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.
Most writers hate their juvenilia: Adrian Tomine spends nearly the whole introduction of 32 Stories, a rerelease of his collected early work, slamming it. He uses the words amateurish, scattershot, affected, and deeply derivative. The title he picked kills him, because he put himself in the company of J.D. Salinger (Nine Stories) and Donald Barthelme (Forty and Sixty Stories). So, why is he putting it all out there again? Because he has a smart, persuasive publisher, Chris Oliveros of Drawn & Quarterly, and both of them had a great idea: Release the seven issues of Optic Nerve, which Tomine started self-publishing during high school in Sacramento, in the original Kinkod, pamphleted form, then ship them out in a box. Its like opening a time capsule from the early '90s, when Pavement ruled and everyone was tired. The copies, going from raw and dark to slick and clean as Tomine's stature rose, are faithful to the original works, right down to the letters, notes, ads, and Berkeley mailing address (which you should not use; God knows who owns it now). Today, at In Conversation: Adrian Tomine and Seth, he trades stories and pictures with a fellow now-aboveground hero (and fellow New Yorker illustrator) Gregory Gallant, to celebrate the release of five books between them.
Thu., June 18, 7:30 p.m., 2009