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
Inspired by a 2008 New York Times Magazine article by Alex Kotlowitz, Steve James' commanding documentary The Interrupters, about "violence interrupters" in Chicago, who intervene in conflicts before they escalate into gunshots, unfolds as deeply reported journalism. Much like Hoop Dreams (1994), James' in-depth examination of the athletic aspirations of two African-American high school students, The Interrupters reminds us of the powers and pleasures of well-crafted, immersive nonfiction filmmaking a genre vitiated within the past five years by a glut of cruddy-looking, poorly researched and argued titles. Spanning the summer of 2009 to the spring of 2010, James' film follows the work of CeaseFire, an organization founded by epidemiologist Gary Slutkin, who equates violence with an infectious disease, insisting that its spread can be combated the way one would contain an outbreak of cholera or TB: by going after the most infected areas and stopping the sickness at its source. The heart of The Interrupters is the steadfast efforts of three CeaseFire workers: Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams, and Eddie Bocanegra, who all have criminal records, like most of the organization's outreach employees; their histories give them not just street cred but an understanding of how to defuse volatile disputes. Unlike a majority of recent high-profile documentaries, The Interrupters doesn't rely on cute graphics or charts to convey its facts. James trusts that his audience is patient and intelligent enough to piece together Chicago's history of violence simply by watching and listening to what's onscreen.
Sept. 9-15, 2011