If your idea of a good time at the movies requires a three-act narrative consisting of the hook, the conflict, and the climax, followed by a quick resolution, then Amateurs of the Impossible is not for you. Filmmakers Margaret Rorison and Zach Iannnazzi are like painters — or, as Orson Welles suggested, poets with camera lenses for eyes. They reach beyond the presentational to build film-loop elegies, plein air panoplies, and celluloid sonatas that whip up dreams, memories, emotions, and musings. Rorison, co-founder of Baltimore's much-loved roaming experimental film series Sight Unseen, contributes six shorts, including a handmade study of Danish wind power, a collaboration with the Effervescent Dance Collective, a landscape portrait of Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, and a 16-mm tribute to her grandfather that is saturated by field recordings of oil rigs and fishing lines on the Louisiana bayou. Iannazzi offers three shorts, including a found-footage scrapbook of fading Northern California and a superimposed diptych of home movies that explores "mid-century male bonding and the hubris of hunting culture."
"Amateurs of the Impossible" begins at 7:30 p.m. at Artists Television Access, 992 Valencia St., S.F. $10; 415-824-3890 or sfcinematheque.org. More
Scientists used to consider it balderdash, but the belief that humans can cause earthquakes has recently been validated by a significant increase in tremors occurring in the Central United States. Nearly twice as many quakes, magnitude 3 and up, have happened there in the last six years than in the previous 36 years; in 2014, more strong earthquakes jolted Oklahoma than California. Justin Rubinstein, a U.S. Geological Survey research geophysicist, believes oil and gas extraction is responsible for this. Hydraulic fracturing is part of the problem, but Rubinstein says the top culprit is the injection of wastewater from oil and gas operations into permanent storage areas underground. He believes that human activity of this sort could trigger a magnitude 7 shaker. All agree that San Francisco's expected Big One will be an act of nature, not industry, but anyone earthquake-curious should find Rubinstein's talk ("Yes, Humans Really Are Causing Earthquakes") of interest. The event is part of a USGS series of free lectures for non-experts.
Justin Rubinstein’s lecture, “Yes, Humans Really Are Causing Earthquakes,” is set for 7 p.m. at USGS, Building 3, Rambo Auditorium, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park. Free; online.wr.usgs.gov/calendar.More
1499 Valencia St., 415-416-6136
While many restaurants seemingly do their part to hasten your death with inappropriately gargantuan portions of meat and hardly any vegetables, the new AL’s Place in the Mission offers a simple concept that might just extend your life expectancy.
Mollena Williams' first monologue, 69 Stories, started three years ago as a sort of pervert's confessional: Theater mixed with post-show Q&A about sadomasochism and your more elaborate electrico-sexual tools. It told a charming but rambling story that ranged from her childhood acting gig in an Orbit gum commercial to a revelatory affair with a guitarist in Van Morrison's band. Williams has revived and improved the script -- tightened this, elaborated that -- and added a prequel, No Good Deed, about a job as a Wells Fargo phone-bank operator. Both shows play in repertory at the Exit on Taylor, but the hour-long No Good Deed feels more like a curtain-raiser. It's a funny, horrible (and probably true) story about the vagaries of sexual harassment in a stifling corporate office. The material could fuel a three-act play, but Williams chooses to make some jokes about uptight women, idiotic corporate rules, and the rural isolation of Concord, Calif., and sign off. She does step into costume as a stiff human-resources manager and an excitable skinny blonde in a baseball cap, which is an evolution from 69 Stories, in which she tends to play herself. (Williams is large, black, and not at all stiff, so the transformations are hilarious.) In fact, both shows are great fun, as far as they go, but No Good Deed needs more substance to stand on its own.