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
Llewelynn Fletcher's immersive sculptures beguile the senses. Sasha Petrenko's site-specific installations and performances strive to capture a dynamic, living planet. Austin Thomas hides heady themes in seemingly austere drawings, photos, and sculptures. She also cobbles together site-specific social spaces which she calls "perches," but which are obviously kick-ass treehouses, minus the trees. These and other artists are contributing super-sized works for "Just Passing Through: Sculptures and Installations" at the University of San Francisco's Rooftop Sculpture Terrace. "Just Passing Through" promises to challenge notions about how we inhabit or pass through space, or at least provide a lovely respite in a busy city.
"Just Passing Through: Sculptures and Installations" is open to the public 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and runs through Dec. 11 at Kalmanovitz Hall, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton St., S.F. Free; 422-5178 or usfca.edu. More
Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Dec. 11
Weird little marvels are the works of Ron Nagle, the ceramicist whose work has helped prove that a sculptor who works in clay can be a serious presence in the art world. Nagle has been making vessels and intimate-sized sculptures since the 1960s, when he was associated with the norm-busting California ceramics movement and studied with one of its prime forces, fellow abstract-expressionist Peter Voulkos. A species of one, Nagle has continued to create compelling and painstakingly crafted pieces that are elegant yet unsettling. His sculptures contain puckered surfaces, unusual textural juxtapositions, amorphous shapes, and a surreal look. His cups, some of which have been overglazed and repeatedly fired, appear to have come from a tea party on Mars. With diverse influeneces, including ceramicist Ken Price, abstractionist Cy Twombly, still-life painter Giorgio Morandi, and California cool-car culture, Nagle is a distinctive artist and a San Francisco spirit. To learn more, come hear his lecture at the San Francisco Art Institute — his first appearance there since his 1978 Adaline Kent Award exhibition.More
BayTaper.com, an online multimedia documentary featuring live audio recordings, videos, and photography has been tirelessly capturing live jazz and acoustic music in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005.
Giant bugs always get a bad rap. From the unwieldy, pop-eyed ants of Them! to the billboard-sized tarantula of Earth vs. the Spider ("It must eat you to live!"), creepy crawlies of the enormous variety are typecast as disemboweling, prickly monsters. Luckily, Creativity Explored has launched a PR campaign for big bugs of all sorts. The gallery, which features the work of adults with developmental disabilities, is staging a sculptural exhibition called "INsects INsectos," featuring artists' renderings of larger-than-life papier-mâché ants, beetles, dragonflies, wasps, and locusts. Artists Nubia Ortega and Abel Pineda draw on their memories of childhoods spent in El Salvador and Mexico respectively, crafting oversized wood bees and migrating Monarch butterflies. Pineda theorizes that bugs appear frequently in Latin American art because our neighbors to the South are more likely to appreciate insects instead of smashing them. Attending this show may be good therapy for those who wield the slipper too quickly -- these bugs are strange, whimsical, brightly colored, and have snapped nary a teenager in half. (Note to fussy entomologists: were well aware that spiders are arachnids, not insects.)
June 26-Aug. 6, 2008