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
For this production of the campy classic Little Shop of Horrors, the inventive Boxcar Theater converts its entire space, including lobby and outdoor facade, into a skid row flower shop. The opening number, complete with a live
accordion brass band, spills out into the SOMA alleyway, and actors costumed as homeless people mingle with real homeless folk wandering through, submerging the audience in this grimy world. Once inside, the B-movie plotline centers on an ever-growing plant hungry for human blood. This involves song, security video footage, blood-splattered plastic draping, and a chorus of grungy street urchins. The adorable chemistry between horticulturist nerd Seymour (John R. Lewis) and his tough girl-with-a-heart-of-gold paramour, Audrey (the excellent Bryn Laux), keeps things light and sweet, while the storm around them plays out like a madcap grindhouse flick. Kevin Clarke wickedly hams it up as the motorcyle-riding, giggle-gas-addicted dentist Orin Scrivello (made famous by Steve Martin in the movie), and the monstrous plant puppet design by Greg Frisbee and Thomas John is impressive. Even with some pacing problems and weaker voices, this brilliantly conceived and designed production is devilish fun.
Tuesdays-Sundays; Tuesdays-Thursdays, Sundays. Starts: June 1. Continues through July 8, 2011