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
It's ironic that the big zinger for Kronos Quartet's latest CD -- teaming up with famed "Queen of Bollywood" vocalist Asha Bhosle -- is actually its weakest link. While longtime fans naturally expect the S.F.-based classical-music innovators to push the genre's parameters, this 100 percent classical-free stab at so-called hipster chic (one can imagine violinist and producer David Harrington prodding his bandmates: "C'mon, guys! It's fun!") takes some getting used to. The group's collaboration with Bhosle on songs by her late husband, soundtrack composer R.D. Burman, features a bit too much cheese (a Bollywood trademark, I know) that makes the production feel geeky in its overzealous attempt at multicultural pop cool. And the singer's mellifluous presence tends to soften Kronos' edgy appeal. Granted, Harrington's arrangements are far from boring -- the rhythmic crosscurrents on "My Lover Came Silently" and "Love, Come to Me Now" in fact lean toward compelling -- but this has more to do with the quartet's give-and-take with virtuosic percussionist Zakir Hussain than its partnership with Bhosle. Ultimately, there's just too much singing on this disc, and too little Kronos.