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
199 Valencia St., 415-255-7505
As beloved dive bars shutter their doors (RIP Pop’s) and new, shiny condominiums spring up all over the Mission District, there is one place left that defies the tech empire’s new, unsullied landscape of luxury: Zeitgeist.
What’s past is prologue: If the Old Mint is stands as a testament to our future, it is one with a resilient and enduring spirit. It was commissioned by Congress in 1852 to accommodate the needs of a growing gold rush economy, and it swiftly became the most active mint in the United States. In 1877, more than $50 million in coins were produced in its belly, and by the mid-1930s it stored one-third of the nation’s gold reserves. Though dubbed the Granite Lady, the bulk of the Old Mint’s 102,000-square-foot expanse was made from sandstone. The granite came from the Griffith Quarry in Placer County, and it aligns the basement walls and foundation. It was this design that thwarted the ensuing twin disasters — earthquake and fire — that laid siege to the city in 1906. As the only operational financial institution open for business after the quake, it became the depository and treasury for the city’s relief funds. The building was designated a national historic landmark in 1961 and listed on the national register of historic places nearly two decades later. It was purchased by the city from the federal government in 2003 with a borrowed silver dollar minted at the building nearly 124 years prior. Tonight, join docent and former Stanford professor of architecture Paul V. Turner for The Old Mint as an Architectural Treasure. The tour is part of a monthly series anticipating the building’s opening later this year as the city’s first museum dedicated to the preservation of San Francisco’s legacy.
Tue., Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m., 2012