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
3449 19th St.
If you only see one Giants mural in your lifetime, this is the one — a towering spectacle on the upper reaches of a PG&E substation that was painted by Mission District artists associated with Precita Eyes Muralists.
Tom Waits introduced Paradise, Calif.-based Danny Cohen to the Anti- label, and there's no denying the similarities between the two artists. But Cohen is no Waits wannabe; if anything, the veteran songwriters both drink from the same inspirational trough. On Gunna Die, Cohen evokes Waits, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and Bob Dylan with gravelly tales that ooze tragic beauty and seedy film noir. The album's central theme is death in all its forms (two band members were reportedly battling cancer during the recordings, with violinist Jimmy Borsdorf succumbing in January). But the minor-key melancholy of these 16 songs isn't nearly the downer you'd expect. Instead, a darkly droll, bittersweet appreciation of life in all its pleasure and pain unspools. Cohen's narrative is filled with observational gems, from the out-of-body experiences of "As I Look Down" to ill-fated "Cousin Guy" working at Disneyland, living on a kibbutz, and losing his mind, among other things. And there's no shortage of eccentric non sequiturs like "iridescent rectums that resemble marine life." At least that's what I think he said. Your results may vary.