Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Wed 5/24

Image - Mugambi Jouet

American Exceptionalism and the Rise of Trumpism

Date: Wed, May 24, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Understanding American exceptionalism

Mugambi Jouet, Thomas C. Grey Fellow and Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law School; Author, Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other

How did Donald Trump become president in an increasingly polarized America? Mugambi Jouet traces these intriguing social changes to American exceptionalism—an idea widely misunderstood as American superiority. While exceptionalism was once a source of strength, it may now spell decline, as unique features of U.S. history, politics, law, culture, religion and race relations foster grave social conflicts.

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Water Whiplash

Date: Wed, May 24, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
From shortage to surplus

Felicia Marcus, Chair, California Water Resources Control Board
Buzz Thompson, Director, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One

Californians are accustomed to living through wet times and dry times, but lately things are getting more extreme and much more difficult to predict. After five years of severe drought, Californians are now talking about what it means to have too much water. The end of the drought is a blessing, but the state may need to find $50 billion to repair dams, roads and other infrastructure threatened by floods. The damaged spillway at Oroville Dam highlighted what happens when the state doesn’t keep its water system in good working order.

How is California preparing for the whiplash of going from really dry to really wet years? What will it take to fix the system that delivers the water that keeps us alive and lubricates our economy? How will state and federal governments work together to modernize the water systems responsible for growing the food that lands on our dinner tables?

Thu 5/25

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Rounding Up the Facts on GMOs

Date: Thu, May 25, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Debating the pros and cons of genetically modified food

Dr. John Purcell, Vice President and Global Research and Development Lead, Monsanto
Scott Hamilton Kennedy, Director, Food Evolution
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One
Additional Speakers TBA

Are genetically modified food advocates the new "flat-earthers"? Are their opponents the new climate deniers? As with many issues these days, the two sides are working from different sets of facts. Monsanto, the agrochemical company, and other supporters of foods that include genetically modified organisms (GMOs) say using GMOs can promote more nutritious crops, improve farmer livelihood, foster drought tolerance and flood resilience, reduce chemical pesticide use, and end hunger. Food advocates say those claims are false. They note that GMO foods promote industrial monoculture, concentrate corporate power in a few hands and drive the use of glyphosate, which has been labeled a carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s cancer agency and is now the subject of a class action lawsuit in California. Both critics and supporters were displeased by a law passed last year requiring the future labeling of GMO foods.

Join us for a conversation about facts, science and the truth about eating and labeling GMO foods. 

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Plastic Waste: A Path from Garbage to Healthy Resources

Date: Thu, May 25, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Plastic damaging our environment

Paul Yamamoto, Director of Technology, Engineering and Research, Recology
Dr. Jesse Chu, Senior Plastic Engineer, Recology

Plastic is everywhere—in single and multiuse products and packaging. Almost all plastic ends its short, useable time in litter, waste, dumps, trash, rivers, oceans, soil or landfills. This ultimately leads to unhealthy plastic degradation and causes harm to environments throughout the world. Join us in this important discussion about Recology's mission to achieve the best and highest use of environmentally safe and healthy resources. Learn about Recology's challenges, work and research to create a practical system worldwide to reclaim, convert and remanufacture plastic particles and products into reusable, safe resources for healthy environments, people and populations.

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Tartine: All Day, Every Day

Date: Thu, May 25, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Chat with Tartine chef

Elisabeth Prueitt, Co-founder, Tartine Bakery, Co-founder, Tartine Manufactory, Co-founder, Coffee Manufactory; James Beard Award Winner for Best Pastry Chef; Author, Tartine All Day
Gabriela Cámara, Executive Chef and Owner, Cala
Kate Sofis, CEO, SFMade—Moderator

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

We all love food, but Elisabeth Prueitt loves food. Whether she’s baking some of Bay Area’s favorite bread at Tartine or launching a new venture, the James Beard Award-winning pastry chef always brings the best to the table. Her Tartine Manufactory was recently short-listed for a 2017 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant (although we hear Prueitt is most excited about the soft-serve ice cream machines).

