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
Beloved by Stereolab and the High Llamas (whose Sean O'Hagan wrote Born Again's liner notes), the Free Design was an NYC group in the late '60s/ early '70s celebrated for its exquisitely arranged male/ female harmonies and unabashedly cheerful songs. Though saccharine -- the band is so incredibly white-sounding it makes the Beach Boys seem like Public Enemy -- the FD's output is dazzling, its jazz-inflected vocal blending orchestral. And there are dark undercurrents that set the group apart from its sunny-voiced colleagues. You Could Be Born Again (1968) recalls the Aquarian Age, full of naive wonderment, with hints of bossa nova and the Baroque designs of the Left Banke and the Beatles, whose "Eleanor Rigby" is given a remarkably gothic treatment via only voices, cello, and spare percussion. "Ivy on a Windy Day" is trippy, ethereal folk-pop. Stars/Bubbles/Time/Love (1970) is comparable, but finds the FD getting inadvisably "funky," with "groovy" guitar and organ flourishes. Fortunately, most of S/B/T/L is what the Free Design did best: sing rainbows with dark clouds in between the colors.