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
Gina Yashere was working as an elevator engineer in London when she decided to take a summer off to do things she had always wanted to do. That included trying comedy. Yashere said she was naturally funny growing up, and many people, including teachers, told her she should be an actor or comedian. So Yashere performed at an open mic night. She got a great response, including people who asked her to come perform at their shows. She thought she’d ride the wave for as long as she could before going back to fixing and building elevators. That was 15 years ago. Yashere came to America in 2007 to appear on Last Comic Standing, where she was one of the 10 finalists. She has also been on The Jay Leno Show as the Surly Psychic, The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, and she was the first British person on Def Comedy Jam. She made a DVD in England, Skinny Bitch. Now she’s taping another in San Francisco, Laughing to America, a take on Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America. She’s funding it through a Kickstarter campaign, which allows her to have it look the way she wants, with the jokes she wants in it. Those jokes include ones about her being an outsider in America, growing up in England with Nigerian parents, and the difference between politics in England and America. And maybe a few about elevators.
Sat., Sept. 22, 8 p.m., 2012