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
After last year's fantastic postapocalyptic, outdoor version of Animal Farm, director and writer Jon Tracy and Shotgun Players return with In the Wound, an adaptation of The Iliad. Tracy's modern take focuses on Odysseus' attempt to avoid fighting in the Trojan War by pretending to be insane. But, of course, he does join the fight, and the battle scenes are quite thrilling. These sequences (choreographed beautifully by Dave Maier) feature a cast of more than 25, dressed like Road Warrior samurai and fighting with swords, crutches, and drumsticks. This is underscored by battlefield nurses pounding Japanese kodo-style drums high atop lookout towers. When the drama becomes too heavy, it's relieved by beautiful moments such as Odysseus' son throwing elegant paper-plane letters to his father, and soldiers suffering from PTSD seeking solace in therapy. As Agamemnon, Michael Torres steals the show, injecting dark humor into the endless war with nuggets like, "It's like you pooped sadness in a bag and delivered it to my party." Shotgun is doing an inspired service updating classics such as Animal Farm and its rock 'n' roll rendition of Beowulf. Now it adds The Iliad to that mix, and plans to offer Part Two in December.
Oct. 2-3, 3 p.m., 2010