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
If you think its impossible to underestimate the cultural significance of American Idol, go see British filmmaker Havana Markings documentary about its Afghani imitator, a smash hit television show whose musical wannabes run the gamut of Afghanistans bruising ethnic divisions. The even more socially and geographically heterogeneous audience votes for the winner by cell phone, which holds out the promise of democracy so long denied the Afghanis by the Taliban. Marking follows the finalists around on the last leg of their PR campaigns and captures something sweetly goofy, with an edge of creepy, about their aping of smarmy American self-promotion (kissing babies, etc). It gets a lot creepier as we discover the dangers facing the two women finalists, one of whom has the nerve to wear makeup, let her headscarf slip a little, and venture a timid dance step onstage. The really depressing news is that the vehement knee-jerk opposition to the womens participation comes not just from the Taliban and the mullahs, but also from the young men in jeans and T-shirts who say they seek a more enlightened world, and who watch the womens performances all the way through with contemptand furtive lustin their eyes.
Sun., Nov. 22, 2, 4, 7:15 & 9:15 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 23, 7:15 & 9:15 p.m., 2009