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
Everybody knows how to attend a wine tasting: You stand there, sip, murmur thoughtfully, sip, nod expansively, sip, agree with whatever the hell people seem to be saying, swipe a bottle, and get the hell out. A whisky tasting is different, because the whisky industry, unlike the wine industry, hasn't tried to bury the drinker under a barrage of bottles, vintages, blends, varieties, notes, aromas, and wine snobs and criminals, all of which cause the average drinker to feel there is a conspiracy of grapes going on, which there is. Suck it, Wine Spectator! A Single-Malt Scotch Whisky Tasting with Mark Stewart Cassidy is very different. It concerns itself with just one thing, single malt, which is headquartered in one place, Scotland. It's easy to wrap your head around, even after whisky. Cassidy, an old hand at dispensing whisky, brings along his favorite bottles, runs down the whisky regions Speyside, Highland, Campbeltown, Islay, Islands, and Lowland then starts sliding the glasses across the table. And because it's San Francisco, one of them will be organic.
Thu., Sept. 2, 6 p.m., 2010