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
If you visited last year’s excellent group exhibition “State of Mind” at the Berkeley Art Museum, you might have been treated to The Sound of Ice Melting. A re-creation of a 1970 conceptual piece by Paul Kos, the artwork consisted of a 25-pound block of ice that was allowed to dissolve at its own pace in the downstairs gallery, surrounded by mics to pick up any sound it might emit. At once humorous and sublime, Kos’ piece has served as a touchpoint for artist/musician Collin McKelvey, whose new 7” record, Canti for Paul Kos, is the “nineteen” at the release party Fifteensixteenseventeeneighteennineteen. Local art and music imprint Land and Sea, run by husband-and-wife team Chris Duncan and Maria Otero, celebrates its five most recent publications, which also include flipbooks by Greg Stimac and Reuben Lorch-Miller, a book by Pavle Levi, and an edition by Duncan himself called WORDS. Duncan’s book uses text as raw material to create intense visual patterns, and for this event trumpeter Jacob Wick further interprets Duncan’s words as musical notes in a free-wheeling performance. Getting back to that melting ice, curator Aaron Harbour whips up unique drinks for attendees to pair with McKelvey’s record, served in ice cube cups. Harbour calls this particular gig “the taste of ice melting.”
Sat., Jan. 12, 7 p.m., 2013