Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Thu 9/15

Image - Peace Corps program

Let It Begin Here: Peace Corps and Problem-Solving at the Last Mile

Date: Thu, September 15, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Swords into ploughshares

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Director , U.S. Peace Corps
Karl W. Eikenberry, Ambassador; William J. Perry Fellow in International Security, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University
Lie Njie, CEO, Kismet Worldwide Consulting; President, NorCal Peace Corps Association—Moderator

With contrasting backgrounds of peace and war, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry will engage the audience in a dynamic, informational conversation on the power of relationships in international development.

Hessler-Radelet has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Samoa, executive director to the Special Olympics in The Gambia, and HIV/AIDS advisor in Indonesia, prior to her employment as vice president and director of the Washington, D.C., office for John Snow, Inc. Ambassador Eikenberry is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general who had commanded and held staff positions in airborne, ranger and mechanized infantry units in the United States, Korea and Europe, before serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan, and his appointment as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

Learn from these two leaders how to make swords into plowshares.

Image - Information Age

True or False? A Field Guide to Lies in the Information Age

Date: Thu, September 15, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Daniel J. Levitin, Ph.D., Author, A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age; Dean of Arts and Humanities, Minerva Schools at KGI.

“All I know is what’s on the Internet”
—Donald Trump to “Meet the Press” as justification for his invalid claim that a protester at a recent Trump campaign event was associated with ISIS

From 24-hour news coverage of the 2016 election to Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds, we’re all on information overload. Distortions, errors, lies, misinformation—how do we decide what to believe and act on? Award-winning neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Daniel J. Levitin offers strategies and tools to decipher the flood of (mis)information in his newest book A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age.

Join INFORUM to learn how to navigate the web of lies, determine just how valid your politically vocal friends are on Facebook, and find out if the creators of all those pretty pie charts and graphs are “lying weasels,” in the words of Dr. Levitin—just for starters.

INFORUM is pleased to partner with Minerva Schools, a new undergraduate institution where Dr. Levitin is currently the dean of social sciences. Students from Minerva will be leading interactive components during and after the talk, so come prepared to get involved!

Fri 9/16

Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God

Date: Fri, September 16, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Remembering a time and place of interreligious amity

Steven Nightingale, Author, Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God
Jonathan Curiel, Journalist; Author—Moderator

Nightengale will share insights from his beautifully written book Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God, which describes his family's adventurous, rewarding move to an ancient neighborhood in Granada with its charming lifestyle, beautiful gardens and fascinating history so greatly influenced by Muslim and Jewish immigrants. He will also trace Granada's remarkable past when Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together, in relative harmony during a truly impressive time of important scientific, artistic, poetic and mathematical achievements, until religious fundamentalism and power hunger ended that marvelous period.

Image - Steve Forbes

Steve Forbes: Where Are the Country and Economy Headed?

Date: Fri, September 16, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
What does America need next?

Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Media; Author, Reviving America: How Repealing Obamacare, Replacing the Tax Code and Reforming the Fed Will Restore Hope and Prosperity
John Farmer, Chair, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors—Moderator

With a turbulent presidential election and Brexit on the horizon, a leading conservative voice offers his thoughts on the political and economic climate in the United States and the world. Steve Forbes is chairman of Forbes Media, which publishes Forbes magazine, with a circulation of nearly 1 million readers domestically and 5 million worldwide. In both 1996 and 2000, Mr. Forbes campaigned vigorously for the Republican nomination for the presidency. Key to his platform were a flat tax, medical savings accounts, a new Social Security system for working Americans, parental choice of schools for their children, term limits and a strong national defense. Forbes continues to energetically promote this agenda. Here’s a chance to hear his views on how to make the country stronger and Americans more prosperous.

Mon 9/19

Image - Don George

The Way of Wanderlust

Date: Mon, September 19, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Don George, Travel Writer; Author, The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George

A professional travel writer and editor for the past four decades, Don George has explored the furthest corners of the world. In his book, The Way of Wanderlust, George includes many of his adventurous tales from the last 40 years—climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, ascending Yosemite’s Half Dome, a moving homestay experience in Cambodia. The former travel editor for the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle, George founded the Wanderlust section of Salon.com and was recently the global travel editor for Lonely Planet Publications.

