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 United States is harder on crime than almost any other Western nation, yet it has an unending fascination with serial killers, mob bosses, and high-profile white-collar criminals. The story of Al Capone, for example, has reached an almost mythological level, one that rivals the Kennedy family in the public consciousness. The names Zodiac and Son of Sam are still recognizable even though the killers were active more than 30 years ago. The federal prison at Alcatraz has been the focus of this near-obsession as well. About a decade ago, filmmaker Kevin Epps (Straight Outta Hunters Point) looked into the history of the African-American population there and found that not much had been revealed. So he set out to do it himself. The result is The Black Rock, a documentary that covers conditions for black inmates and guards at Alcatraz from the 1930s to the 1960s. It also tells the stories of several noteworthy prisoners. One was Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson, a gangster from Harlem whose infamy earned him the nickname the black Al Capone. Epps also interviews African-American inmates and guards . The fact that both populations were segregated is not a shock. Yet one incident that did surprise Epps involved William Ty Martin, a young black inmate who planned an escape with several white prisoners. The irony of this is in the 1950s and 40s there was so much racial segregation, Epps said in an interview before a screening at CSU Fresno. But in the prisons in the dungeons all they had was each other, and their humanity, so they conspired to escape. Other stories from inside are considerably more harsh. One inmate interviewed says that about 80 percent of the prison population was made up of sociopaths, people who essentially had no feelings: You cant think of something that somebody could do that didnt happen. A discussion with Epps follows the screening.
Sun., May 8, 7 p.m., 2011
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.'"