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
My first boyfriend was a juicer. Steroids were the drug of choice at my high school, having washed into the Canadian suburbs in the early 90s on the same raft as crushed-velvet dresses. As described in Christopher Bells documentary, Bigger, Stronger, Faster, a similar phenomenon played out in his hometown of Poughkeepsie. Beginning with a Spurlockian account of his upbringing as the second of three sons who all loved the World Wrestling Federation, worshipped Rambo, and developed distorted body images, Bell spirals outward into the culture of outrageous expectations, and the resultant generation of should-be-average Joes who believe that greatness is their birthright. For the Bell brothers, that meant transforming their genetically rotund physiques into bloated beefcake. Having avoided the havoc that steroids wreaked on his siblings, Christopher sets out to interrogate the politics of cheating in sports, the disputed dangers of juicing (the pro-steroid testimonials are a marvel of rationalization), and the grotesquerie of an industry that has sprung up to exploit male inadequacy and an entire nations grasping, relentless dissatisfaction. Bell finds the epitome of that tragedy in his own family and digs unflinchingly at its roots. Like Bell, my high-school boyfriend became obsessed with body-building; like Bell, he wanted to be as big and strong as his older brother. Like Bell, hed be 33 years old today, had he not taken his life at the age of 28.
June 30-July 10, 2008