Pop-Up Magazine came back to Oakland for their Spring 2018 tour on May 10 at the Paramount Theater.
The touring show combines aspects from concerts, podcasts, and magazines into one live performance. It’s never recorded, so the only the audience gets to see it. This show featured stories from Jenée Desmond-Harris, Davy Rothbart, and John Jeremiah Sullivan. There was also a musical performance of totally unreleased music from local musician Fantastic Negrito.
A signature of Pop-Up storytelling is a zig-zagging narrative that starts in one place and ends in somewhere you’d never expect. The performances ranged from funny to serious and absurd, and touched on topics I’d never thought about before. I walked out of the theater still thinking about some of the stories, and feeling like I’d learned something.
Some highlights of the show included: hearing Dear-Abby style advice from a bot (judging by what I saw, human advice columnists have a lot of job security), finding out how the availability of one of Trump’s favorite foods (a wedge salad) hinged on foreign labor, following the story of a child who was supporting his families through competitive Muay Thai boxing, learning what happens to the literal tons of stuffed animals and mementos that are left at the sites of mass shootings, and learning how to correctly cut a banana.
The show tours several times a year, and you should definitely try to catch it on the next tour.