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
Imagine going to a play and finding yourself wearing headphones, sitting in a "power circle" of 15-20 people, and readying yourself for a "soul journey." Sounds a wee creepy, to be sure. Fortunately, the Dodeska Performance Ensemble knows the risks of forced interaction - thats kinda the point. Promising "a fun but unsettling experience" at The Group, the troupe satirizes the empty platitudes and commercial sleaze of self-help seminars with one of its own, an Enacted Self-Empowerment Workshop. Wearing headphones, the audience is led by a charismatic Group Leader, who is not the peach he seems, while music by composer Alex Duffy sets the mood. Audiences are simultaneously attracted and repelled, snug in their audio bubbles yet forced to share the experience with others, often via direct eye contact. If it sounds experimental, it's not: Dodeska has been disarming audiences with unique mixes of theater, sound art, and technology since its founding in 2003 by Robert Quillen Camp. It's also had fun with locations. Former pieces have been set in an old factory in Brooklyn, a luxury apartment in Chicago, and a SoHo loft populated by giant bird puppets. As for the this workshop's Group Leader, he's played by Ryan Eggensperger, an actor who's been compared to John Leguizamo and Eric Bogosian, a persuasive pair who know how to sell a role. If that's at all accurate, expect to be buying whatever he's selling.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 & 10:30 p.m. Starts: May 29. Continues through June 14, 2008