Pop-Up Magazine is one of those events that reminds me of just how incredible it is to live in San Francisco (as if getting to work at Blurb wasn’t enough!)
Described as a “live magazine,” Pop-Up is exactly like it sounds – an ephemeral table of contents filled with a brilliant lineup of writers, chefs, photographers, historians, editors, filmmakers, scientists, and illustrators. One by one they take the stage to read an essay, accompanied by photos, drawings, video, recorded phone calls, or audio clips.
The experience is akin to an amped-up, enhanced read of some great New Yorker article on something you never knew could be so fascinating, so funny, and so profoundly moving. The in-person narration adds nuance and inflection, and the music and imagery layers on yet another level of fantastic. There was a live cellist, behind-the-scenes footage of Tom Hanks recording Toy Story 3, recordings of thunder, deep and rolling on the symphony hall’s sound system.
I really wish I could show it to you but the event was strictly live – no recording, no videos. But there is a book.
Of course, there’s always a book…
Artist Jason Polan was tasked with capturing the event and created a series of wonderful doodle-like drawings.
Each speaker has a page of illustrations and funny little visual cues of what was said. It doesn’t retell the stories, but it recalls them.
So you’d never know from looking at this that Laurel Braitman’s psychology segment was a hilarious true story about a woman who had hundreds of pet squirrels who she obsessively studied and diagnosed with psychological disorders. But flipping through this book brings me back to that moment – of laughing so hard that I cried, of grinning at Brenna sitting next to me and whispering “This is the best thing ever!”
It really was the best thing ever. I’m sorry to say, the book pales in comparison, but it does do something important: it saves all the good stuff so that I won’t forget. And isn’t that exactly the magic of what Blurb books are all about?