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
We don't often go out of our way for restrooms, but in the case of Macy's sixth-floor ladies room (sorry guys: you'll just have to make do with having everything else), all who pass through its doors will understand why it's worth the effort.
I've never been quite sure what "melodrama" is, particularly compared to drama-drama. I've noticed that it's mostly used as a pejorative, a way to insult a person or piece of art which shows genuine feelings, to dismiss them as melodramatic. Big emotions are scary, and as a whole, we'd rather not deal with them, preferring instead to shame them into submission.
There are some pretty damn big emotions in Bette Midler's first starring role, Mark Rydell's 1979 The Rose, which the Criterion Collection is releasing on Blu-ray May 19. And they don't shy away from the m-word, calling it "a sensitively drawn and emotionally overwhelming melodrama."
Ms. Midler is Mary Rose Foster (The Rose for short), a rock and rhythm 'n' blues singer who achieved the fame she always wanted, but is also spiraling down hard as a result. She finds fame to be empty and lonely — and the drugs aren't helping, nor is the fact that her manager (Alan Bates) won't give her the year off from touring that she so desperately needs. Ms. Midler was rightfully nominated for Best Actress, and though she lost out to Sally Field in Norma Rae — an entirely worthy performance as well, it must be said — The Rose remains Ms. Midler's towering achievement. If this was the only film she ever made, her legacy would have been secure.
It's also gorgeously shot by the Vilmos Zsigmond, hot after Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Deer Hunter, and right before Heaven's Gate — which is a pretty legendary run. (Oh, there's a lot wrong with Heaven's Gate, and there's no question that the original theatrical version was a bit of an eyesore — Criterion's recent rejiggering of the color scheme makes it much more watchable — but it also couldn't have been shot by someone who didn't know exactly what he was doing, if that makes any sense.) The Rose was shot in 1.85:1, so unlike Zsigmond's other pictures from around that time, it didn't have to be pan-and-scanned for video, but it was also designed to be seen on a big screen the way most modern movies are not. I watched The Rose on VHS in the early 1990s and it just didn't look good at all, but Criterion's restoration — supervised by Mr. Zsigmond — makes it look the way it was supposed to, even on a non-giant screen. Every grain on the film is where it's supposed to be, and the stage lights look more like the Mothership from Close Encounters than ever.
Highlights from the extras include a Today Show segment from a little over a week intothe principal photography. It's remarkable how much precious network time is devoted to the simple rigors of filming a scene, without it being edited down or sped up for the perceived short attention span of the viewer at home.
The best is a 2015 interview with Ms. Midler in which she reflects candidly on the making of The Rose. It was a very positive experience for her (with the exception of working with Harry Dean Stanton, who was apparently a bit of a dick). She confirms that the original script was explicitly based on the life of Janis Joplin, even going so far as to be called Pearl, but that she requested it be fictionalized further. Having already been on the road herself, she says she used her own experiences to inform the character, plus her intimate knowledge of the stresses that female entertainers have to put up with compared to men.
From her own upbringing, Ms. Midler says she understood what it means to be different from one's ostensible community, to be marginalized and made to feel less-than; that was already inside her, and didn't have to be made up. Notably, the interview cuts to a scene from the movie in which she argues with her all-male band about the set list; she's the star, but the boys are giving her grief about cutting certain songs, even though it's her decision, not theirs.
Though Ms. Midler never uses the word "authenticity" in the interview, it reminds me of some episodes of PBS Idea Channel in which host Mike Rugnetta discusses the public perception of Taylor Swift as someone not truly in control of her work or her image.
Also required viewing is the end of the follow-up episode, in which Rugnetta expresses frustration with certain commenters who refuse to believe that there's any kind of gender bias at all regarding the perception of female pop stars writing (or not writing) their own music, in spite of the fact that Taylor Swift herself says she's encountered it. The relevant part begins at 9:57.
The most touching tidbit from Ms. Midler's interview concerns Rose's famously bleary walk to the stage for the climactic concert. It's a ginormous production, with a huge crowd and fireworks and a spectacle that is all unfolding before front of the camera f'reals. (Other famed cinematographers who shot footage for the concert scenes include Conrad Hall, László Kovács, and Haskell Wexler.) Seeing it all, especially a big light-up rose in the background, Ms. Midler says she improvised the line to her manager, "Did you do that for me?" It's so subtle (and unscripted) that it doesn't even get picked up in the subtitles, and even if the viewer doesn't pick up on the words, they'll pick up on the emotion between Ms. Midler and Bates in that moment.
And if that's melodrama, then regular drama is overrated.
Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'.
Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"