When the ancient Polynesians invented surfing, they often used a paddle to help them navigate. Fast-forward a few millennia, and Stand-Up Paddleboarding, or SUP, finds itself trendy again. Part of its increasing popularity is that standing upright allows surfers to spot waves more easily and thus catch more of them, multiplying the fun factor. Paddling back to the wave becomes less of a strain as well. The ability to cruise along on flat inland water, surveying the sights, is another advantage. Finally, its a good core workout. If youre sold on the idea, schedule an intro SUP lesson, free with board and paddle rental, and you may find yourself riding the waves like a Polynesian king.More
In the past 30 years, light artists have reimagined an art form that has always had the ability to turn the night sky, or a simple window, into luminescence. Last fall, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts turned its southern glass wall into a parade of sound-sensing lights, Lightswarm, that changes with the movements of nearby people and things. Future Cities Lab, the San Francisco design company behind Lightswarm, has originated another notable light sculpture. Located by the YBCA's steps at 701 Mission, Murmur Wall will light up in arresting ways as it incorporates local trending search engine results and social media postings. Onlookers can offer their own contributions, which will feed into the Murmur Wall's data stream and light up the sculpture. What's trending in San Francisco? If you're walking by the YBCA, you can see firsthand — at least through light patterns that reflect the city's volatile internet habits.
Murmur Wall debuts Thursday at 6 p.m. and continues through May 31, 2017, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F. Free; 415-978-2700 or ybca.org. More
Raise a tall glass as another bombastic Hollywood summer comes to an end, not with a bang but with a bomb: After four months of crassness and carnage, the movie listings at last herald the return of substance and sanity. Leading the charge is veteran East Bay filmmaker Rob Nilsson, a one-man antidote to the plague of celluloid superheroes, sci-fi snoops, and suburban stoners. His métier is the darkness in the center of town, the tough-luck underclass callously dismissed in some circles as urban detritus. Over the last decade, working with a group of mostly unprofessional actors whose commitment to emotional truth would put Brando to shame, Nilsson has crafted nine stunning black-and-white dramas about small-timers scuffling on the streets of San Francisco (and Berkeley and Oakland) for the dwindling crumbs of the American dream. "Rob Nilsson's 9@Night" distills the ethos of independent filmmaking into its purest state through a series of stand-alone tales that etch the nocturnal collision of last-chance dreamers with concrete-and-asphalt reality. This quintessential San Francisco engagement represents the perfect match of venue and program, and a fitting ode to the dying days of the Bush era.
Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2008