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
Although the Alcatraz website claims that the flora and fauna of Alcatraz Island are the allure of the historic land mass jutting out of San Francisco Bay, there's a feeling they don't allude to for fear of losing customers: isolation.
Promo copy for performances of butoh, the ever-evolving, highly experimental Japanese dance form, can be notoriously vague. The human body, like a flower, sprouts to maximum splendor, to then decay into serene melancholy, leaving a purple trace, the sky at dawn or the beginning of dusk. So reads the summary for Butoh Dance: The Trace of Purple Sadness, a movement installation by New York butoh celebrities Shige Moriya and Ximena Garnica. But if admirers of the alternately strange and lovely body-based genre are left short on details for this rare S.F. appearance, Moriya and Garnicas reputations should bring them out. Curators of the New York Butoh Festival and founders of CAVE, Brooklyns longest running experimental art space, they are known internationally for their absorbing installations fusing video, dance, and improvised music. The Japanese-born Moriya is said to be a master at manipulating projected patterns of color, light, and landscape imagery. At 27, Garnica, originally from Colombia, has already nabbed the prestigious Van Lier Fellowship for young Hispanic directors working in the Big Apple. With credentials like these, the pair is bound to leave a lasting impression, decaying flowers or no.
Thu., Jan. 15, 7 p.m., 2009