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
Once famous throughout the league as a haven for misfits and rejects looking to resurrect their careers, the Raiders have for the last decade or more made an art from out of epically wrong personnel decisions.
Modern society is so intractably fucked that it's a fair question whether we still need the dystopian novel. Many of the most despairing science fiction visions, such as Philip K. Dick's fever-dreams of capitalist dictatorships and surveillance states, could pass for contemporary realism. For a modern-day dystopian novel to really hit, it has to go much further than its predecessors while maintaining a sense of eerie plausibility. Author and artist Don LePan's debut, Animals, fits the bill, presenting a vision of Earth 100 years from now suffering from mass extinction because of factory farming and overuse of antibiotics. The unforgiving world he conjures is both horrifying and plausible: Disabled humans are farmed for meat, while the lucky ones are kept as pets. The book's protagonist, Sam, is one of these fortunate-yet-damned, a 10-year-old deaf child who lives for the amusement of his owners. Far from a flight of fancy, LePan's Brave New World by way of Michael Pollan is given added resonance in our age of swine flu outbreaks and egg producers who casually sell salmonella to their customers. And while it's a premise that could easily devolve into a dry treatise on animal rights, LePan keeps things moving, with a narrative by turns chilling and stomach-churning but always keenly observed.
Tue., Nov. 23, 6 p.m., 2010