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
Jeff and Beth Easterling's empty boat, the Barcarolle. This was, apparently, the couple's maiden voyage 'out the Gate.''
Jeff and Beth Easterling were experienced sailors. Their ship, the Barcarolle, was a good boat. But they had apparently never before experienced the conditions "out the Gate" near the Cliff House. They died there on Sunday.
"Yeah, they'd been on the water. They owned two different boats.But I don't think they'd ever been at sea," said Mike Tryon the commodore of Richmond's Marina Bay Yacht Club, which the Easterlings joined in 2009. "They had expressed to me how they wanted to go out the Gate" -- out of the bay and into the open ocean -- "But were a little concerned with doing that."
During windy, choppy conditions on Sunday, the Easterlings somehow became separated from their battered boat. Their bodies washed up near Ocean Beach, while the vessel beached itself near Eagle Point. The National Park Service is investigating the Barcarolle for clues, but it is not yet known why the experienced sailors jumped or fell overboard. "They seemed good at what they were doing," said Tryon. "But , you know, the ocean is like that. You can't take anything for granted, ever."
Beth Easterling's daughter, Gina Ortolan, told the Contra Costa Times this was the couple's "test run in the ocean," prior to a planned jaunt to Cabo San Lucas following Beth's retirmement next year. Beth, 50, was a software engineer at Oracle; Jeff, 59, was a retired BART mechanic.
The Coast Guard would neither confirm nor deny if the Easterlings were wearing life jackets. But Tryon said it was inconceivable they weren't. "I can't imagine them ever doing something like that," he said.
"Anybody going out the Gate who doesn't have a lifejacket on -- that's silly," added another member of the Marina Bay Yacht Club, who declined to be quoted by name.
Reached at the Easterlings' home in El Sobrante, a friend -- who declined to be identified -- told SF Weekly that the couple was married five years ago and leaves behind four grown children (those children and others could be heard grieving in the background). Jeff, she said, had been sailing for 30 years.
"They were well-loved and very happy," said the friend.
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.