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
Hip-hop dance has always been about the beat. It's 1 and 2 and 3 and 4; you're up on the and, and down on the 1, or down on the and, and up on the 1; you pop to the clap or hit on the 2, and you toprock to the kick and the snare — it's been like that since Kool Herc noticed the kids went crazy during the breakdown section of "Get on the Good Foot," and started buying two copies of each record to extend the "break." But what happens if you switch up the music? Clas/sick Hip Hop aims to find out. The show brings virtuoso violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain together with hip-hop dance pioneers Rennie Harris and b-girl Rockafella, turfing experts and Oakland natives Levi Allen and Ladia Yates, and Marquese Scott, among others, for the ultimate visual mash-up. The dancers kick it old-school first, doing their own routines to their own music — but after intermission they come back out and freestyle to Roumain's live violin playing. Violins and street dance might not sound like a natural pairing, but Roumain was recently hailed as the "new face of classical music," by Esquire magazine, so we're guessing he has a few tricks up his sleeve, and beats under his strings. Or as the kids might say, "This is gonna be sick!"
Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 8 p.m., 2012