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 will dispense with the double entendres: Carol Doda, who we lost in November, was a San Francisco hero who will be rightly celebrated and remembered as long as the town she helped create still stands, the torch held aloft along Broadway and kept alight in neon.
Jaromil Jireš's 1970 film Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is legendary, and not just because it has a terrific name. I believe I first read about Danny Peary's Cult Films books in the early 1990s, and when I worked at Le Video in the late '90s, the manager was more than a little proud of the fact that we had a low-gen VHS dub, which was the closest it had ever come to getting a domestic video release. It finally got appeared on DVD a decade ago from Facets Video, and now the Criterion Collection is releasing a 4K digital restoration on Blu-ray on June 30. It's the best that this lo-fi Czech New Wave film will ever look, all the better to luxuriate in its oddness.
A proper trailer from its original release has never been uncovered — there isn't even one among Criterion's extras — so here's Joe Dante discussing a recent one over at Trailers From Hell:
Criterion describes Valerie and Her Week of Wonders better than I could: "A girl on the verge of womanhood finds herself in a sensual fantasyland of vampires, witchcraft, and other threats in this eerie and mystical movie daydream. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders serves up an endlessly looping, nonlinear fairy tale, set in a quasi-medieval landscape." It's all that, and much more, particularly whatever you bring to it.
Valerie is quite different from more recent "sexual awakening" movies such as Young and Beautiful in that while it was produced by men, it never quite feels like an excuse to leer at the lovely Jaroslava Schallerová as Valerie. (Heaven help me, I know Ms. Schallerová couldn't have been more than 13 during principal photography, but she is very easy on the eyes.) Or, at least, not just that, and for as much as it's about her contending with forces that may be beyond her control, Valerie retains a degree of agency even as the world around her gets increasingly bizarre, and it never feels like it's a condemnation of burgeoning female sexuality.
Although there are vampires and devils and no shortage of surreality, there are no optical effects to speak of; everything on the screen was in front of the camera, and though the HD image makes it clearer than ever that we're watching actors wearing makeup, the strings showing doesn't have an alienating effect, but rather increases the feeling that we're inside Valerie's mind.
With its themes of pastoral paganism, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is quite reminiscent of The Wicker Man, though that film came out three years later and is considerably more straightforward. According to Jana Prikryl's included essay "Grandmother, What Big Fangs You Have!", writer Angela Carter saw Valerie in the early 1970s, and its tone influenced her 1984 sexuality-brings-the-monsters film The Company of Wolves. Making me especially happy is the fact that Valerie directly homages the most iconic shot from one of my favorite short films, Maya Deren's black-and-white 1943 Meshes of the Afternoon. It might be a coincidence — how many different ways can you frame a woman looking through a window? — but I suspect Jireš knew exactly what he was doing.
Those are the kinds of things I take away from the film. No doubt you'll find your own wonders.
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.'"