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
Cara Barer documents how things evolve namely, the things that she helps evolve. Barer the sculptor takes objects in this case, books and turns them into art. Barer the photographer shoots the sculptures and turns them into more art. Her shots, part of the two-person exhibition "Cara Barer and Emilio Lobato," bear a certain resemblance to the works of Anselm Kiefer, who created great, heavy sculptures of books, pages, and files from lead. The names of some her pieces speak to what they now resemble: "Blue Eye," "Sea Nettle," "Cocoon." This micro-evolution points to the macro: Barer intends to raise questions about the changing way we get our information -- less from books, and more from computers and online networks. She says a "chance meeting" with a discarded phone book -- among the first victims of the Internet age -- was the primary inspiration for the project. Soon she found other books that were no longer of use, such as a Windows 95 manual. "After soaking it in the bathtub for a few hours, it had a new shape and purpose," she says. The organic images of Barer's work are complemented by the geometric forms of Lobato's. The paintings of Lobato, who comes from a family of weavers, mimic Hispanic and Native American textiles. The lines in his paintings are intended to represent the passage of time, a more figurative take on Barer's literal tracking of transformation.
Nov. 17-24; Nov. 29-Dec. 22, 2010