Hear George reflect upon his global expeditions and reignite your own wanderlust.

Image - Ira Byock

Being Well While Dying

Date: Mon, September 19, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Our changing view of end-of-life preparation

Ira Byock, M.D., Palliative Care Physician; Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Institute for Human Caring, Providence Health and Services; Professor of Medicine and Community & Family Medicine, Dartmouth

Americans tend to consider illness and dying as fundamentally medical problems. Doctors and nurses focus their attention on alleviating suffering at end of life. But though suffering is undeniably part of illness and dying, with good palliative care many people retain a capacity for subjective well-being through the end of their lives. Dr. Byock will explore the surprising possibility of contentment and joy in dying and the implications for our understanding of full and healthy living.

A renowned author, Dr. Byock has appeared on NPR's "All Things Considered," CBS "60 Minutes," "Fox and Friends," and PBS "The News Hour."

Tue 9/20

Image - Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox: Evolution of Religion Toward a Broader Spiritual Path

Date: Tue, September 20, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
A view of changing spiritual approaches

Matthew Fox, Ph.D., Episcopal Priest; Author, Original Blessing, The Reinvention of Work, A Spirituality Named Compassion, A Way To God: Thomas Merton's Creation Spirituality Journey, and Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times

Dr. Fox sees an ongoing, rapid shift from formal religion toward a broader-based, gender-neutral path that includes Eastern spirituality, the Wisdom Tradition in the Hebrew Bible, respect for the Earth and native traditions, and awe about nature and creation. Former Dominican priest Matthew Fox, "the most-read theologian in North America," has written more than 30 books on the topic, selling more than 1.5 million copies in dozens of languages. He will discuss the causes of this shift and show how, for example, the four paths of Creation Spirituality can bring joy, life, spiritual depth (and dance!) to the practice of spirituality. He will also discuss other traditions and the works of the Roman Catholic theologians and mystics Thomas Merton, Hildegard of Bingen, and Meister Eckhart.

Come to the Club to experience how, in the words of Merton, "our real journey in life is interior; it is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever-greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts."

Image - windmill and smokestack

Has AB 32 Helped or Hurt California?

Date: Tue, September 20, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Assessing AB 32 one decade later

Fran Pavley, California State Senator, Co-Author, AB 32
Cathy Reheis-Boyd, President, Western States Petroleum Association

Ten years ago, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed what many consider to be the most important piece of climate legislation in the world. The law, AB 32, created a market for the right to emit carbon pollution; that market is generating billions of dollars in revenue and is now connected to a big chunk of Canada’s economy.

That carbon market has been a hot political issue in California. Fossil fuel companies launched several lawsuits challenging it, but California has prevailed in most court battles. In 2010 petroleum refineries put a measure to suspend AB 32 on the statewide ballot; voters overwhelmingly rejected it after a bipartisan campaign led by former Secretary of State George Shultz and climate advocate Tom Steyer.

Has California’s climate law created new jobs and industries? Or has it been a drag on the economy and raised energy prices? What happens when the law’s clock runs out in 2020? Join us for a lively discussion with AB 32’s co-author, its primary enforcer, and its chief adversary.

Wed 9/21

Image - Ross King

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

Date: Wed, September 21, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Claude Monet—the man, the times, and the art

Ross King, Author, Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

We have all seen—whether live, in photographs or on postcards—Claude Monet's legendary water lily paintings. They are in museums all over the world and are among the most beloved works of art of the past century. Yet these soothing images were created amid terrible personal turmoil and sadness. As World War I exploded within hearing distance of his house at Giverny, Monet's personal losses piled up and formed the tragic backdrop of his last and largest creations. Using letters, memoirs and other sources, Ross King reveals a more complex, more human, more intimate Claude Monet than has ever been portrayed, and firmly places his water lily project among the greatest achievements in the history of art.

