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
Though the breathtaking vistas of Big Sky Country in Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor's unforgettable sheep-herding documentary come close to heaven, it's telling that AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" can be faintly heard over the sound of the electric contraptions that hired hands yield to shear the docile creatures, one of the preparatory stages before the round-up begins. A record of the last time, in the early aughts, that cowboys led their flocks up into Montana's Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains for summer pasture, Sweetgrass captures the arduousness and the awe (not awww) of a vanishing way of life. Animals strike curious poses: One of the white, fluffy sheep stares right into Castaing-Taylor's camera as the film begins, a moment played not for critter cuteness but for ovine empathy, immediately setting the patient, unsentimental, observational tone. Just as you begin to distinguish the sounds of different bleats, you witness the absurd force of the sheep en masse as they run past a Radio Shack on a small-town street. High up in the mountains, they become unwieldy, leading enraged herder Pat Connolly to string together the most inspired blue streak ever uttered against ewes. Sweetgrass reminds us of the stupefying magnificence of its setting - beautiful for spacious skies and mountain majesties - while never letting us forget its formidable perils.
March 12-18, 2010