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
Llewelynn Fletcher's immersive sculptures beguile the senses. Sasha Petrenko's site-specific installations and performances strive to capture a dynamic, living planet. Austin Thomas hides heady themes in seemingly austere drawings, photos, and sculptures. She also cobbles together site-specific social spaces which she calls "perches," but which are obviously kick-ass treehouses, minus the trees. These and other artists are contributing super-sized works for "Just Passing Through: Sculptures and Installations" at the University of San Francisco's Rooftop Sculpture Terrace. "Just Passing Through" promises to challenge notions about how we inhabit or pass through space, or at least provide a lovely respite in a busy city.
"Just Passing Through: Sculptures and Installations" is open to the public 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and runs through Dec. 11 at Kalmanovitz Hall, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton St., S.F. Free; 422-5178 or usfca.edu. More
Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Dec. 11
Weird little marvels are the works of Ron Nagle, the ceramicist whose work has helped prove that a sculptor who works in clay can be a serious presence in the art world. Nagle has been making vessels and intimate-sized sculptures since the 1960s, when he was associated with the norm-busting California ceramics movement and studied with one of its prime forces, fellow abstract-expressionist Peter Voulkos. A species of one, Nagle has continued to create compelling and painstakingly crafted pieces that are elegant yet unsettling. His sculptures contain puckered surfaces, unusual textural juxtapositions, amorphous shapes, and a surreal look. His cups, some of which have been overglazed and repeatedly fired, appear to have come from a tea party on Mars. With diverse influeneces, including ceramicist Ken Price, abstractionist Cy Twombly, still-life painter Giorgio Morandi, and California cool-car culture, Nagle is a distinctive artist and a San Francisco spirit. To learn more, come hear his lecture at the San Francisco Art Institute — his first appearance there since his 1978 Adaline Kent Award exhibition.More
BayTaper.com, an online multimedia documentary featuring live audio recordings, videos, and photography has been tirelessly capturing live jazz and acoustic music in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955) is probably the best play Williams wrote in the '50s. The play is a little overcooked, even by Williams' standards, but in the right hands it can be a galvanizing drama about family loyalty and suppressed desire. The trick with producing a Tennessee Williams play is that you need to embrace the Southern-fried dysfunction without letting things stray into camp. That requires actors who know how to turn up the dial while keeping things recognizably human. It also needs a director who can handle melodrama, which is a trickier balancing act than you might think. Under the steady direction of Keith Phillips, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is all about the actors. The set is as basic as it gets, and the sound and lighting effects are almost distractingly bad. But with a strong cast nailing some of the principal roles, the unglamorous presentation is unlikely to bug you. You can't have a memorable Cat on a Hot Tin Roof without a strong Big Daddy, and Christian Phillips is one of the best I've seen. He hits all of the necessary notes the good-ol'-boy malice, the quick wit, the insecurity and fear. The other actors nearly match him. As Big Mama, Hannah Marks is a perfect foil to his bluster, and Carole Robinson's Mae is a hilarious prude. Brick and Maggie are, however, more of a mixed bag: Nicholas Russell doesn't quite master the accent, and Jennifer Welch lacks the sultriness Maggie requires. But these are frankly minor criticisms. Phillips doesn't cut anything from the script the show runs three hours, including two intermissions and to everyone's credit, it never drags.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Oct. 1. Continues through Oct. 22, 2010