Image - Future Cities

Future Cities

Date: Wed, September 21, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Building resilient and beautiful cities

Jonathan Rose, Co-Founder, The Garrison Institute; Author, The Well Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life
Peter Calthorpe, Architect; Urban Designer; Planner

As the world’s population increasingly concentrates in cities, what is the future of urban life? Taking a look back at ancient civilizations and a look forward at climate-disrupted cities, primarily along coastlines, this conversation will contemplate how people will live in the Bay Area and beyond in coming decades. We will touch on the role of urban parks and farms, green architecture, healthy buildings, the role of trust, the importance of planning and how to build the ability to bounce back from the punches an angry mother nature is throwing at us.

Image - Feminist Fight Club

Feminist Fight Club with Jessica Bennett

Date: Wed, September 21, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Field guide for women at work

Jessica Bennett, Contributing Writer, The New York Times; Author, Feminist Fight Club 
Peggy Orenstein, Author and Contributing Writer, The New York Times Magazine—Moderator

The first rule of the Feminist Fight Club is you must talk about the Feminist Fight Club—and we invite you to San Francisco's first public meeting.

Jessica's career as an award-winning writer took her from Newsweek to Tumblr and beyond, and she’s spent years traversing the rocky terrain of the modern workplace. She’s been in the trenches, along with the rest of her real-life Feminist Fight Club, navigating the pay gap, sexism, microaggressions, self-sabotage and more.

Now, Jessica and Feminist Fight Club—her hard-hitting and hilarious compilation of strategies, insights, hacks, and vocabulary—are ready to arm women with everything they need to survive on the career battlefield.

Your ticket grants you lifelong membership to the Feminist Fight Club. Your only duty is to recruit your friends to join you.

Jessica is an award-winning writer and speaks regularly on women's issues and journalism. She also edits special projects for Sheryl Sandberg's nonprofit, Lean In.

Thu 9/22

Image - Kimberly Balsam

At the Crossroads: Oppression and Resilience in Diverse LGBT Communities

Date: Thu, September 22, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
A psychological perspective on justice and oppression

Kimberly F. Balsam, Ph.D. Professor; President-Elect, APA's Division 44; Co-Director, Center for LGBTQ Evidence-Based Applied Research, Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, Palo Alto University

The past five years have been times of rapid change for LGBT communities in the United States. With the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011 and the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015, LGBT people have experienced rapid gains in visibility, acceptance and legal rights. However, this progress has disproportionately advanced the well-being of those who are white sexual minorities, leaving issues of racial and ethnic diversity, social class and gender identity in the margins. Further, the recent shooting in Orlando highlights the ongoing oppression, including violence and fear of violence, that LGBT individuals must still contend with on a daily basis.

These developments have led many to argue that we find ourselves at a crossroads in LGBT history that requires new paradigms that will broaden justice to more people. Balsam will discuss psychological perspectives on oppression and resilience, offering a lens through which to envision the path forward in this challenging and ever-changing social context.

Image - Alan Cumming

Spend the Night with Alan Cumming

Date: Thu, September 22, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Star of stage, screen, and TV

Alan Cumming, Actor; Activist; Author, You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams
Cleve Jones, Founder, NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt; Human Rights Activist; Author—Moderator

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

We’re thrilled to welcome Alan Cumming to the INFORUM stage for the very first time!

Alan Cumming has made movies with everyone from Stanley Kubrick to the Spice Girls. He’s mastered Snapchat. He was named an Officer of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth. You may recognize him as wily Eli Gold from the CBS drama "The Good Wife," or from his Tony-winning turn in Cabaret on Broadway. He’s played roles including the devil, the pope and God—we can’t wait to see what he manages to pull off next. Stage, silver screen, books, behind the camera: Alan Cumming can do it all.

When he’s not onstage, in front of the camera or writing away, Alan’s a vocal advocate for causes, including LGBT rights and AIDS charities. He has received both the Vito Russo Award at the Annual GLAAD Media Awards and Human Rights Campaign’s Humanitarian Award in recognition of his many efforts.

