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
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.