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
Soul and extreme technicality are rare companions in the art world, perhaps because the brain and the gut speak fundamentally different languages. There exist some rare artists, however, who are fluent in both. By most counts, jazz pianist Jason Moran and choreographer Alonzo King are among them. Voted Rising Star Composer three times in a row by the hallowed DownBeat Magazine, Moran draws inspiration from moody master Thelonious Monk, even if his style is an entity all its own. Kings LINES Ballet is known around the globe for dancing as visceral as it is virtuosic.
Moran reports having had a breakthrough experience watching a LINES performance, after which he approached King about collaborating. An eager partner with visionaries outside the classical ballet field, King went for the idea, and Moran set about creating his first-ever ballet score. The resulting premiere shares the bill at Alonzo King LINES Ballet Fall Home Season with a return of 2005s Moroccan Project, created in conjunction with three celebrated Moroccan composers. That score blends the blood-charging drum rhythms of traditional Gnawa ceremonies with floating strains of oud and violin, and is performed live at all performances by Moroccan ensemble El Hamideen. Moran, on the other hand, accompanies the dancers on opening weekend only, making the rare chance to catch this pairing of world-class artists even rarer.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 23. Continues through Nov. 1, 2009