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
As holiday traditions go, getting tipsy on red wine and slurring the words to The Golden Girls theme song with a roomful of strangers in a darkened theater beats watching the Peanuts special again. The ingenious stage show, The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes, brings to life two full episodes of everyones favorite sitcom about women of a certain age getting it on and eating cheesecake in their pastel-hued retirement abode. The coup de grâce here is that the libidinous Floridians are played by drag queens: Performers Heklina, Cookie Dough, Matthew Martin, and Pollo Del Mar don short frosted wigs and a bevy of mind-bending sweaters to portray the Girls. The show is equal parts parody and homage, paying tribute to the sharp-witted back-and-forth that defined the show and highlighting the parts that were truly bizarre. Sophias relentless criticism of daughter Dorothy is both hilarious and gut-churning; Blanches already cartoonish Southern sexuality is even more so when accompanied by stagey winks and hip swivels. Finally, the Golden Girls have thrown a party and invited everyone they knew.
Sat., Dec. 26, 5, 7 & 9 p.m., 2009