Join Prueitt in conversation with other trailblazers in the Bay Area culinary world—such as Gabriela Cámara, owner and executive chef of ten restaurants (including the local Cala)—as they discuss effecting social change through food, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Prueitt’s latest cookbook, Tartine All Day, makes her popular food and recipes accessible to the broader community, with a hands-on approach not always seen in a gadget-driven worldCome be inspired to cook, eat, and do better with Elisabeth Prueitt and friends.

Tue 5/30

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Kaiser Permanente Medical Chief Dr. Robert Pearl: Getting the Mistakes out of Health Care

Date: Tue, May 30, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Why U.S. health care is failing

Dr. Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO, The Permanente Medical Group; Author, Mistreated: Why We Think We’re Getting Good Health Care–And Why We’re Usually Wrong; Twitter

From his perspective as head of Permanente Medical Group, Robert Pearl is responsible for the health care that is delivered to more than 4 million Kaiser Permanente members in the states of California, Virginia, Maryland and in Washington, D.C. Pearl says he has definitely seen his share of medical errors. He points out that American health care is in the bottom half of all industrialized countries, where every year hundreds of people die from medical errors and thousands die from diseases they did not have to get. Join us for a frank discussion on how to eliminate excessive costs, lack of convenience and poor quality health care and ultimately modernize and save the American health care industry.

More information about the author can be found here.

Wed 5/31

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The Universal Stage: A Critique of Empathy

Date: Wed, May 31, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Theater and the expression of self

Eric Ting, Artistic Director, California Shakespeare Theater

In the theater, we concern ourselves with questions of authenticity and artifice in our search for human truth. They are questions that grow more pertinent as we consider classical theater's place in our contemporary world: whose stories are represented, whose stories are appropriated, how do we see ourselves in these stories and can we ever truly understand another person? Go in depth with Eric Ting, the artistic director of CalShakes—a San Francisco cultural treasure.

Image - The White House

Trump's First 100 Days: Part Four

Date: Wed, May 31, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Evaluating the crucial first few months of the new administration

Ro Khanna, U.S. Representative (D-CA)
Carlos Watson, Co-Founder and CEO, Ozy Media
Mina Kim, Anchor and Host, KQED—Moderator
Additional Panelists TBA

How will President Trump’s 100-day action plan impact our domestic and foreign affairs, health care, education, environment, immigration, economic and trade policies? Who are the new people leading the country and how will they impact public policy? What role will all forms of media play as they cover the new administration? Join The Commonwealth Club and KQED for the final program of our four-part series of programs that address the first 100 days of the Trump administration and how this period will shape America over the next four years and beyond.

Thu 6/1

Image - Beatles

They Say It's Your Birthday

Date: Thu, June 01, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
The 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's

Dulais Rhys, Faculty, Amabile School of Music; Professional Musician

Celebrate the 50th birthday of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by learning about the background, creation and songs of the Beatles' revolutionary album. The album was released on June 1, 1967, right as the Summer of Love was beginning. Six months earlier, just three months after their August 29 farewell concert in San Francisco, Paul McCartney suggested he and his bandmates create a new album based on their various childhood experiences; Sgt. Pepper's was the result. Want to know why “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” didn't make the cut? Want to learn other details you may not have known before, even if you’re a major fan? Come find out what Dulais Rhys' research has revealed. Singing along is encouraged. 

Fri 6/2

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Israel and India: 25 Years of Diplomatic Relations

Date: Fri, June 02, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Israel and India: collaboration and partnership

Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok, India's Consul General, San Francisco
Andy David, Israel's Consul General, Pacific Northwest

Consul General Andy David and Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok will speak together in celebration of Israel and India’s 25 years of diplomatic relations and their centuries-long historical and cultural connections. The two diplomats will discuss the growing partnership and collaboration between their two countries as well as shared interests and mutual goals for the future. 

