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
Los Angeles neo-noir meets multiformat video grit with varying success in Chris Chan Lee's sophomore effort Undoing. The film stars Sung Kang (Better Luck Tomorrow, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) as Sam, returning from a year-long sojourn in Asia where he fled after witnessing his friend's botched drug deal and abandoning his bleeding body in a car. Like other cinematic American wanderers with a history of violence, Sam comes home to bury the body and make things right again with friends, lovers, and father figures while dodging the interference of crooked cops, Koreatown gangsters, and a hired assassin who keeps him hanging on every Christopher Walken-esque word. Kang is quietly effective with his tall, hunky modesty and the filial geniality he showed in Finishing the Game. The coarse video format helps evoke the bleached-out sunniness and neon-drenched darkness of a 1970s L.A., with most of the action taking place inside big cars, diners, and underground parking garages. A bit too much tinting in yellow, which imparts an atmosphere of sickly tension, nonetheless kept reminding us of the title of Lee's first film (Yellow), about the criminal night of eight Korean American teens on the eve of graduation. Happily, Undoing displays a more adult, romantic sensibility.
Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2007