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
Mashing up different world cuisines is usually a popular conceit for new quick-service eateries and food trucks to make a quick buck and gain Instagram fame, but Volta has shown how well global cross-pollination works on a refined plate without stretching for novelty or pretense in the process.
Werner Herzog has made a career documenting extreme landscapes and courting danger. Encounters at the End of the World chronicles his trip to Antarctica, and, perhaps because the director is approaching old-master status, skews toward the observational. Taking a military plane out of New Zealand, Herzog ponders his fellow travelers, wondering who they are and what they dream. As discovered (or scripted) in the film, the U.S. settlement at McMurdo Sound is populated by an assortment of geeks, vagabonds, and loners. Herzog soon escapes to a research camp, where hes delighted to find a physicist engaged in a spiritual quest, searching for almost undetectable subatomic particles in a parallel universe. Herzog takes care to inoculate himself against New Age sentimentalitymaking many mocking references to whale huggersand avoids feel-good anthropomorphism. Although not specifically mentioned, his bête noire is March of the Penguins. When he does visit penguin land, Herzog asks a painfully diffident scientist: Is there such a thing as insanity among penguins? Could they just go crazy because theyve had enough of their colony? Before the scientist can answer, the filmmaker cuts to a single bird waddling away from its colleagues toward the interior mountains and, as Herzog notes, certain death. Herzog may loathe the projection of human attributes onto the animal kingdom, but hes managed to find an antihero: Theres no mistaking his point that the doomed, irrational creature is us.
June 27-July 3, 2008