Mon 6/5

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Week to Week Politics Roundtable and Social Hour 6/5/17

Date: Mon, June 05, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Insight into political issues, delivered with expertise and wit

Panelists TBA

It's summertime, so let's kick off the new season with a free-for-members special edition of our Week to Week political roundtable.

It's never a dull moment in politics these days, and we'll discuss the biggest, most controversial and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil, and have a good sense of humor. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live news quiz!

And come early before the program to meet other smart and engaged individuals and discuss the news over snacks and wine at our member social (open to all attendees).

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SFDebate

Date: Mon, June 05, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Biweekly debate

The SFDebate is an open forum for discussion on the events of our time. It is a place where you will not only be exposed to opposing points of view, but a safe place where you will be encouraged to find and speak up for yours. SFDebate is also a meeting of minds, and we follow every meeting with continued debate and conversation at a nearby bar/restaurant.

Click here to sign up for this program via Meetup. 

Wed 6/7

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Graham Allison: Are We Headed for War?

Date: Wed, June 07, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Escalating tensions between China and the U.S.

Dr. Graham Allison, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense; Director, Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Author, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap
In Conversation with Ellen Tauscher, Former Representative, California’s 10th Congressional District; Former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

Could China and the U.S. be headed towards war, or is there a way to avoid it? Graham Allison, former assistant secretary of defense, argues that if both the U.S. and China refuse to back down, a trade conflict, cyberattack or accident at sea could escalate into war.

Join us for a conversation with Graham Allison about how Thucydides’ Trap, the inevitable contention between a rising power and an established one, is still relevant today.

Thu 6/8

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This event is Sold Out

Garry Kasparov: The Future of Artificial Intelligence

Date: Thu, June 08, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
How to combine artificial intelligence with human creativity

Garry Kasparov, Chairman, Human Rights Foundation; Former World Chess Champion; Author, Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins

In May 1997, the world watched as Garry Kasparov, the greatest chess player in the world, was defeated for the first time by the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue. Kasparov's competition symbolized man’s fight against machine, yet years after losing to Deep Blue, he has come to see how humans and machines can partner to reach results that neither can attain alone. Come join us for a conversation about what it was like to strategize against a supercomputer—and how a world increasingly reliant on artificial intelligence can potentially overcome new challenges.

Image - Golf Courses

Golf Courses, the Environment and Water Conservation: The New Reality

Date: Thu, June 08, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The future of golf courses

Don Chelemedos, PGA General Manager, Presidio Golf Course
Brian Nettz, GCSAA Superintendent, Presidio Golf Course

While some people may think of the golf industry as one of waste and excess, recent climate changes and resources have required golf course operators to rethink their strategy when it comes to golfing, natural resources and adjustments for changing golf courses and game environments. Join the operations team from the Presidio Golf Course as they discuss water conservation, sustainable environmental improvements and the model the Presidio Golf Course has created for current and future golfers, environments and the golfing industry.

Mon 6/12

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Buddhist Economics

Date: Mon, June 12, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Applying Buddhism to economics

Clair Brown, Professor of Economics; Director, Center for Work, Technology and Society at the University of California, Berkeley; Author, Buddhist Economics

Monday Night Philosophy travels a different path to economic wisdom. Traditional economics measures the ways we earn and spend our income, but it doesn't always consider what gives our lives meaning. In response, Clair Brown has developed a holistic model that approaches the organizational structure of an economy by using Buddhist values, emphasizing sustainability, interconnectedness, capability and happiness to promote a more compassionate society. By replacing the endless cycle of desire with collective priorities, Brown argues we will benefit both personally and globally for generations to come.

Image - California Book Awards

86th Annual California Book Awards

Date: Mon, June 12, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Annual book awards

Join us for one of the Golden State’s premier literary events—the California Book Awards! The 2017 Book Awards, now in its 86th year, recognizes the best published California writing published in 2016.

