Fans of Frank Ocean line up at the Main Street Newsstand on Aug. 20 for the launch of Boys Don’t Cry. Photo by Mark Panetti

Saturday is typically the busiest day of the week at the Chicago-Main Newsstand, but on Aug. 20 the windows were draped in black. Organizers of a worldwide launch of new material by R&B singer Frank Ocean had rented the store for the launch of an art magazine, Boys Don’t Cry.

The pop-up store in Evanston was one of four worldwide. The others were in Los Angeles, London, and New York.

“Our store was wrapped in black drapes as [organizers] put up the posters [for the launch], Eric Ismond, manager of the Chicago-Main Newsstand, told the RoundTable. He also said he was “not sure who scouted us for this. …We didn’t find out about this until basically the day before. One of the organizers who came in to do the pop-up set-up indicated approval came directly from the top, implying maybe from Frank Ocean himself.”

Coordinating videos and photos there delayed the launch somewhat. “I imagine it was happening in the other locations as well…trying to get things as perfect as possible,” Mr. Ismond said.

At around 5 p.m., a tweet informed fans of the location. “Security set up barriers on the outside where people could line up. Once the tweet went out, people showed up almost immediately,” Mr. Ismond said.

The plan had been to sell the magazine, but a day before the event, the decision was made to give it away. “We let people in five at a time,” Mr. Ismond said, and “the organizers decided to stay open until all of them had been given away. That took about four hours.”
Because the staff at the newsstand learned of the launch only the day before, Mr. Ismond said, “We couldn’t inform our customers.” He said, though, “So far we have received no bad feedback about hosting the event. It was very interesting and probably exposed our business to a lot of people who didn’t know about us.”

“The Evanston Police Department was there to keep an eye on the crown,” City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz told the RoundTable, “There were no issues or problems. … It really speaks to special place Evanston is.”

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...