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
What if all you ever wanted was fame -- and you weren't famous? Ira Marlowe's one-man show at the new Off-Market Theater tells the grisly tale of a boy from Virginia who looks like Jackson Browne, learns to play guitar, and keeps plugging away at being a pop musician until he finds himself broke and over 30 in San Francisco, lying about his age to a fifth-tier talent scout. The boy is Marlowe himself, who seems to have wised up just enough to pursue a career in fringe theater. Unfortunately, the best thing about the show is his songs. Marlowe gives what seems like an honest account of his life and troubles; we're meant to laugh and feel sorry. The odd thing is how out of touch he seems with his own emotions. He interacts with video clips of "Weirdness Guy" and "Übermensch" -- the id and superego of his own artistic conscience -- who are so impersonal, obnoxious, loud, and intrusive that I had to grab a stiff drink afterward. When Marlowe sticks to music and animation, though, he's affecting. "Fern-Bar Blues" is a funny bit about failure; "Working for the Russians" and "Ship in a Bottle" are accompanied by whimsical, running-clip-art-style animated shorts -- think of Terry Gilliam's cartoons for Monty Python -- that would make a decent music video. The whole question of wanting fame and not getting it is boring, though. Thousands of talented musicians wind up in the same position, and finding yourself shut out by the music industry is, in the end, not such a stunning disgrace.