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
Although the Alcatraz website claims that the flora and fauna of Alcatraz Island are the allure of the historic land mass jutting out of San Francisco Bay, there's a feeling they don't allude to for fear of losing customers: isolation.
Remember the boys in your class with Pee Chee folders who used to draw their foes getting mutilated? Italy’s "Little Duck" (a.k.a. Laurina Paperina) taps into that childhood impulse, imbuing it with color, movement, and, occasionally, deeper sociological commentary. Paperina started with superheroes. Behind the wheel of the Pape-mobile, a modified three-wheeler with wings and a siren, she drove down pompous, bloated, aging superheroes like Thor, then had black widows erupt from Spider-Man’s head, and made Pac-Man devour all the Ninja Turtles. When Paperina turned her attention to current events, she drew Pope Benedict XVI as a ghoul and rendered the plague as a cute little supergirl named Bubo riding a pet pig affectionately called Sausage. It was charming and playful, if deliberately puerile. But when she tackled the art world itself, the Little Duck became a virtual swan. Through stills and animation, Pablo Picasso, Damien Hirst, Marina Abramovic, Takashi Murakami, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and, oddly, skateboarder/artist Ed Templeton have been devoured, dismembered, and defeated by their own creations. (In our personal favorite, Joseph Kosuth is beaten by a chair.) Paperina claims to kill off only her heroes, but in recent years she’s targeted dealers. While not for everyone, Paperina’s current show “Bad Smell” promises hilarious lessons in art history from Basquiat to Barry McGee, as well as some prancing through pop culture.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Sept. 11. Continues through Oct. 27, 2012