Pop-Up Magazine Productions creates multimedia storytelling spectacles performed live for tens of thousands of people a year at grand historic venues across North America.
Once upon a time, a small group of friends decided to create a “live magazine.” Writers, radio producers, photographers, filmmakers, and illustrators would perform new stories in all kinds of media mixed together. Stories about science, politics, pop culture, sports, social issues, music, business, art, crime, technology, food, and more. The night would unfold like a classic general-interest magazine, and end with the cast and the audience mingling at the lobby bar.
It was a hobby at first, but it grew. We held the first show in a small theater in San Francisco. Soon, we moved to a 2,700-seat symphony hall, and tickets sold out in minutes. Today, we produce shows in more than a dozen cities, at venues like Lincoln Center and BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in New York, the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, and Davies Symphony Hall and the Paramount Theatre in the San Francisco Bay Area. We work with Oscar-winning filmmakers, New York Times bestselling authors, popular radio and podcast voices, and artists whose work appears in major international museums and magazines, as well as emerging talent. Their stories are vivid, multimedia experiences, accompanied by illustration, animation, photography, even dance or shadow theater, and often an original score, performed onstage by our musical collaborators Magik*Magik Orchestra. We still end the night gathered around the bar. Our audiences are as interesting as our performers, and we love to bring everyone together.
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We’ve brought collections of Pop-Up Magazine stories to private events hosted by Apple, Nike, Amazon Studios, Dropbox, Hermès, Waze, The Atlantic, the Knight Foundation, and Facebook. We’ve produced and performed shows at the Sundance Film Festival, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the Cannes Lions Festival. Pop-Up Magazine has a long and ongoing history of creative collaborations. We’ve produced a live music-and-stories show with multiplatinum recording artist Beck and indie publisher McSweeney’s, a sports show with ESPN, and a wine show with SFMOMA. We opened a restaurant in Oakland for one night, in collaboration with chef and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat author Samin Nosrat, and turned it into a magazine, featuring films, radio storytelling, photo essays, and reporting in some unlikely formats (the water glasses, napkins, and placemats told stories of their own). We guest-edited a session for the main stage of the TED Conference. Pop-Up Magazine and The California Sunday Magazine teamed up with music-festival producer Noise Pop to create “The Golden State Record,” an outdoor show at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California, featuring musical performances and multimedia stories exploring sounds of the West, from music and pop culture to nature, science, and politics — alongside a special Sound issue of California Sunday. We teamed up with National Geographic and the Seattle Symphony for a one-night-only live storytelling event at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
We’re constantly trying new things. “Here’s How” was an email miniseries where we asked Pop-Up Magazine contributors to teach us something surprising. A video miniseries, “Dinner Guests,” featured fascinating conversations with a diverse group of artists, writers, and chefs (recipes included!). We launched another miniseries, “Phone Stories,” that, every other weekend, released a phone number with special instructions — for instance, call when you’re in the dark — to hear a new story, told over the phone, for just that moment. And we’re developing a pilot Pop-Up Magazine spinoff, Pop-Up Zine, that invites journalists and other creative people across the country, in communities big and small, to produce their own live magazine–style events.
Pop-Up Magazine Brand Studio
In the style of the best storytelling at Pop-Up Magazine, we transform client messaging into engaging, one-of-a-kind narrative entertainment. We’re a full-service creative agency that executes projects across live and online events, video, podcasts, photography, print, and social. Recent projects include a live-storytelling event for Nike, an animated series with Mailchimp, live-storytelling content for CHANEL, a short documentary for X-The Moonshot Factory, a print magazine for Google’s Year in Search campaign, a travel-themed photo essay and live content for Coach, a video series with Dropbox, and a live-storytelling collaboration with LeBron James’s media company, Uninterrupted, and Courvoisier. Additional brand partners include Airbnb, Mailchimp, Converse, Citi, Allbirds, Impossible Foods, Warby Parker, Skyy Vodka, Toyota, Amazon Studios, LEGO, Squarespace, Hermes, Instacart, Uber, Got Milk?, Arnold Ventures, Lexus, SoFi, Shinola, Omidyar Network, Dropbox, Bulleit Bourbon, and more. For more about working with our brand studio, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The California Sunday Magazine
Pop-Up Magazine started in California. We’re endlessly fascinated and inspired by this place—and by the view of the country and the world from here. So in late 2014, we launched The California Sunday Magazine. We produced ambitious features and cinematic photography from across California, the West, Asia, and Latin America, for a national audience. We also made a beautifully designed print edition, which we distributed with select Sunday copies of the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle and by mail to subscribers.
California Sunday won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2021. It was named a finalist for seventeen National Magazine Awards, including for Feature Writing, Reporting, Photography, Design, General Excellence, and Magazine of the Year, and won three. California Sunday was the first title in 25 years to win the National Magazine Award for Photography in consecutive years. In 2018 and 2019, the Society of Publication Designers named California Sunday the Magazine of the Year. And a number of California Sunday stories have been optioned for television or film. California Sunday suspended publication in late 2020.
… And More
There’s lots to come that we can’t share just yet. Stay tuned.
