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
Actors Theater of San Francisco, 533
Sutter (at Powell), S.F.
Through Sept. 29
The new millennium provided an impetus for many playwrights to create "millennial plays," a couple of which assess race relations in America through white main characters who think they're liberal but are really racists. Rebecca Gilman's award-winning Spinning Into Butter appears on the Peninsula later this season, but Actors Theater of S.F. snags the West Coast premiere rights to (and presents only the third production in the U.S. of) Canadian George F. Walker's Heaven, skillfully directed by Bill English. Jimmy (Brian Scott) is a white human rights lawyer turned cynic who has spent his career prosecuting corporations for unequal pay and cops for shooting blacks without cause -- the latter of which gets him into trouble with one corrupt cop, Karl (James Palermo). Jimmy started his career with seemingly good intentions, but now views his work as "separating the real thing from the whining" (of minorities). His attitude estranges him from his Jewish wife, Judy (Susi Damilano), who falls in love with her rabbi (Louis Parnell). Meanwhile Karl strong-arms a black drug dealer, Derek (Ricky Marshall), into doing some dirty work for him. In keeping each other in prescribed race roles, the characters brutally clash -- and many meet their ends violently. Though the dialogue is often cruel and the characters unsympathetic (as they should be), Walker adds absurdity with song-and-dance scenes set in a decidedly Christian heaven. Melanie Slivka, as heroin addict Sissy, brings humor and truthfulness to the role, passing through scenes while juggling, riding a unicycle, or walking on stilts in an attempt to "better herself." Indeed, Walker is asking tough questions about bettering oneself and about the motives behind good intentions, and these queries require the actors to live in the uneasy place between absurdity and honesty, which many of them don't do successfully. In most of Act 1 they err on the side of comedy, playing for laughs and not listening to each others' lines. This problem clears up in Act 2, especially in an authentically performed scene of hope between Parnell and Slivka. Though Walker undercuts this scene with a monologue by Jimmy that explains too concretely what the play is about (as if Walker didn't trust his own writing), this play is still more complex and better crafted than Gilman's.
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.'"