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
When you have a child, your perceptions change. Shit, for one, is no longer so disgusting. It can even be cute, not to mention a huge relief, if baby delivers a tight, well-formed little package that sits up in the diaper like a present to daddy. Also throw-up: In babyland its called spit-up, and its hardly horrifying. Its perfectly fine to let a batch dry on your neck or hair. What also changes is your propensity to enjoy a baby story, especially ones that include table service, like the Afterbirth storytelling events. Begun by Dani Klein Modisett five years ago, Afterbirth regularly stocks the lineup with famous people (comedy writers and producers figure prominently), and shes taken the show on the road to celebrate the release of her book, Afterbirth: Stories You Won't Read in a Parenting Magazine. Composed of 35 essays, the overall sentiment is nicely unsentimental -- Neil Pollack riffs on daddy rage, and Matthew Weiner offers this fine line: And when you humiliate another child to make yours feel better, thats good parenting. Tonights storytelling show, however, is fit for more than those working on a lineage. The sharp lineup is ruled by television producers -- Lew Schneider (Everybody Loves Raymond), Cindy Chupack (Sex and The City), Dan Bucatinsky (Lipstick Jungle), and Joan Rater (Grey's Anatomy) -- along with writers Christie Mellor and Ayelet Waldman, the latter of which caused a ruckus a while back by declaring that she loved Michael Chabon more than her children.
Mon., June 1, 8 p.m., 2009