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
Strange Fruit Project hails from Texas, but apart from the twangy accents, the group sounds nothing like Houston's chopped and screwed thugs and grill-pushers. The crew's remarkably soulful sound begs for comparisons to early Slum Village, or perhaps a post-neo-soul Native Tongues. Its rhymes similarly eschew materialist fantasies, preferring instead to focus on social commentary and expressions of being. Equal parts iPod headnodder, ride-along companion, and club buddy, The Healing is that rare rap album that's spiritual without being corny, relevant without being trendy, and dope without boasting about narcotics transactions. S1, Myth, and Myone's mellifluous mic skills (The harder we write/ The harder we spit it/ The harder the struggle/ The more reason there is for us to live it) makes you realize what hip hop used to be, how much you missed it, and how good it feels to hear it again. S1's production is on par with 9th Wonder (who guest-produces "Special") for new-school excellence. SFP's execution is so tight, collaborations with Little Brother and Erykah Badu aren't even the best tracks on one of the most original (and best) hip-hop albums you'll hear this year. Just listen to "Good Times" which mixes P-Funk choral arrangements, an up-tempo beat layered with strings and guitars, and party-hearty lyrics that never lapse into stupidity and you'll want all of the strange fruit you can stomach.