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 most clichéd things you can possibly associate with San Francisco are the Golden Gate Bridge and fog over the bay, but looking out at the bridge in a thick fog from Kirby Cove, with the skyline of the city peeking through, is just as magical as it is stupidly clichéd. Although you have to make your way to the Marin Headlands to experience this view, the Kirby Cove campgrounds are well worth the adventure into that home base of the anti-vaccination movement, just for their gorgeous view of the city.
In Search of Beethoven plays like a good, if necessarily condensed critical biography. Drawing from archival letters, interviews with contemporary musicians and historians, and a generous selection of live music, Phil Grabskys film takes us through the life and work of its imposing subject, moving from Beethoven's days as the piano virtuoso of Vienna in the 1790s through his establishment as that citys leading composer and his subsequent personal troubles and declining production. Whats interesting about the film is not so much its re-creation of the mans life or its presentation of his characterwhich hew closely to romantic notions of the stubborn, increasingly erratic geniusbut its consideration of just how revolutionary his body of music was compared to that of his predecessors. The films real resource is its impressive array of talking heads, their intimate familiarity with the music, and their ability to impart graspable insight, as when two subjects offer different readings of the Ninth Symphonys seemingly incongruous ending. Only the angry outburst of one expert, who uses Beethovens genius to deride contemporary art and video clips as comparative trash, imparts a sour elitist whiff to the proceedings.
Dec. 18-23, 6:30 & 9 p.m.; Dec. 19-20, 3 p.m., 2009