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
1499 Valencia St., 415-416-6136
While many restaurants seemingly do their part to hasten your death with inappropriately gargantuan portions of meat and hardly any vegetables, the new AL’s Place in the Mission offers a simple concept that might just extend your life expectancy.
Woman's Will, the Shakespeare company that brought you all-female versions of Hamlet and Pericles, Prince of Tyre, has shifted to Oscar Wilde long enough to do a strictly female Importance. Wilde might have liked it. His comedy about "Bunburying" -- leading a double life in London society -- works devilishly well with women in the roles of the two male (bisexual) bachelors. Not that Erin Merritt, as Algernon, or Carla Pantoja, as Jack Worthing, play them well: They're both too stiff and faux-snobbish, and so is Rosemary Maciel as the butler. But the idea is good. Phoebe Moyer plays a stupendous Lady Bracknell -- icy, birdlike, in a consistently high Victorian dudgeon -- and Laura Hope is also note-perfect as Gwendolyn Fairfax, Algie's correct but worldly niece. The show as a whole has the amiable energy of a group of people enjoying themselves, and it's set, for good measure, in a variety of Victorian-era mansions around the Bay Area. (I saw it at the Pardee Home in Oakland.) Intermission features cucumber sandwiches, cream puffs, and good black tea, which Wilde would have appreciated.