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
Watch what James Franco actor/sleepy grad student/tepid writer/viral video comedian/conceptual artist/aficionado of gender fuckery can accomplish when he actually focuses for a couple of weeks. In Danny Boyle's latest, 127 Hours, Franco plays Aron Ralston, who in 2003 cut off his own arm after being stuck for five days under a rock in a Utah canyon. The boulder drops about 20 minutes into 127 Hours. Ralston begins devising clever systems of survival and, he hopes, mechanisms of freedom, all the while narrating his predicament into the video camera he's brought along, a device that seems awfully blunt at first, but becomes a fascinating window into how a smart, funny, non-action-hero guy might behave as he tries to think his way out of a catastrophe. Soon enough, the descent into delirium begins. As Boyle's film flits from the real worldthe heavy reality of a man in a canyon, pinned, near deathto the world of hallucinations and memories, so Franco's performance transforms, encompassing both universes. Unlike Boyle's flashback-dependent Slumdog Millionaire, we're not meant to draw explicit lines from past to present there's no scene of a young Ralston, like, learning to tie a double overhand stopper knot. Instead, the glimpses of his past build an impressionistic picture of a young man so devoted to the pursuit of experience that he's left human connection behind. It's fitting that the film likely to turn Franco dilettante, enigma, artistic adventurer into an unapproachable celebrity is itself a passionate, bloody argument for engagement with the world.
Jan. 7-13, 2011