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
160 Beacon St., South San Francisco, 650-741-0215, k1speed.com
You might not be parachuting these karts out of airplanes onto treacherous mountaintop highways, but it sure is fun to pretend you’re on a high-speed heist when whipping through hairpin turns at the indoor track at K1 Speed.
Some albums grow on you with repeated spins. This second full-length from San Diego's Peppermints probably isn't one of them. On first listen, Jesüs Chryst evokes being at some warehouse space 15 years ago, watching a riotous mixed-gender cacophony squad blare noisily and anarchically. The Peppermints serve up that same sort of rough 'n' tumble chaos-rock so de rigueur of the '80s/'90s underground; the 18 short tracks on this disc sound like a sloppy purée of very early Sonic Youth, the Birthday Party, Babes in Toyland, and gobs of spazz-punk/no-wave lesser-knowns. Versed as they are in catchy rudimentary riffs topped by annoying vocal shrieks, the Peppermints do have a certain unruly bacchanalian charm, and it seems the band's trying to be abrasive, so perhaps this record could be considered successful in that regard. Live, the three gals and one guy reportedly put on a messy, outrageous debacle, so see them first, then check out Jesüs if you dare.