Please contact email@example.com for media inquiries about Pop-Up Magazine Productions or press passes for Pop-Up Magazine performances.
Jacqueline Bates is the Photography Director of The California Sunday Magazine, which won the National Magazine Awards for Excellence in Photography two years in a row, in 2016 and 2017, and Pop-Up Magazine. Previously, she was the Senior Photo Editor of W Magazine and worked in the photo departments of ELLE, Interview, and Wired. Bates holds an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts, and her work has been exhibited internationally. Email Jackie
Rebecca Chew is an Art Director of The California Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine. Previously, she served as the art director of Esquire Singapore and Esquire Malaysia. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Publication Designers. Email Rebecca
Elise Craig is the Managing Editor of Pop-Up Magazine. Previously, she served as Managing Editor at San Francisco and Assistant Research Editor at Wired. Her writing has appeared in Marie Claire, The New York Times Magazine, The California Sunday Magazine, and The New York Times for Kids. Email Elise
Chas Edwards is the co-Founder and President of Pop-Up Magazine Productions and Publisher of The California Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine. He was co-Founder at Federated Media, where he served as Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer. As CRO at Digg, he helped launch the first native ad product for social news feeds. Email Chas
Derek Fagerstrom is the Executive Producer of Special Projects and a Founding Creative Director of Pop-Up Magazine. Email Derek
Haley Howle is a Senior Producer at Pop-Up Magazine. Previously, she worked as Director of KUT Austin’s statewide news show Texas Standard. She also worked to launch the Austin Music Map and the annual MAPJAM festival and was a Producer for the award-winning music journalism program Texas Music Matters. Email Haley
Roseli Ilano is the Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships for Pop-Up Magazine Productions. Previously, she was the National Community Engagement Manager at The Independent Television Service (ITVS), where she spearheaded outreach campaigns for award-winning documentary films and media. She brings more than a decade of experience as a community organizer and educator. Email Roseli
Leo Jung is the Creative Director of The California Sunday Magazine, which won the National Magazine Awards for Excellence in Design in 2017 and Excellence in Photography in 2016 and 2017, and Pop-Up Magazine. He is the former Design Director at Wired and Deputy Art Director at The New York Times Magazine. His work has been recognized by the Art Directors Club, Type Directors Club, and the Society of Publication Designers. Email Leo
Mark King is the Creative Director of the Pop-Up Magazine Brand Studio. Mark is an internationally-exhibited visual artist whose work encompasses photography, installation, fashion, and sculpture. He holds an MFA in photography from the Academy of Art University and is an active board member of Yaddo. Email Mark
Douglas Mcgray is the co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Pop-Up Magazine Productions. He was also co-Founder and Editor in Chief of The California Sunday Magazine. His features have appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine and he has made radio stories for This American Life. Email Doug
Scott Polach is the Event Director of Pop-Up Magazine. His career has spanned event design and production, curating, and teaching art. He holds an MFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute, was a Graduate Fellow at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California, and has an active studio art practice. Email Scott
Tom Rendell is the Western Advertising Director for Pop-Up Magazine Productions, covering San Francisco, the Bay Area, and Portland. Previously, Tom was the Publisher of Swipe Magazine in London, ran Business Development for Newsweek Europe, and was Commercial Director of The Day’s news service for schools. Email Tom
Albert Schatz is the Production Manager of Pop-Up Magazine. Albert is a Baltimore-based audio engineer/musician. When not on tour with Pop-Up, Albert is the live sound engineer for electronic music composer Dan Deacon. Email Al
Lauren Smith is the Director of Culture and Operations and a Founding Creative Director of Pop-Up Magazine. Email Lauren
Louise Tan is the Assistant Controller of Pop-Up Magazine Productions. She held accounting positions in the hotel and travel industry for more than 15 years. Previously, Louise was the Staff Accountant at a travel technology company in San Francisco. Email Louise
Maureen Towey, a Contributing Producer at Pop-Up Magazine, is a director working across artistic mediums. For The New York Times, Towey has directed long-form content for NYT VR and served as the Senior Producer for The Daily 360. Towey has worked as a Creative Director for award-winning musicians such as Arcade Fire, Ray LaMontagne, Tune-Yards, and Esperanza Spalding. As an ensemble member with Sojourn Theatre, Towey directs radical community-based arts events, such as Finding Penelope and The Islands of Milwaukee. Towey has been recognized as a Fulbright scholar (South Africa), a Princess Grace fellow, and a PBS/AOL MAKER. Email Maureen
Erin Walter is the Staff Assistant for Pop-Up Magazine Productions. She’s a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Feminist Studies program and was previously a Research Assistant at UC Santa Cruz’s Blum Center on Poverty. Prior to that, she was an AmeriCorps Team Leader at City Year. Email Erin
Melissa Weil is the VP of Sales for Pop-Up Magazine Productions. Previously, she ran the global sales team for advertising tech startup Taykey (acquired by Innovid). Earlier in her career, Melissa sold custom content offerings to brands at both Federated Media and Zagat Survey. Email Melissa