On May 11, Pop-Up Magazine — “the world’s first live magazine” — is leaving the friendly confines of San Francisco and heading to New York’s Skirball centre.
The event features the work of Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, The New Yorker‘s William Finnegan, and New York Times Magazine writer Jon Mooallem as well as ESPN’s Jay Bilas, Katie Baker, and Paul Lukas, and plenty of other huge talents.
The show is a collaboration with ESPN The Magazine. The two publications worked together to create the event after ESPN editor-in-chief Gary Belsky learned of the popular SF events and reached out to the group.
Both outlets were careful to make sure the New York version retained its sensibility.
“I didn’t want to feel like Pop-Up was invading ESPN, like we were taking a show and plunking it down in ESPN‘s lap, and I didn’t want it to feel like we were hired by ESPN to create a show,” Pop-Up creative director Derek Fagerstrom told The Wire by phone on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s going to be a unique show. It’s going to be Pop-Up and ESPN in the truest sense. We’re going to bring our aesthetic and ESPN is bringing theirs as well.”
Fagerstrom, in addition to the rest of the Pop-UP crew — Douglas McGray (editor-in-chief), Lauren Smith (creative director), Maili Holiman (design director), Evan Ratliff (story editor), Dave Cerf (technical director) — put out the call for submissions to a wide variety of contributors. They received an overwhelming response, something Belsky credits to the increased cultural importance of the sporting world.
“A lot of great writers are interested in sports now so you get great writing about sports,” he said.
The goal of Pop-Up is simple.
“It’s meant to provoke. It’s meant to make people think,” Belsky said. “It’s meant to have aspects of it fall flat on its face. That’s the nature of live, experimental performance and content on-demand in the literal sense.”
At its heart, the May Pop-Up is really just the latest in a line of bold exercises. The creators know the best plan is to recruit great participants, keep open minds, smile, and let the proceedings go where they may.
“We want to have fun, be bold, and see what happens, Fagerstrom said.
The EIC agreed.
“There’s almost no way it doesn’t work as long as the show does go on,” Belsky said.
(Tickets to the show go on sale Thursday, April 28th at noon.)