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 hottest current thing in the world of tapioca drinks, a.k.a. boba tea (or, as Hillary Clinton recently called them when she tried one in New York, "chewy tea") isn't a crazy new flavor or new way to marinate the root starch balls — it's cotton candy!
For those scoring at home, the task force is now one-for-19 when it comes to actually having the Sunshine Ordinance enforced. Yet that may be saying too much: Yesterday's hearing revealed larger problems. It exposed gaping loopholes in the ordinance resulting in a "solution" in which egregious violations of the law result in a memo being sent to the mayor -- who may or may not do a damn thing.
The incident that sparked last night's hearing was a loud, objectionable, and -- let us assure you -- unpleasant-to-watch exchange at a Library Commission meeting, of all things. You're not supposed to yell at the library. And, it turns out, you're not supposed to yell at Library Commission meetings either -- especially when you're the president of the board.
Here are the details of the offense in as concise a manner as we can do. At a 2009 meeting, speaker Sue Cauthen brought up a point tangentially related to the North Beach library -- but not related to the forthcoming very specific agenda item about the library's design on that night's agenda -- during general comments. She was told to stop speaking by commission president Jewelle Gomez. When Cauthen tried to explain the situation, Gomez began upbraiding her, raising her voice to scream "Sit down!" Gomez then adopted a condescending sing-song tone, repeating "Please sit down, please sit down, please sit down." Cauthen sat down.
You can hear this uncomfortable exchange just after the 20-minute mark of the above video, a recording of last night's Ethics Commission meeting commissioned by Larry Bush.
For a commission president to shout down a speaker is about as clear a violation of the Sunshine Ordinance as you can get. But here's where things get tricky. Under the terms of ordinance, the Ethics Commission is entitled to initiate enforcement only against an "elected official, department head, or other managerial city employee." Gomez, a volunteer appointee of erstwhile Mayor Gavin Newsom, is obviously none of those.
Conduct unbecoming for a commission president...
The suggestion put forth by Ethics' legal staff was to send a memo to Mayor Ed Lee urging he punish Gomez. This was unanimously approved by the commission, thus exposing a fantastic weakness in the law.
Does it make sense that a city official found to have egregiously violated the law is then referred to back to the very person who appointed her, with no requirement that any punishment take place at all? Mayor Lee may well remove Gomez from office, or he may use the Ethics Commission's letter to kindle a fire in his office and cook a can of baked beans. It's up to him. (Our guess is that Gomez will resign.)
Considering Gomez is a Newsom appointment and the Library Commission isn't one of the city's particularly big-money bodies, it's unclear how much effort Lee will expend on her behalf. But the ruling would have been the same, even if Gomez was Lee's appointment and, perhaps, very good friend on an influential commission.
On a side note, the members of the Ethics Commission were far more appalled that Gomez was incredibly rude than they seemed to be about her obvious violation of the Sunshine Ordinance. Had Gomez been nice about shutting up Cauthen, this hearing would not have taken place. Furthermore, Ethics may not have opted to write the mayor and urge Gomez be sacked if the Library Commissioner hadn't arrogantly defended her actions, claiming she had been "provoked" into behaving like an audience member on The Jerry Springer Show. For her to adopt this tack, repeatedly, after everyone in the room winced while watching video of her berate a frail, elderly woman showed astounding tone-deafness.
The upshot of the night, however, is that even when the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force wins, it also loses. The Ethics Commission thought so little of it that it systematically rejected 18 consecutive referrals. Now, on No. 19, Ethics decided it had no enforcing authority and has to ask the mayor to do something.
That such a stunningly large loophole could be present in a decades-old law makes it clear that the city never took the Sunshine Ordinance seriously. It's yet another San Francisco law political leaders felt was far more important to pass than enforce. We have a Sunshine Ordinance Task Force so we can say we have one, not to enforce the Sunshine Ordinance.
City officials can continue to violate the Sunshine Ordinance with impunity. Taking a lesson from Gomez, however, they'll just have to be nice about it.
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.
"Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015.
He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.
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.'"