The California Book Awards have often been on the vanguard, honoring previously unknown authors who go on to garner national acclaim. Since 1931, the California Book Awards have honored the exceptional literary merit of California writers and publishers. Each year, a select jury considers hundreds of books from around the state in search of the very best in literary achievement. This year’s award ceremony will include a special tribute to Kevin Starr, a giant of California letters who died this past January. Starr’s eight-volume history of the state, collectively known as Americans and the California Dream, lays out an epic story that is still unfolding today. 

Come celebrate the state's best writers! Meet and learn more about the authors, get your books signed and visit with your fellow admirers of great California writing. Enjoy wine and a chance to win a complete set of this year's award-winning books in the Book Awards raffle. See you at the ceremony!

Tue 6/13

Image - Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

Crooked: What It Takes to Outwit the Back Pain Industry and Get on the Road to Recovery

Date: Tue, June 13, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Recovering from back pain

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, Journalist; Investigative Reporter; Author, Carved in Sand: When Attention Fails and Memory Fades in MidlifeCrooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery

In an effort to manage her chronic back pain, investigative reporter and New York Times best-selling author Cathryn Jakobson Ramin spent years and a small fortune on a panoply of treatments. But her discomfort only intensified, leaving her feeling frustrated and perplexed. As she searched for better solutions, she exposed a much bigger problem. Costing roughly $100 billion a year, spine medicine—often ineffective and sometimes harmful—exemplified the worst aspects of the U.S. health-care system.

The result of six years of intensive investigation, her new book, Crooked, offers a startling look at the poorly identified risks of spine medicine, providing practical advice and solutions. Ramin interviewed scores of spine surgeons, pain management doctors, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and specialized bodywork practitioners. She met with many patients whose pain and desperation led them to make life-altering decisions—and with others who triumphed over their limitations.

The result is a brilliant and comprehensive book that is not only important but essential to millions of back pain sufferers and all types of health-care professionals. Ramin shatters assumptions about surgery, chiropractic methods, physical therapy, spinal injections and painkillers while addressing evidence-based rehabilitation options—showing, in detail, how to avoid therapeutic dead ends and also save money, time and considerable anguish. With Crooked, she reveals what it takes to outwit the back pain industry and get on the road to recovery.

Wed 6/14

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Opera for Our Time: Bringing New Works to Life

Date: Wed, June 14, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Exploring opera with longtime dramaturg

Kip Cranna, Dramaturg, San Francisco Opera

San Francisco Opera’s longtime dramaturg Clifford “Kip” Cranna has managed the commissioning of more than 20 new operas, including “Harvey Milk,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Dead Man Walking,” “Doctor Atomic,” “Appomattox,” “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” “Moby Dick,” “Dream of the Red Chamber” and the upcoming “Girls of the Golden West.” Join Cranna for an insider’s viewpoint—with video examples—as he explores the thriving world of contemporary American opera and offers behind-the-scenes tales of how new operas are born.

Image - Uber

Take a Wild Uber Ride with Adam Lashinsky

Date: Wed, June 14, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Uber in an on-demand economy

Adam Lashinsky, Journalist, Fortune; Author, Inside AppleWild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination

Uber makes complimentary and controversial headlines every day. Since its 2009 launch, it’s been influencing the minds and phones of millions worldwide. But what do we really know about Uber, and, more importantly, what lies ahead?

In the last eight years as a leader in the on-demand economy, Uber has battled lawmakers and competitors in emerging markets, facing protests and riots in cities from Paris to Mumbai; it has hustled to build the first self-driving car while also responding to major employee allegations. CEO Travis Kalanick is known as a ruthless businessman, appearing in the news almost as often as the Silicon Valley giant he runs. With competition from the likes of Google and Lyft, the company is valued at billions—and now there’s talk of an initial public offering (IPO). Uber continues to rise in value and global impact even while questions around finances, leadership, valuation and the future continue to arise. The question remains: What else should the public know?

Join Adam Lashinsky, journalist and best-selling author of Inside Apple, for a conversation about his new book, Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination. Lashinsky will dive deep into the Uber universe, discussing what’s on the horizon for the company the world can’t stop talking about.