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
In case you've been TaskRabbiting your way through life and haven't had the chance to leave the micro-loft to stroll the alleys and streets of central San Francisco, the number of homeless tent encampments in town is approaching epic levels — as in Hooverville and Great Depression levels.
Don't assume from his spiffy 1940s cover-art attire that ex-S.F. folk-rocker J.C. Hopkins (Flophouse) is going all Cocktail Nation on us. Where most exponents of the '90s lounge/neo-swing wave were style-over-substance acts, Hopkins wisely circumvents any pseudo-hepcat kitsch, preferring instead to draw upon enduring, more jazz-oriented exemplars (Count Basie, Artie Shaw, etc.). Moon sounds like a hits collection from big-band swing's heyday, yet all the songs are originals, and Hopkins' heartfelt respect for that era's musicality and songcraft raises this set above a mere nostalgia jaunt. It doesn't hurt that the Biggish Band includes ace up-and-comers (Claire Daly, Liberty Ellman) along with veterans (Warren Smith, Vincent Chancey) of the New York City jazz scene. On "Settle Down," the horns have a luscious Duke Ellington-like creaminess; vibes add a breezy, West Coast cool-school ambience throughout. Most vocals are by Queen Esther (whose crisp, clear intonation recalls that of Ella Fitzgerald and Rosemary Clooney), convincingly conveying pensive desire ("Someday") and night-on-the-town aplomb ("Here Comes Love"). Though hardly innovative, Moon is an inspired evocation of a great chapter in American pop history, not a cheesy mock-up.