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
For those (like this critic) who missed singer-songwriter Stews Tony-winning, autobiographical rock musical during its runs at the Public Theater and on Broadway, Spike Lees concert film versiontaped during the shows final two performances at the Belasco Theater and once more before Lees army of craning, swooshing camerasprovides a richly satisfying record. Appearing center-stage, flanked by a trio of backing musicians, the regal Stew (né Mark Stewart) serves as narrator and interlocutor for this Proustian journey into the irretrievable past, centered on a restless African-American teen (known only as Youth and played superbly by Daniel Breaker) coming of age in South Central L.A. in the 1970s. Chafing at the clichés of urban black identity and desperate for real experience, Stews musically minded alter ego sets sail for Europe, where he gets a crash course in a whole new set of clichés, discovering sex and drugs in Amsterdam and joining a radical collective in Berlin. At every step, the real rips through the Youthsto say nothing of Rentsidealized notions of la vie bohème, and our hero finds himself faced with the conundrum of Sondheims Georges Seurat: to make love or art. Nimbly directed by Lee and propelled by a rousing cabaret rock score (by Stew and Heidi Rodewald) that cleanses the palate of contemporary Broadways prevailing jukebox drivel, Passing Strange conjures a rare kind of theatrical magic with its emotionally raw, frequently euphoric portrait of the artist as a young man.
Oct. 2-8, 2009