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
Have you ever seen a car so sexy that you wanted to run your hands all over it, maybe even stretch out luxuriously on the hood? The Jaguars, Corvettes, and even the Edsel in Cheryl Kelley’s series “Detailed” are those kinds of cars. These objects are impressive enough, but when you consider that you are admiring not elegantly composed photos but oil paintings, they are even more breathtaking. Along with pinup and boudoir photography, the dominion of male artists over car art is being left in the dust. While Robert Bechtle paints photorealistic automobiles in their natural, middle-class habitats, Kelley takes them out of context, removing their utilitarian role and elevating them to works of art, freeing her to infuse them with hyperrealistic detail. She works from photographs taken at car shows and museums. Rather than filter out the surroundings reflected in the windows and slick paint jobs, she embraces it, reproducing the mirror images of vehicles beside them as well as steel beams overhead and sometimes bystanders. Rather than distracting, the result accentuates curves and aerodynamic lines while immersing the viewer in the scene. “Detailed” promises to be one bitchin’ ride for tonight’s First Thursday art crawl.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: June 7. Continues through June 30, 2012