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
Everyone and their mother got a bit excited yesterday when David Bowie released new material for the first time in 10 years, to coincide with his 66th birthday. Not only is "Where Are We Now?" very good indeed, but it's also accompanied by a freaky video, which reassures us that the old Bowie magic is still very much alive and well. A lot of critics spent yesterday talking about the somewhat sad, reflexive tone of the new song, but the thing that struck us first and foremost was the lyrical setting -- the streets of Berlin. It's not the first time Bowie has demonstrated a love of, and fascination with, Germany. Here are some other notable examples.
Taking Iggy Pop to Berlin to Get Clean
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In 1976, when Iggy Pop was so smacked out of his mind that he checked himself into a Los Angeles mental institution, it was the Thin White Duke who got him out. That's right -- our hero, David Bowie, swept Iggy Pop out of the hospital and off to West Berlin so that the two of them could overcome their demons and addictions together. It all sounded terribly romantic to us, until we read in the February 2012 issue of Rolling Stone that Bowie: "became a heavy drinker. He threw up in alleys at night. He reportedly called out to people: 'Please help me'." Nevermind...
Using Germany as Musical Inspiration
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It wasn't all vomiting and crying down backstreets in Berlin, fortunately. In 1977 Bowie and Pop found their new living situation creatively inspiring, and ultimately collaborated on Iggy's The Idiot album (Bowie helped with writing and production). Iggy returned the favor by helping his friend write some songs, one of which was "China Girl," which did rather well, as you might recall. Look how cute they are in that photo! Ridiculous!
"The Berlin Trilogy"
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1977's Low and Heroes albums, as well as 1979's Lodger, made up what came to be known as The Berlin Trilogy -- in Bowie's words, a "triptych". The trio of albums marked a new period of experimentation for the Brit, as he embraced Krautrock influences and incorporated more ambient sounds into his work. Side bonus: by the end of the trilogy, Bowie was no longer a massive coke-head. Hurray!
Getting a Little Obsessed With Nazis (Whoops)
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In 1977, Bowie told British music paper The Melody Maker, in no uncertain terms: "I'm NOT a fascist." It was nice to have that clarified once and for all, because the year before, he had been detained at the Russian-Polish border carrying a heap of Nazi memorabilia. Which didn't look good, given the fact that he had also told Playboy in 1974 that "Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars." We'll put the unsavory interest down to drug use and temporary insanity -- Bowie has since referred to his short-lived fascination as "ghastly". Phew!
Recording Songs in German
You can't very well live in Germany for years on end and not embrace the language, can you? Which is how this happened:
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.'"