Tricycle Fest newcomers Jason Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein are The Pop Ups. They use puppets and props in their music performances, creating a special experience for children and families, including a show called “PASTA Pop Ups Puppet Musical.”
See a performance of “PASTA” that took place at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.:
In this interview, Jason and Jacob share how great their East and West coast audiences are and reveal their connection to Reading Rainbow. Answers have been edited for clarity and/or length.
What made you decide to write music for children and families?
Both of us were playing music for families for other companies and bands, and then we decided to try and make something ourselves. Jacob comes from a family of musicians and puppeteers, and Jason has an indie rock band called the Bloodsugars.
Since you're based in Brooklyn, how does it feel when you play in California? What are the similarities or differences to performing in the New York area?
Jacob used to live in L.A., and both of us have family in California, so Cali is really like a second home to us. N[ew] Y[ork] and C[alifornia] seem like sister states when you really get down to it. Amazing audiences who want to dance!
You feature the Brooklyn Public Library in the music video for “Winter Beard” (see below). How have libraries or librarians been an influence in your life or your music career?
Jason is from New York, so the NYPL system has always been a part of his life. Jacob's father, Mike Stein, used to do kids music and puppetry for Nancy Reagan's "Reading is Fundamental" series, and was once on READING RAINBOW! 'nuff said.
How did you hear about and get involved with Tricycle Music Fest?
Jacob: They were interested in our show Radio Jungle because of the puppets.
Jason: Because of the MUSIC!
Jacob: The Puppets!
Kugel (Jason's dog): Woof!
Band names are usually memorable or intriguing in some way. Is there a story behind yours?
We wanted something that was memorable and immediately popped out at you.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I have not asked you?
We are so super psyched to make our Bay Area debut at Tricycle Music Fest!
See how Jacob and Jason put props to good use in the music video for “Winter Beard:”
The Pop Ups will be performing on:
- Saturday, October 19 at 10am, Brisbane Library
- Saturday, October 19 at 1:30pm, Park Branch Library
- Saturday, October 19 at 4pm, Merced Branch Library
- Sunday October 20 at 3pm, Atherton Library
Jessica Chung is a MLIS student and an intern for the San Mateo County Library.