Live performance magazine to “Pop-Up” at Civic Theatre

Photo Courtesy of Erin Brethauer

"Pop-Up Magazine" will be coming to New Orleans for the first time this Friday to Civic Theater.

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“Pop-Up Magazine,” a live performance magazine that integrates performers, photographers, filmmakers and musicians to create an interactive form of storytelling, will come to New Orleans for the first time this Friday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Civic Theatre.

While this is a performance different from the typical glossy print magazine, the metaphor of magazine remains consistent throughout the show. Like any other lifestyle or general interest magazine, there are segments covering a wide variety of topics which evoke a range of emotions. Viewers can expect to laugh, cry and everything in between. Performances are accompanied by live music from Magik*Magik Orchestra, so everything unfolds in real time.

CEO and cofounder Douglas McGray started the show in San Francisco when he realized the need for a forum in which various media makers could collaborate. It began as a hobby for McGray, who was a freelance journalist at the time, with his friends. Shows were performed at small venues that could barely fit 300 people.

It received critical acclaim from the “San Francisco Chronicle” and became so popular that it eventually sold out Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, one of the largest venues in the city. The show now tours nationwide to cities including New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Austin. This year, it debuts in Atlanta and New Orleans.

The staff is always on the lookout for new contributors with interesting stories that would transfer well to the stage. Tina Antolini was producing and hosting a podcast for the Southern Foodways Alliance in New Orleans when she was approached by a producer of “Pop-Up Magazine” to tell a story for the fall 2016 tour.

“I went on one of the national tours and had a total blast,” Antolini said.

She connected with the show so much that she later joined the staff as senior story producer. She had been living in New Orleans for over four years and was eager to bring it here.

“New Orleans has such a vibrant live performance tradition, music tradition, storytelling tradition—I think this form of storytelling that we bring the stage will really resonate with New Orleans,” Antolini said.

While some of the show’s segments are “evergreen” and performed in multiple cities, others are more current and pertain only to certain places. At the New Orleans show, there will be some surprise local musicians, as well as a performance of creepy New Orleans history from novelist Nathaniel Rich and a series of photos set in the city from photographer L. Kasimu Harris. Viewers can also expect a choose-your-own-adventure segment in which the fate of the performance is determined by the audience.

Performers this Friday include photographers, filmmakers, writers and radio hosts from “National Geographic,” “The New York Times Magazine,” “30 for 30,” “Buzzfeed News,” “The Atlantic,” “The New York Times,” “Rolling Stone” the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and more.

Tickets are on sale at popupmagazine.com. Interested students can use the promo code STUDENT for a $10 discount — tickets are usually $25.