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.
Since 2006, Silicon Valley’s ZERO1 Biennial has offered guided tours of the Möbius strip running through art and technology. During the last festival this took the form of a zip line strung over a man-made marsh, a drive-in theater built out of salvaged cars, and a multimedia banquet based on 17th century Dutch still-life paintings, as well as 100 avant-garde artists, from Mexico’s LARP detractor Brody Condon to the UK collective Blast Theory. The Sound of Science offers a mind-bending pairing between the Exploratorium’s Swiss artist-in-residence, Pe Lang, and SETI’s first artist-in-residence, Charles Lindsay. Currently working on a kinetic sculpture for Pier 15, Lang is fixated by the voice of mechanical phenomena. Tonight, Lang performs “cl_loop” using a handmade electromagnet and sensor to channel the different tones emitted by magnets as they meet assorted materials. While trained as an exploration geologist, Lindsay received his Guggenheim Fellowship for photojournalism. As an artist he builds sculptures out of salvaged scientific equipment and performances out of appropriated recordings and video. Tonight, he offers a meditation on the emotional impact of experience mediated by technology, and a multimedia rumination on beyond-the-point-of-return space exploration.
Tue., Sept. 18, 7 p.m., 2012