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
Ideally, art exhibits offer an "ah-ha" moment, when you stand transfixed and realize, "This speaks to me like nothing before." This exhibit contains pieces that scream "ah-ha" — that challenge your assumptions and reveal the massive contradictions of a culture that has enthralled outsiders for millennia. "Maharaja: The Splendors of India's Royal Courts" shows an India subjected to British colonialism. Many of the most opulent treasures on display — the tear-drop ornament made of gold, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds; the public throne embossed with gold sheets; and the tamburi instrument laden with ivory — are now the property of British museums. The humiliation that India faced under British rule is seen most pointedly in The Delhi Durbar of 1903, English painter Roderick Mackenzie's intoxicating panorama of a royal elephant procession. Held to commemorate the ascension of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra as the Emperor and Empress of India, the procession had Indian maharajas ("great kings") in the rear, behind Edward VII's brother and the British viceroy. Mackenzie's wall-sized study lays bare the Indians' second-class status on their own soil. Some maharajas benefitted from British occupation, even welcoming the English as saviors. The British, in fact, resuscitated India's maharaja pecking order, cultivating and rewarding loyal leaders. "Maharaja" covers this history in exquisite detail, revealing the faces (and bling) of the playboys and leaders instrumental in shaping India for centuries.
Tuesdays-Sundays; Tuesdays-Sundays; Tuesdays-Sundays; Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 21. Continues through April 8, 2011