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 new musical by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change) and Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan tells a story of the birth of rock 'n' roll in a Memphis radio station. A young white DJ, Huey Calhoun -- based on the historical Dewey Phillips -- electrifies and scandalizes Memphis in 1949 by mixing "race" records into a whites-only "blues" show. Calhoun goes on to play Elvis Presley for the first time, as Phillips did, and later hosts his own Rock Shop TV program, which (like Phillips') rivals Dick Clark's Bandstand for national syndication. The Southern jock is too wild for prime time, though: After launching not just a local blues singer but a new style of music, Calhoun loses out to Clark and lapses into obscurity. The story exaggerates Phillips' importance even as it revives his reputation; it feels like a Disney version of the real thing. But the feel-good tale works, thanks to a stunning lead performance by Chad Kimball. Kimball is perfectly cast as Calhoun -- he's hip as well as corny, irrepressible, with a strong soulful voice that improves a few of the songs. The most original number by DiPietro and Bryan is "Dick Clark," about the whiteness of Calhoun's nemesis. Almost every other big number starts with promising beauty -- "The Music of My Soul," "Sin, Degradation, and Communism," "Steal Your Rock 'n' Roll" -- but ends in a dumb conventional Broadway rave-up that does no credit to the talents of Kimball and other singers like Montego Glover and J. Bernard Calloway.