I went to one of the best live events I have seen in a long time this past week. It was at the Kings Theater located in Flatbush Brooklyn. The theater was built in 1929 to much fanfare and has sat shuttered for 37 years. In 2008, the EDC put out a proposal to find a developer to bring the theater back to the neighborhood. The doors were reopened in 2013 after a $95m renovation. It is beautiful and such a great addition to this area of Brooklyn.
We had dinner before at Parkside, the local pizza haunt. We had a salad, a few crostinis and two pizzas. Pizza is the call here.
The event we saw is called Pop-Up Magazine. It is connected to California Sunday Magazine. There are readings from different authors paired with music, photography and animation. It is purely live as nothing is recorded which is cool but unfortunate because I’d love to share this with people. There wasn’t a performance that I was not enthralled with. I would have a hard time deciding which was my favorite. This photo is of the ceiling in the theater
Native Sons by Jessica Hopper was an ode to the Chicago music scene. She compared Curtis Mayfield to Chance the Rapper. It was brilliant. Joe No Love by Ira Glass told of us a young 14 year old who didn’t believe in love who he had recorded and interviewed. Fast forward ten years he interviewed the young man at 24. It was amazing. The Opera Singer by Tim Hussin and Tim Blevins was a story of a Julliard grad who lost his way and lived on the streets for years. He is much older now and making his way back. He joined them on stage to sing a piece from Man A La Mancha to close up the show.
Other authors and artists were Stephanie Food, Lam Thuy Vo, Michael Denzel Smith, Tina Antolini, Jordan Kisner, Evgenia Arbugaeva, Joshuah Bearman, Jamie Meltzer, Ben and Rhonda Partain and Minna Choi.
What I keep going back to is the importance of journalism and story-telling. Each of these pieces are stories about human lives. They are rich with meaning. They aren’t short punctuated tweets on social media. They are real.
Big congrats to everyone who participated and particularly the brainchild of this, Douglas McGray.