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
20 Yerba Buena Lane, 415-744-5000
San Francisco is the gateway to California wine country and for those who can’t seem to find a designated driver to schlep them up for a round of tastings, the luxurious Press Club converts a day trip to Napa or Sonoma into an evening of liquid bliss.
Yukio Mishimas bizarre, committed death by seppuku, as the capstone of his misjudged Nov. 25, 1970, coup attempt still overshadows his legacy to some degree, at least outside Japan. Nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in literature, he wrote a truly breathtaking number of novels, essays, poems, and plays in his 45 years. The compact yet inclusive three-film Mishima Retrospective pays tribute to his iconic status as a writer, actor, and subject. A Mishima short story is the basis for Ken, Kenji Misumis stark 1964 drama about the captain of a university kendo club whose impeccable discipline and unwavering idealism are out of step with the changing times. In the stylish Afraid to Die (1960), Mishima plays a young gangster who returns to the life after a stint in prison. Paul Schraders beautiful and haunting Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) is the best-known film of the three, yet still criminally underrated. The impulse to mark the round-number anniversary of a larger-than-life figures death Mishimas 40th, John Lennons 30th is commendable but has the unwelcome side effect of spotlighting the sensationalistic aspects of the persons demise along with their brilliant contribution. Mishima deserves better.
Nov. 26-30, 2010