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
"Arroyo" means "stream" in Spanish, and the mural on El Arroyo Laundry's outside wall, by Ernesto Paul, depicts a mountainous stream in Latin America where women are washing clothing amid reeds, rocks, and waters that are the epitome of idyllic.
"Right now people in the Capitol are laughing off the idea of taxing and regulating marijuana. This will show them there's some serious voter support on the issue. We've been saying all along [lawmakers] have been behind the electorate," says Aaron Smith, the Marijuana Policy Project's California policy director.
Actually, one lawmaker could consider lighting up a victory cigar: Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced a bill that would legalize -- and tax the hell out of -- pot back in February. AB 390 is currently in legislative suspended animation and won't be discussed again until early next year at the soonest. But Smith is hoping Ammiano has a few more buddies when the bill comes up again as a result of Thursday's poll results.
"Hopefully, Tom gets some co-sponsors," Smith says. "Marijuana needs to be taxed and controlled and not in the hands of criminals."
Other interesting snippets from the Field Poll -- which bills itself as "the independent and non-partisan survey of the public opinion established in 1947 ... by Mervin Field" and is today carried on by San Francisco's Field Research Corporation:
A full 80 percent of Californians favor "creating a special tax on the sale of pornography";
Increasing state alcohol taxes appealed to 74 percent of those polled -- down from 79 percent in 2005 and 86 percent in 1983 (hey, it's a recession and people want their drinks!);
Just over half of the respondents -- 51 percent -- are in favor of imposing sales taxes on Internet users who buy from out-of-state sellers (which sounds way more complicated than taxing pot);
Only 27 percent of the populi want to increase gasoline taxes, a 10 percent drop from 1995.
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.
"Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015.
He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.