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
The '70s were all about big hair. TV star Farrah Fawcett's golden shag shone from thousands of suburban bedroom walls, while movie star Burt Reynolds showed off his hirsute bod in a nasty come-hither pose in the center of Playgirl. Reynolds, at least, survived his narcissistic pop-culture lowlight to eventually reclaim a measure of respect as an actor in Boogie Nights. But Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, the mischievous maestro of the almost-monthly "Midnite for Maniacs" marathon, won't let the hairy one forget his cheesy heyday. "Three Moustache Rides with Burt Reynolds" opens with the infamous yet little-seen 1975 musical bomb At Long Last Love. Director Peter Bogdanovich and all-American hottie Cybill Shepherd were Hollywood's No. 1 power/glamour couple; that is, until audiences got a load of her and Reynolds warbling Cole Porter songs in a crazily ambitious attempt to make a 1930s-style musical for the Watergate-gone-disco generation. At Long Last Love has never been available on any home-video format, so here's your chance to judge whether it was unjustly maligned on its initial release, a la Ishtar and Heaven's Gate. The bill also includes Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), but no disposable razor.
Fri., Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m., 2007