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
The eternal challenge of Christmas shopping is two-fold. First is the challenge of the malls: Can we avoid them? Second is the challenge of our imagination: Can we find a way to use it? The Deco the Halls 20th Century Design Show answers “Yes” to those concerns. Regarding the first challenge, the event takes place at the Concourse Exhibition Center, which is nothing like a mall. It is much more like a giant Canadian Northwoods lodge repurposed for gatherings of like-minded people to engage in low-intensity shopping. At the center, one readily imagines giant hearths ablaze at each end of the warm, wood-framed facility. Regarding our second challenge, the show guarantees that your imagination runs wild, with more than 200 exhibitors covering most every major design movement from 1900-1999. There's Art Nouveau, Mid-Century Modern, Arts & Crafts, and of course Art Deco. You're not bound by corporate America’s very narrow idea of what makes “the perfect gift” -- neckties and barbecue tools for men, slippers and lavishly illustrated cookbooks for women, and stuffed bunnies and toy weapons for the children. Instead, this event encourages individual expression through a century’s worth of items and objects -- books, prints, clothing, jewelry, fine art, furniture, pottery, glass, and accessories. And buying vintage anything is as “green” as you can get -- recycled excellence without the expense or energy consumption of recycling.
Nov. 3-Dec. 4, 2011