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
With neighborhood institutions like the 21 Club closing to make way for yuppie cocktail bars, Brown Jug remains an oasis — and one that takes full advantage of the state's operating hours window, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
The Japanese pop phenomenon known as "kawaii" encapsulates the cult of cuteness that's run amok over the last few years, but there are signs of subversion. Take the work of artist Yoshitomo Nara, whose motley cast of tots, with their bloated skulls and vacuous doe eyes, disrobe childhood of all sentimentality. The concept of an infantile macabre isn't new to the States, either. Florida-based artist Kathie Olivas, for example, knows what kind of chicanery and corruption lies behind the eyes of cherub-faced whippersnappers. Her new exhibition, "Bittersweet," draws upon a series of characters she calls the "misery children," miniature adults who dot the landscape of a postapocalyptic world that looks like it came straight of an Yves Tanguy nightmarescape. It's fairy tale surrealism with plenty of sharp edges. The artist was inspired by early American portraiture, which often placed children in the midst of eerily desolate settings, as if to illustrate the intersection of innocence and virgin terrain. But don't expect mugging cuties with missing front teeth -- Olivas's brood are churlish and formidable, like characters from Lord of the Flies. The work, full of plump textures and saturated colors, is darkly beautiful and plenty disturbing -- girls in old-fashioned party dresses and boys in dunce caps scowl and sulk as if disappointed by their Christmas presents, while blobby appendages replace arms and legs and various body parts get torpedoed by inventive torture devices. Olivas's children are also often accompanied by legions of carnivorous beasts that seem to be stand-ins for stuffed animals -- take the creepy bunny in Baptism, who presides over a loathsome bundle that resembles the blighted offspring from Eraserhead.
Feb. 29-March 22, 2008