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
Passionate Republican, fervent Orthodox Jew, ruthless wheeler-dealer, super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff at his height fashioned himself into a human ATM machine who lined the pockets of politicians on every side of the aisle. Sooner or later, everybody from Tom DeLay to Patrick Kennedy was at least marginally in his debt. His meteoric rise and fall may seem on its surface to be yesterday's news, but as recounted here by filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), the man's uniquely dramatic career still has much to reveal about how power malfunctions in America. Getting everybody around his subject to open up (Abramoff is still in prison, unavailable for interview), Gibney presents a thorough history and then maps, as per his movie's subtitle, The United States of Money, which made (and makes) such corruption possible. Abramoff fleeced Indian tribes of millions, while affecting to represent their interests; he entangled himself with murderous characters while launching his own fleet of gaming-boats. More chillingly, as Gibney's relentless X-Ray of a movie magnifies in detail, Abramoff leads politicians on junkets that hallow the sweat-shop archipelago that are the Marianas Islands as "a triumph of free enterprise." Gibney makes the case that the U. S. sponsors and protects traffic in slave labor that continues to this day. The blindfold that allows us to tolerate this (if only tacitly, in our ignorance) is the very mad-money ethic for which Abramoff was the ecstatic ambassador, and convenient fall guy.
May 21-27, 2010