Journalism is everywhere. (Hello, reader.) Delivered to your mailbox as a print magazine or newspaper. Pushed on your telephone. Promoted in bite-sized Insta-posts and Tweets. Shoved in your ears through podcast. Auto-played in videos. Radio, tv, streaming, repeat. But all of this consumption occurs solo.
Theatre has constantly been the medium to make storytelling performative, reside, present, and communal. Theatre capture molecules in a single time and place—inherently it tends to make stories about yesterday really feel like now. That is what the founders of Pop-Up magazine (Doug McGray, Derek Fagerstrom, Lauren Smith, and Evan Ratliff) aim to conjure in their expression of journalism as theatre.
Rather of reading a function about, say, the Haggia Sophia—a 537 A.D.-constructed Greek Orthodox cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey, regarded as the epitome of Byzantine architecture—and the engineers at Stanford University functioning to make a software program that can reproduce the acoustic effects of that space, journalist Sam Harnett’s story becomes a efficiency.
He begins with narration, his opening paragraph describing the history of the landmark cathedral and what tends to make it a sight of architectural and sonic purity. As he talks, vibrant photographs illuminate a projection screen the size of Brooklyn Academy of Music’s stage, like we’re staring up at the apse of the Haggia Sophia from inside, rather of flipping a glossy web page. Harnett welcomes the planet-renowned vocal ensemble Cappella Romana to the stage. They sing a Byzantine chant, miked by the A-grade BAM sound technique. Beautiful. But what would an ensemble like them have sounded like in the 500s chanting in the Haggia Sophia? What did the church really feel like when choirs walked its aisles?
The researchers at Stanford wondered this, also they didn’t want to theorize or think about, they want to recreate. As Harnett’s story shifts to these Stanford academics, so also does the efficiency and its structure. You see, the researchers are software program developers, traveling the planet to map the acoustic traits of spaces, input information points into software program, and invent aural filters, and recreate sonic experiences. They traveled to the Haggia Sophia, captured the majesty and audacity of the structure, created a system, and bore a “Haggia Sophia filter.” And then Harnett utilized this technologies in actual time.
Dust particles pumped onto the stage swirl in golden light. The choir intakes breath once more, but this time, the reverberation transports the whole audience to Turkey. They sing and it is 537 A.D. This is what it have to have felt like—nearly. Beautiful becomes transcendent.
Writing about this now can’t capture what occurred in that room—the story. The awe. And a written story won’t—which is what the co-founders knew. And so the magazine occasion is an amalgamation of attributes suited to theatricality and performed like an evening of one particular-acts.
In their 2019 Winter Situation (which played BAM in February), there was the story from Arcade Fire frontman Will Butler about his grandfather, Alvino Rey, who apparently invented the electric guitar the account of a young black girl gunned down in a comfort retailer a private essay about life as a picky eater (comprehensive with a video of this writer attempting string cheese for the very first time).
“We’re interested in stories that are informative, visually gorgeous and fascinating, emotional, and most of all, surprising, either in the story itself or the way it is getting told,” says Anita Badejo, Pop-Up’s executive editor and show host. But Pop-Up also calculates the mix “in terms of our contributors and their storytelling backgrounds, the subjects and themes, the feelings we’re hitting all through.”
Their smorgasbord of revolutionary stories invites creativity from writers, filmmakers, radio producers, photographers, and, with its upcoming Spring Situation, comedians. “Comedians are inherently storytellers—and, of course, performers,” says Badejo. “We have a tendency to feel of our story assignments in terms of ‘shorts’ and ‘features’” and the mixture of humor and distillation of stories in stand-up renders a comedian a best scribe for a brief, “lists, pieces of tips, how-tos.” The one particular-pagers of the magazine planet.
Also like a magazine, there are advertisements. But they are advertisements you want to hear. Bulleit Frontier Whiskey was one particular of the 2019 Winter Situation sponsors, but their promo spot about the history and recipe behind their signature Revolver cocktail was far more like an episode of Excellent Eats mixology edition than a commercial—and then you truly want to order a Revolver at the afterparty.
In contrast to a magazine—but akin to theatre—Pop-Up’s quarterly concerns come about in the moment. Videos are not repurposed for content material. The stories are not printed or distributed. There’s no Pop-Up podcast to hear them once more on your commute. “These stories are ephemeral,” says Badejo. “Audience members know they have to spend far more focus, listen and watch far more deeply, since they can not catch it once more.”
In the age of peak stories—and the continual chase for new approaches to inform them—turns out the oldest medium is the crucial to achievement.
Witness the magic for the duration of Pop-Up Magazine’s 2019 Spring Situation Tour. Click right here for tickets to:
Might 10: San Francisco, California, Sydney Goldstein Theater
Might 11: Oakland, California, Paramount Theatre
Might 13 & 14: Portland, Oregon, Revolution Hall
Might 15: Seattle, Washington, Benaroya Hall
Might 17: Los Angeles, California, The Theatre at Ace Hotel
Might 29: New York, New York, BAM Howard Gilman Opera Residence
Might 31: Washington, D.C., Lincoln Theatre
Contributors to the 2019 Spring Situation consist of writers Jon Mooallem (The New York Instances Magazine author, Wild Ones), Mallika Rao (The Atlantic), Jason Concepcion (The Ringer), Vann R. Newkirk II (The Atlantic), Jason Parham (Wired, Spook), and Chris Colin (The California Sunday Magazine, AFAR) filmmakers Denise Zmekhol (Skin of Glass), Sam Green (A Thousand Thoughts), and Sophia Nahli Allison (Sundance Institute New Frontier Lab) photographers Natalie Keyssar and Xyza Bacani comedians Mohanad Elshieky and Michelle Buteau (Late Evening Anytime) audio producers Hrishikesh Hirway (Song Exploder, The West Wing Weekly) and Sam Harnett (KQED) and other people.