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
Alvarius B is the solo pseudonym of Alan Bishop from the Sun City Girls, a band with one massive, sprawling discography. Bishop also co-runs the prolific world-music label Sublime Frequencies. Amidst all this, he still found time to create one of the more engaging and weirdly accessible projects in the SCG-related pantheon. The third Alvarius B full-length and the first in seven years, Blood Operatives is filled with well-written, sneeringly sinister psychedelic folk songs. The first track, "Evil Next to Blue," sets the tone, with Bishop's no-punches-pulled nasty narrative sounding a bit like Nick Cave crossed with T. Rex. Songs "Mr. 786," "Slim 293," and "The Demon 360" showcase the album's thematic focus on anonymous characters that populate our planet's "parallel communities" -- based no doubt on shady souls Bishop has met during his travels -- and some tunes smack of Bob Dylan's quasicryptic lyricism and the over-saturated production intimacy of Guided by Voices. Plus, the album features three well-chosen covers: a song from Andy Warhol's Blood for Dracula, an Ennio Morricone composition entitled "Dirty Angels," and the traditional "Shenandoah." Blood Operatives is only available on vinyl, so you'd best dust off that turntable; I seriously doubt it'll show up on iTunes.