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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Five Memorable Moments from Pop-Up Magazine

Posted By on Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 1:30 PM

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Pop-Up Magazine released its fifth issue last night in front of a sold-out audience at Davies Symphony Hall -- and it's already too late to read it.

It's a flash magazine show that lasts one night, where a couple of dozen authors, journalists, and witty folk of varying stripes take the stage with words and varying degrees of public speaking ability. Pieces cover many aspects of a magazine -- feature, profile, essay, front-of-book shorts, crossword (crossword?) -- except with a microphone and a slide deck rather than computer and printing press. You can see the program after the fact, but the show is never recorded or disseminated (which is why we can't share photos of the event here).

That fact is a shame, because the people telling and starring in the stories have some noteworthy and funny things to share, including messages in a bottle, video of Japanese surfers, and a string quartet playing with an iPad.

The shows, which pop up (ha) on an irregular schedule, sell out quickly. We'll do our best to tell you about the next issue beforehand. To tide you over until then, we chose five favorite tidbits from the two-hour show.

1. Steak-tastic

A man who spent his life searching for the world's best steak traveled with white gloves (to give the waiter), an oak plank (for the steak to be served on), and -- most importantly -- three different-sized suits because, well, humans expand.

2. Shark-tastic

When an urchin diver who spent years filming great white sharks -- for the benefit of those too terrified to enter those waters -- was interviewed onstage and asked why he wasn't afraid of the sharks, he said, "I'm afraid right now" -- facing a Davies Hall full of people is its own kind of scary.

3. Can't Bear It

The Teddy Bear -- or "Teddy's Bear" as it was originally known, for President Theodore Roosevelt -- had a forgotten younger cousin called the Billy Possum. Toymakers tried to market it as a William Taft-focused children's toy. Possums, however, are just not as cute.

4. Ben There

In the Congo, if you're a fixer for journalists and filmmakers, you set yourself up for danger by offering assistance to people who are often under suspicion of the government. But apparently you can buy yourself a few weeks of safety if you work with Ben Affleck. "They can't follow me when I'm with Ben," one is described as saying. And to think we dismissed him as just a pretty face.

5. Overpop

Decades ago, a popcorn factory of a long-forgotten brand called Betty Zane was the target of arson. "I'm not going to finish that one," said author Jason Fulford. We hope the fire department brought salt and butter.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Ellen Huet

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