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
Cum Laude finds Petaluma trio the Velvet Teen attempting the same stylistic 180 it pulled by following up serrated pop stunner Out of the Fierce Parade (2002) with the completely guitarless, piano-driven concept record Elysium (2004). The Iron Chef surprise ingredient this time is synthesizers and 'tis a bummer. The band's newfound love of electronics produces little more than a skittery videogame flourish here, a Postal Serviceable melody there, and maudlin songs like "Noi Boi" that sound like Human League B-sides. Frontman (and co-producer, along with his brother, Ephriam) Judah Nagler has coated his vocals in something straight from the cabinet of Dr. Reznor: In place of his beautifully strained falsetto we get a chalky screech. Mostly Cum Laude is a mess. The act's demonstrated talent for crafting note-perfect arrangements whether grandiose or succinct is here obscured by icky burbles and an impatient need for speed, potentially decent songs railroaded by an urge to clutter. That urge is neither formally nor functionally successful; it's just misguided.