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
Marilyn Pittman came from what she considered a normal Midwestern family. Her parents had been married 50 years. Her dad was a World War II veteran, and her mom was a poet who’d edited her college yearbook. Pittman had become an educator at UC Berkeley, an NPR talent consultant, and a stand-up comic. Then, in 1997, everything she thought she knew about her family –- and, by extension, herself -– was shattered in 1997 by the murder-suicide of her mom and dad. It’s All the Rage is the one-woman show where Pittman recounts her reaction to her parents’ death and where her questions led her. With the help of her mother’s journals and her father’s letters, she was able to understand how a once-loving relationship gradually deteriorated into patterns of hate and fear. She also discovered that her father’s time in combat had a lot to do with his violent end. Pittman found parallels in veterans returning from today’s wars in the Middle East, in the patters of domestic violence that often involve firearms. Pervasive violence was the common link between her family’s tragedy, the tragedies suffered by others, and war in general.
May 12-13; Thu., May 17; Sat., May 19; May 26-27, 2012