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
Next time youre enjoying a bonfire, bottle, or bong at Ocean Beach, cast a glance at the northernmost condos facing the sunset. An amusement park lived there for nearly a century, until its last and loudest incarnation, Playland at the Beach, gave up the ghost in 1971. A cynic might assume there werent enough hippies on acid after the Summer of Love passed into lore to keep the rollercoaster rolling. The simple fact is that innocent pleasures lost much of that innocence and appeal as the '60s (and the Vietnam War) wore on. Doomed by disinterest and neglect, Playland was sold and razed, though many of its beloved Fun House attractions, including Laffing Sal, remained on display at the Musée Mécanique adjacent to the Cliff House (and now located at Pier 45). And the Fun Houses hall of mirrors lives on in perpetuity as the setting for the climactic ending of Orson Welles The Lady from Shanghai (screening for free, coincidentally, April 21 at the Castro Theatre). Tom Wyrschs new hour-long documentary, Remembering Playland at the Beach, conjures the joys of summers past through a seasons pass worth of archival footage and photographs, abetted by a slew of choice interviews. In a most fitting gesture, its playing within shouting distance of the parks hallowed location.
April 23-29, 2010