from California to New York, as the magazine collaborates with renowned stages and recruits big-name contributors from both the entertainment and journalism industries.

Pop-Up made its long-awaited stop in Washington, D.C.’s Warner Theater on Feb. 9, putting on an unforgettable show that included stories about dating in desolate Alaskan towns, bonding over mistaken sports fandom, getting a free burrito for permanent ink and the life and death of ringtones.

POP-UP MAGAZINE | Combining art, storytelling and multimedia displays, Pop-Up Magazine breathed life into the various stories its diverse performers shared. Ranging from a tutorial in sacred classical music to a heartfelt retelling of a childhood friendship that ended prematurely, Pop-Up Magazine translated the traditionally print medium to the stage.

Some of these stories were complemented by complex musical arrangements and audiovisuals, but the best accompaniment of the night came for Sam Harnett’s “Sacred Sounds” piece, a fascinating showcase of the wonders of music engineering and how modern technology can complement art.

In an attempt to introduce the audience to the difficulties of properly performing medieval Christian chants in our time, Harnett invited Cappella Romana on stage, a professional vocal ensemble from Portland that specializes in sacred classical music. As he explained, old Gregorian and Byzantine chants were made with the acoustics of each church in mind. Among these storied churches, which had countless chants dedicated to it, was the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, which operated as a mosque before.

With Cappella Romana chanting at his side, Harnett demonstrated the marked changes to the music that come from increased reverberations and acoustic engagement. The acoustics were arranged by a sound engineer who studied the sound waves and physical composition of the Hagia tirelessly to recreate the sonic environment for the Pop-Up.

My favorite story, however, was that of Casa Sanchez, a sleepy burrito joint in San Francisco that, to increase popularity in the 1990s, came up with a fascinating promotions and outreach strategy. If customers got a tattoo of the restaurant’s logo — a man wearing a sombrero and sitting on a maize rocket ship — they would be guaranteed free food for life.

While this might sound bizarre and uneventful, filmmaker Sam Green, producer of “A Thousand Thoughts” and “The Measure of All Things,”  followed the history of the promotion, interviewing the family owners of the restaurant and the many people who decided to get inked up.

The resulting documentary film tells an endearing story of community-building and a sense of belonging. The Sanchez family, after overwhelming popularity, was forced to cut the promotion to the first 50 people to get tattoos. These people, when interviewed, shared a sense of content and pride in being part of the “first 50.”

Some said the restaurant represented the hope that they always had somewhere to go to in time of need, while others revealed that they typically pay back the cost of their free food in tips. Green even managed to capture some personalized tattoos and clips of people explaining what made their Casa Sanchez ink unique.

Green concluded by revealing that Casa Sanchez closed up as a restaurant but continues to thrive as a chips producer in the region, with the logo making its way around. The family’s dedication to the tradition meant they negotiated in the leasing out of their property to a new restaurant that they had to live up to the tattoo deal.

The show combined some of the previously mentioned lighthearted and feel-good stories with deeper and more harrowing narratives. Sophia Nail Allison, a filmmaker for Sundance Institute New Frontier Lab, presented a rendition to Latasha Harlins — a black girl whose death at age 15 is believed to have sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots — through the eyes of her best friend in childhood.

A powerful project, the rendition combined personal narration with clips from interviews and scenic shots that captured both Southern California’s low-income neighborhoods and beautiful beaches. Allison showcased the difficulty of living in Los Angeles and the different racial and social tensions that existed at the time, giving Latasha’s childhood friends and family a role in honoring her story.

Mirroring the contents of a magazine, the show combined long features with shorter pieces, all divided into recognizable categories like sports, education and opinion. And yet it did so much more.

Every piece demonstrated craft and caring, with authors clearly putting in important work into their respective stories. Every single story felt like it left a mark on the audience, like a little piece of it stayed with all of us. As a writer, one of my biggest fears is that my stories will get lost and I will not properly honor people and events I care about. Pop-Up Magazine has found a powerful and productive way of overcoming this potential mishap.

With the vision to create a one-time show that had interesting and dazzling stories made almost palpable by complementary sensory aids, the organizers have ensured everyone is touched by the stories they hear in the show and carry them onward.

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