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
At "Moore Love for the Holidays," it's diva city. Not difficult diva, or late diva, or disaster diva, just a couple of massively talented ladies. Between them, Darlene Love and Melba Moore have many chart-topping rock and R&B hits, stage triumphs, and screen credits, and of course Love is responsible for one of the coolest holiday songs ever, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." Among all those accomplishments, though, one of Love's songs seems to tower over the others: "He's a Rebel" was recorded by Phil Spector under the name of another group, the Crystals, but it was really Love. (That's how Spector rolled back in the day, the jerk.) And that song, with its bouncing staccato proclamation of love for a misunderstood outsider, has a hold on pretty much anyone who's ever heard it. Ask people what their favorite girl-group song is, and more often than not the answer's going to be "He's a Rebel." We don't recommend actually asking that question too often, because it causes people to start singing. "He's not a rebel, no no no, he's not a rebel no no no, to meeeeee " Instead, visit diva city.
Wed., Dec. 31, 7:30 & 10:30 p.m., 2008