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It’s a magazine, but on stage. It's a live show—with an editor-in-chief. Pop-Up Magazine is coming to Portland with BuzzFeed podcasters, an Oscar-nominated director, and a magician/crossword puzzle writer among others. Still wondering what’s in store? We got a primer from editor-in-chief Doug McGray

How did Pop-Up Magazine begin?

It started in 2009. We had this thought that it would be interesting to create a kind of live magazine. It seemed that book events and readings had lots of writer people there, and photo people had gallery openings, and film makers had film festivals, and a lot of these worlds were kind of separate. So the original idea for Pop-Up—which was a hobby—was to mix them all together.

Where was the first show?

We rented a small theater in the Mission [District in San Francisco] and got a lot of interesting people on stage. Once we did, there was something about the format that was really exciting and the audience really responded and it started to grow very quickly.

What’s happened since then?

ESPN came to us and we collaborated with them to make a sports show, we had a Beck collaboration. Now we’re doing the first national tour.

What’s the format?

There isn’t really a template for it. It’s a live magazine, so we’re inventing it every time we make it.

What can an audience expect?

There are generally somewhere between 10 and 15 stories in a show—it runs about 100 minutes. Everything is really short. The stories are told in all different kinds of genres. They’re all true stories – dispatches and profiles and narratives drawn from the world around us. We’re interested in everything you might find in a great general interest magazine. We also get to mix a lot of media together—there’s a big screen, there’s a mic, there’s a place for music.

Is it only for performers?

One of the things that I love about this format is that you can tell a great story for a really big audience, and you don’t have to be the kind of person who can go perform on Broadway. All of the stories are scripted, so we can work with people to figure out what’s the best way to tell their story. Also, it’s a multi media experience, so there’s a lot to look at and take in— it’s not just one writer standing up there alone.

Pop-Up Magazine’s Portland show boasts a line-up that includes magnum photographer Matt Black, hosts of BuzzFeed podcast Another Round Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu, director Sam Green, and magician/New York Times crossword puzzle creator David Kwong as well as some to-be-announced local names, with live music from Magik*Magik Orchestra.

Want to check it out? Leave a comment below with your favorite podcast to have your name entered for free tickets.

Pop-Up Magazine is at the Aladdin Theater on Tuesday, October 20. 

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