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
We think like a photojournalist (natch): Shoot absolutely everything interesting, from every angle and setting, and from the bigger set you’re sure to get a handful of good shots and one that just nails it, the image that wows people and could speak for the whole shoot. Now imagine this on a grand scale — say, 500 photographers from around the world submitting work to a group of professionals. From those, the top 50 photographers are chosen, and from each a single representative image. Say hello to “Contents: Love, Anxiety, Happiness, and Everything Else.” Among the shots is Sarah Hobbs’ Untitled (perfectionist), which speaks to anyone who’s ever experienced a creative block. A small wooden desk and chair sit in a day-lit room with a hardwood floor and sea-foam green walls. Engulfing the desk — which contains a tall stack of paper and abandoned pen — is a sea of what looks like giant popcorn but is crumpled paper, scaling the walls and obscuring half the window. In stark contrast is Colette Campbell-Jones’ “Left” In, an eerie, high-contrast black-and-white shot that feels like the opening of an Edgar Allan Poe story. A streetlight silently screams in a nighttime setting that includes smokestacks, a barren tree, a shiny wet road, and six people huddled in a covered bus stop. Adding to the bizarre atmosphere, a person approaches, pushing a stroller. Other subjects in the show include explosions, freckled people, prostitutes and children in Brazil, and a senior prom at a school for the blind. The exhibit comes from a program called Critical Mass put on by the nonprofit group Photolucida. Other stops for the exhibit include Seattle and Portland, Ore.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m. Starts: May 10. Continues through June 15, 2012