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
The Tenderloin was set to lose another irreplaceable when the Ha-Ra Club — a low-ceilinged dive of the slummiest reputation, long fallen into neglect, but nevertheless beloved for strong pours, idiosyncratic bartenders, and a long history — was taken over by the crew who run Ace's and Dobbs Ferry.
1991's The Fisher King has always been my favorite Robin Williams film, as well as my favorite Terry Gilliam movie. Sure, as anyone who claims to be into movies must, I have a deep love for Brazil — though my mother still hasn't forgiven me and my brother for insisting that she take us to see it at Fresno's Tower Theatre in the mid-1980s, especially after she learned that it had already been released on VHS by that point — as well as a healthy respect for Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas features the best use of CGI in the 1990s, in that it actually comes close to replicating what low-level hallucinations on acid look like (not that I would know such as thing). But The Fisher King has always been my favorite on a purely emotional level, closely followed by Tideland, which nobody else but me seemed to like.
When Robin Williams ended his life last August, it had the surely unintended consequence of a critical reappraisal for The Fisher King, in which he plays a mentally unstable homeless man in New York named Perry who enlists the aid of disgraced former shock jock Jack (Jeff Bridges) to find the Holy Grail, which Perry believes is in a swanky house on the Upper East Side. Not that it was greatly disliked beforehand (again, it ain't Tideland, which former SF Weekly contributor Nick Schager described as a "wack-job of a film" and "something of a catastrophe"), but when bloggers were looking back on his career, the only movie everybody could agree on was The Fisher King, which the Criterion Collection is releasing on Blu-ray and DVD on June 23.
This isn't Criterion's first time releasing The Fisher King; they released it on Laserdisc in the 1990s, a laserdisc which I owned and watched many times back in the day. The new Blu-ray artwork is swell, but I do miss the original laserdisc cover. I get that Blu-ray and laserdisc covers are very different canvases and it had to be changed, and the original was arguably a sloppy pre-Photoshop cut-and-paste job, but it still perfectly evokes the wistful tone of the film.
Terry Gilliam's excellent commentary track from that disc has been retained — which gives me hope that someday Criterion will release David Cronenberg's Crash on Blu-ray, since Cronenberg's commentary for that Laserdisc was stellar — and there are also newish interviews with the principal cast and crew, including Amanda Plummer and Mercedes Ruehl, neither of whom are getting nearly enough work these days. I'd argue that The Fisher King is as much of a career high for them as it was for Williams and Bridges, and watching it now, the female characters are actually much more interesting, even with their comparatively limited screen time. Ms. Ruehl won a richly deserved Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but these days, it's Ms. Plummer as Lydia, and her character's arc throughout the film, that really hits me where I live.
Both Williams and Bridges are in fine form, of course, and Bridges in particular is using his full acting arsenal, including what I've always called The Bridges Maneuver. One of the more notable examples of it is in the original Tron; the original scene isn't available in its entirety on YouTube, but you can catch a glimpse of it starting at 40 seconds into this trailer, when explains why he wants to hack into Encom. Pay close attention to his delivery and arm movements, as well as how this ace programmer who knows everything about computers has to struggle to find the word "memories."
Similarly, the full scene in question from The Fisher King isn't available online, and we only get to see a few non-consecutive seconds of it in the trailer, but the relevant part begins at 1:20, as he explains why he's trying to help Perry hook up with Lydia.
That right there, that is acting.
I'm being a tad facetious, because Bridges is actually great in the film, as is everyone else, especially Amanda Plummer. If you've never seen The Fisher King, or haven't in a while, treat yourself.
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.'"