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
During the 2003 gubernatorial contest, out-of-state media turned Nao Bustamante sister of Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante into a derisive footnote. Taken out of context, how were people in Orlando, Florida, supposed to interpret a performance artist in San Francisco who straps on a burrito-dildo for men to eat on their knees? Orlando is home to Disney World and characters like Mickey Mouse. San Francisco is home to the Lab and characters like Nao Bustamante. For a quarter-century, the Mission arts organization has pushed the edges of nearly every artistic medium, championing courageous experimentation regardless of reputation. PastForward: The 25th Anniversary Performance Series brings together some of its most beloved perpetrators for three weeks of events. Tonights show features Miya Masaoka, founder of the San Francisco Gagaku Society. Masaoka first began combining traditional koto with MIDI controllers in the 1980s. Her work has led her into even more unexpected terrain: At the Lab, she has performed live with Madagascar hissing cockroaches and more than 3,000 honeybees. She has also strapped naked men with EKG and EEG sensors and integrated the sounds of their insides into aural landscapes, and turned philodendrons into musicians. Tomorrow, Bustamante turns her own body into a backdrop for 1940s Dominican starlet Maria Montez, known for her exotic looks and bejeweled costumes. In her piece Silver and Gold, Bustamante offers an exotic jewel of her own.
July 9-18, 8 p.m., 2009