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
Daniel Gross' preface to Rebel Voices – PM Press's newly reprinted treasury of stories, testimonials, songs, and jeremiads from the heyday of the Industrial Workers of the World – was penned recently enough to celebrate the labor-led seizure of the Wisconsin capital but just long enough ago that there's not a word in it about the Occupy movement. The contrast is fascinating: The Wobblies dared direct action to enact clearly defined changes in the lives of a membership rather than undefined changes for the benefit of all society. That all society itself benefited from those specific changes is a point made again and again in Rebel Voices. Its other highlights include theater (a description of a powerful funeral “pageant” at mills in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1913), satire (Chazzdor's scathing 1957 fiction “Parable of the Water Pump”), and the rabble-rousing of Ralph Winsetad's “Chin-Whiskers, Hay-Wire, and Pitchforks,” which concerned the radicalization of lumberjacks. Gross will undoubtedly address Occupy tonight, when he discusses Rebel Voices at Green Arcade, but Wisconsin – or the port shutdown - might be the stronger parallel than the camps: A reminder that the collective action most likely to win the hearts of the public is that in response to specific, conquerable injustices.
Mon., Jan. 16, 7 p.m., 2012