Alan’s latest book, You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams, shows off many of his personal photographs and shares insider stories from his long, shiny career in show business as well as his fascinating life away from the limelight. So put on your Broadway best and join us at the Castro Theatre for a fun-filled evening with this quirky, talented and charming quadruple threat.

Mon 9/26

Image - Ayesha Curry

Ayesha Curry: The Seasoned Life

Date: Mon, September 26, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Recipes for the whole family

Ayesha Curry, Food Network Host, "Ayesha’s Homemade"; Author, The Seasoned Life: Food, Family, Faith, and the Joy of Eating Well
In conversation with Chef Michael Mina

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

In The Seasoned Life, Ayesha Curry will share 100 of her favorite recipes and invite readers into the home she has made with her two daughters and her husband Stephen Curry. Ayesha knows first-hand what it is like to be a busy mom and wife, and she knows that for her family, time in the kitchen and around the table is where that balance begins.

She has something for everybody. The simple, delicious recipes include Cast Iron Biscuits, Smoked Salmon Scramble, Homemade Granola, Mom's Chicken Soup, Stephen's 5 Ingredient Pasta, and plenty of recipes that get the whole family involved—even the little ones!

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, September 26, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group—which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan—has been meeting monthly for more than eight years. We are not a debate group; we are a discussion group.

Humanities West Book Discussion: A Nervous Splendor, by Frederic Morton

Date: Mon, September 26, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM

Join us to discuss A Nervous Splendor. Frederic Morton deftly tells the haunting story of the Crown Prince Rudolf and his city, where, in the span of only 10 months, "the Western dream started to go wrong." Morton's story studies other young men just as frustrated as the prince, including young Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Theodor Herzl, Gustav Klimt, and the playwright Arthur Schnitzler, whose La Ronde was the great erotic drama of the fin de siecle. Morton interweaves their fates with that of the doomed prince and the entire city. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, September 26, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

Image - Elizabeth Lesser and Isabel Allende

Elizabeth Lesser in Conversation with Isabel Allende

Date: Mon, September 26, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Elizabeth Lesser, Co Founder, Omega Institute; Author, Marrow: A Love Story
In Conversation with Isabel Allende, Novelist and Human Rights Activist

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

The author of The New York Times bestseller Broken Open returns with a visceral and profound memoir of two sisters who, in the face of a bone marrow transplant—one the donor and one the recipient—begin a quest for acceptance, authenticity, and most of all, love.

Throughout her life, Elizabeth Lesser has sought understanding about what it means to be true to oneself and, at the same time, truly connected to the ones we love. But when her sister Maggie needs a bone marrow transplant to save her life, and Lesser learns that she is the perfect match, she faces a far more immediate and complex question about what it really means to love—honestly, generously, and authentically. They leave the bone marrow transplant up to the doctors, but take on what Lesser calls a "soul marrow transplant," examining their family history, having difficult conversations, examining old assumptions, and offering forgiveness until all that is left is love for each other’s true selves. Their process—before, during, and after the transplant—encourages them to take risks of authenticity in other aspects their lives.

Tue 9/27

Image - Scott Allan Morrison

The Dark Side of Social Media: Privacy, Manipulation and Terms of Use

Date: Tue, September 27, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Scott Allan Morrison, Former Silicon Valley Journalist; Author, Terms of Use
In conversation with Sarah Granger, Author; Digital Media Entrepreneur

Facebook has vowed that it will not attempt to influence the outcome of an election. But as veteran Silicon Valley journalist Scott Allan Morrison shows us in his debut thriller Terms of Use, social media companies can manipulate voters, and there are no laws to prevent them from doing so. Join Scott as he discusses his novel, Internet privacy and social media’s growing influence over our personal lives and our political system.

Image - Robert Reich

Robert Reich: The Oddest Presidential Election in Living Memory

Date: Tue, September 27, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Explaining and exploring campaign 2016

Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley; Former Secretary of Labor; Author, Saving Capitalism
Holly Kernan, Executive Editor for News, KQED—Moderator

In the midst of an unpredictable presidential election, get insight from a veteran political figure who knows Washington inside and out. Time magazine named Reich one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He is a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. Come hear his provocative thoughts on the presidential election and the future of America.