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
Nothing caps off a nice day at the beach like a mouthful of sand — especially if the grit in your teeth is the reward for the grit required to splay flat-out on your stomach, for the prize of a plastic disc in your hand, and all the glory that comes along with it.
Mashing up different world cuisines is usually a popular conceit for new quick-service eateries and food trucks to make a quick buck and gain Instagram fame, but Volta has shown how well global cross-pollination works on a refined plate without stretching for novelty or pretense in the process.
Man oh man, the Internet was scary to a lot of people back in the 1990s. Kids these days (kids these days!) who've grown up with it probably can't grasp the fear that the mainstream, particularly the Baby Boomers, had of computers and the Internet and what many people either called cyberspace or the information superhighway. (Yep, "information superhighway" was a thing once.) Hollywood produced its share of the-internet-will-destroy-us-all! paranoia films at the time, and if we're being honest, and it hasn't stopped, considering recent scare films such as Disconnect and Men, Women, and Children. For that matter, virtual reality was briefly a thing back then as well, though the technology wasn't ready yet.
The thing to remember about Hackers — a deeply silly film about a group of flamboyant teenage programmers led by Kate (Angelina Jolie) and Dade (Jonny Lee Miller) who get entangled with evil cyber-villain The Plague (Fisher Stevens) — is that even if the target audience had home computers, they most likely had very limited, dial-up internet access. The web was particularly nascent; I'd only just built my first site around the time the film came out, though I'd been on Usenet for a few years by then, and I was on BBSs a lot in the 1980s.
But the average moviegoer didn't really know jack about computers or the internet in 1995 – for a lot of people, the word "online" was always preceded by the word "America" – and there were already plenty of scare stories in the media about hackers, hence this teaser trailer for the film in which the theater get "hacked."
This cultural unfamiliarity meant Hackers was able to get as flashy and unrealistic as it wanted to be, and it is gloriously so. But it also accounts for why the film was a huge financial bomb, and the studio tried to rebrand it for video to make it seem more relatable to the average viewer. Here's the original poster:
A nice blue tone (before The Matrix fucked things up with its ugly green palette), and the tagline, "Their Crime Is Curiosity," posits the title characters as the heroes. Since that dog clearly didn't hunt, they changed things around for the video art:
Oooh, now it's red, signifying danger! Also, there's a spooky pirate skull complete with a keyboard for a mouth and a floppy disc for an eyepatch (!), and a new tagline that draws you into the action: "You Thought Your Secrets Were Safe. You Were Wrong." Omigosh, my secrets? Uh-oh!
Shout! Factory can be pretty hit-or-miss with their bonus features, and an "anniversary edition" by any company is never a guarantee that there'll be any interested extras, but this disc actually has a good hour's worth of new interviews. Hacker icons Nicholas Jarecki and Emmanuel Goldstein, who both consulted on the film at the time, are on hand to praise it now — Jarecki compares it to the Max Headroom series, while Goldstein says it foretells hacktivism, Anonymous, and the like — and there's some really fascinating information about how the special effects were done. Much like Tron, a film which also tried to literalize cyberspace, there's far less CGI and a lot more traditional effects work than one might expect, which is why it still looks good today. And you'd be surprised how much work went into the shot of Fisher Stevens skateboarding into the computer room at the beginning of this clip; it looks for all the world like a single-shot, in-camera take, but was actually much more complicated.
Unfortunately, for a film whose characters expose a sort of utopian vision ("We exist without nationality, skin color, or religious bias," goes the manifesto), it has a pretty lousy take on gender. I know, it's hard to believe: a counterculture that's male-dominated and ultimately sexist? Strange but true! Not only is Angelina Jolie's character the only female hacker in the core group, but a plot point that motivates much of the action, and is even such a funny funny joke that it makes it into the official trailer, involves a contest between Miller and Jolie's characters in which if Miller whens, the cyber-tomboy Jolie will have to wear a dress on a date, and if she wins, he'll have to wear a dress. Because gender humiliation via cross-dressing is hilarious!
And it ends there. During a campaign of harassment against a Secret Service agent (Wendell Pierce, Bunk from The Wire!), in addition to canceling his credit cards and setting his payroll status to Deceased, they put up a personal ad with his work number on a "Future Sex" board: "Disappointed white male, cross-dresser looking for discreet friend 'to bring dreams to reality.' Leather, lace, and water sports. Transvestites welcome." Even more hilarious! Also, ugh.
Anyhow, the new Shout! Factory release engages in a skosh of hyperbole, referring to Hackers as becoming "an underground hit instantly, inspiring music and fashion for the brand-new Internet culture, and has been even hailed as prophetic in its use of computers and hacking." Which, no, not really, but it did give us the phrase "Hack the Planet!"
Oh, man. Jolt Cola. I used to be a big fan of that back in the day, and my friends and I would occasionally mix it with over-the-counter stimulants like No-Doz. It's a wonder my heart didn't explode. In more recent years, "Hack the Planet!" became a familiar refrain at my live show Bad Movie Night whenever there was computer stuff onscreen. During the 2012 election, when Romney was talking about hackers from China, I tweeted this:
Oh, we have fun, don't we? This past July, when the news was hitting that China had indeed hacked our side of the planet, a couple of Libertarian nozzles went searching for Tweets by strangers they could be all "nyaaah nyaaah!" about, hence my years-old joke suddenly getting these replies.
Um, yeah, they sure gave me the what-for, they did. But that's Hackers for ya: a silly film still inspiring people to say silly things. And really, can praise get any higher?
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.'"