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
Mountain View Center for the Performing
Arts, 500 Castro (at El Camino), Mountain
Through Nov. 8
Tickets are $20-48
Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's clever, lightsome take on Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night has been re-set by Robert Kelley from the declining years of the 19th century to the opening years of the 20th -- specifically 1913, when the century was still pubescing. A middle-aged lawyer named Fredrik has married a pert 18-year-old, Anne, but still loves an actress closer to his own age named Desiree. Fredrik visits Desiree in secret, while Anne makes passes at his adolescent son, Henrik, who's studying for the priesthood. And so on. The patchwork unravels when Desiree's mother -- a wealthy, wheelchaired old woman who could have rolled straight over from a Tennessee Williams revival -- invites everyone to her estate for a stay in the country. (Norma Hughes plays and sings her with a fine world-weariness and gravity.) The production is mostly solid, except for the frivolous choral singing and an uncertain performance by Stanley Bahorek as Henrik. Allen Fitzpatrick sings Fredrik with a nice touch of melancholy; Lianne Marie Dobbs brings a powerful, Broadway-ready color to Anne's songs; and Charlotte Cornwall is a moving Desiree, even through the warhorse numbers like "Send in the Clowns." But Night Music lasts a solid 2 1/2 hours -- which this version isn't quite enchanting enough to let you forget.