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
The sinews of old San Francisco lie in the water: the posts standing in the Bay mud that supported the docks and piers where the shipping that made the city possible, and later allowed it to flourish, flowed.
Hailing from the Appalachian region of West Virginia, the burgeoning BrownChicken BrownCow StringBand (tonight at 8 p.m. at Café Du Nord) curled its toes in the topsoil that nurtured bluegrass. After only four years, its acoustic musicianship is exemplary, an effortless weaving of reels, waltzes, reveries, and improvisational stomps inspired by its members’ Scottish, German, and black musical progenitors. And yet they are as unpretentious as their name implies. Lyrics such as “bees make honey/ honey makes it sweet” and “she’s sexy when she comes/she’s beautiful even when she’s gone” follow closely in the mountain tradition of singing about what you know. (The band has relocated to Hawaii, so its latest album is appropriately titled Live from Paia Tattoo Parlor.) While the outfit may lack the traditional “stack” of vocal harmony, there is no doubt that lead vocalist Xander Hitzig possesses the prerequisite high, lonesome sound. In our constantly evolving cultural enclave, it’s easy to forget that the Gold Rush drew this nation’s most vibrant musical traditions right along with the 49ers. But one look at the roster for the 13th annual San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival should serve as a fast reminder. BCBCSB is one of nearly 60 acts, including locals such as the farmers market fave Squirrely Stringband, and the fine musicians responsible for the weekly “Taco Jam,” perhaps the world’s only taqueria-based bluegrass invitational.
Feb. 10-19, 2012