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
Dagoberto Gilb is gregarious and genuine, a built but not quite imposing figure with a big smile. He could easily pass as a writing instructor moonlighting as a carpenter on his days off. Or, as he once implied in an essay, perhaps it's the other way around. As a tenured professor who spent years working union gigs on high rises and in home construction between Los Angeles and El Paso, he's more than familiar with both teaching and el trabajo -- literally, the job, or manual labor -- and he brings the latter's experience and understanding to bear in his stories. Gilb writes of flawed, contradictory, and not always sympathetic characters in a complex, morally ambiguous, and unfair world, much like today's reality. His prose crackles with an intensity and verve that brings to life the working-class and Chicano laborers, lovers, drifters, and downtrodden, who inhabit his pages in some of the best contemporary fiction of the past few decades. In his just-released coming-of-age novel The Flowers, Gilb takes us to an apartment complex in a multiracial, urban metropolis where he sets things on simmer until they inevitably boil over. So far, it's received rave reviews for its deft insights into racism, youth, anger, alienation, and life in the big city.
Tue., Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m., 2008