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
San Francisco has always been a nexus for independent thinkers, but the 1960s saw a wholesale, albeit brief, rejection of the cultural mainstream on nearly every front. There were free concerts in the park and free stores in the Haight. Cohorts like the Merry Pranksters and the Diggers passed out acid and soup at happenings, where artists pushed limits of their various mediums. One of the most interesting (and long lasting) groups to bubble up from that heady hotchpot was Canyon Cinema. Like the San Francisco Tape Center, which abetted musicians who took audio technology to the cutting edge, Canyon Cinema provided a venue for experimental filmmakers, both physically and philosophically. Initially existing first as a floating cinematheque, Canyon Cinema presented underground screenings in the basements and backyards of local artists who were willing to supply wine and popcorn. By 1967, this loose collection of filmmakers had become an organization capable of championing and distributing avant-garde work around the world. Last year, film historian Scott MacDonald published Canyon Cinema: The Life and Times of an Independent Film Distributor, which fully illuminated the distributors position in independent film history. As a major source for experimental work, Canyons catalog boasts nearly 4,000 films spanning 70 years, yet it remains an artist-run collective, operating with the same values that drove instigator Bruce Baillie to erect an army surplus screen in his backyard. MacDonald appears at a series of screenings this week which include Canyon: the Founders and The Spirit of Canyon, Part 1, featuring nine experimental shorts.
Sat., Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2008