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 the risk of bringing hellfire on ourselves by not acknowledging the Bloody Mary at a different Mission punk bar (starts with Z, kicks you out a lot), we must recognize excellence when the situation demands it.
We love all manner of film geek, from the guy who always finds a way to say Truffaut in public to the woman who haunts the night in front of flickering silent films. A new subset, however, is close to our short-attention-span hearts: the trailer geek. Joe Dante is a supreme example: After directing such gems as Gremlins and The Howling, he helped found www.trailersfromhell.com. The site showcases trailers, mostly the genre-weird but also the Hollywood-classic, and feature commentary from a wide and very impressive list of industry people, from leading horror directors and producers to effects people. Theres love all around in there except for the trailers of today, especially the made-by-committee big-budget abominations that are primarily of interest to explosions experts. Tonight, his site presents Trailers from Hell Halloween Screening and Costume Party, a night of choice cuts hosted by the astute Mick Garris, director of Stephen Kings TV miniseries The Stand and The Shining, creator of the Showtime series Masters of Horror, and all-around well-connected genre-film geek a few years back he hosted the infamous masters of horror dinners attended by A-listers Dario Argento, Eli Roth, David Cronenberg, and Guillermo Del Toro, among others. Pay close attention to your costumes, because the film geeks certainly will.
Mon., Oct. 26, 7 & 9 p.m., 2009