Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Mon 8/22

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 8/22/16

Date: Mon, August 22, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Political discussion without the shouting. But with wine.

Panelists TBA

We'll explore 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).

Tue 8/23

Music As an Alternative to Adversity

Date: Tue, August 23, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM

Peter Lewis, Musician; Composer; Songwriter; Guitarist; Founding Member, the San Francisco Rock Band Moby Grape
Arwen Lewis, Musician; Composer; Songwriter; Guitarist; Primary Artist and Lead Singer, Recent Album of Classic Moby Grape Compositions

Peter is Arwen's father, and together they travel and perform acoustic shows featuring original music written by both of them as well as classic Moby Grape compositions.

Peter and Arwen Lewis will discuss how music, from the perspectives of both the composer and the audience, has been used throughout history to "escape" from adversity. They will talk about the healing components of music and how music allows people to connect with each other. Peter and Arwen will also perform songs composed by Alexander "Skip" Spence and songs written by Peter and Arwen. The presentation will include their own personal experiences with the healing components of music; they also will talk about the process of composing and how this takes the composer into an alternative reality.

There will be live music during their presentation, including wonderful Moby Grape songs, and this presentation will be a treat not to be missed.

Image - Sun Power

Can California Get to 100-percent Clean Power?

Date: Tue, August 23, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Mark Ferron, Member, California Independent System Operator
Mark Jacobson, Professor, Stanford
Geisha J. Williams, President, PG&E

Mark Jacobson leads a team that says California and other states can get to 100-percent renewable power by 2050. Celebrity activists Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio are backing him.

But critics say the theoretical plan doesn’t consider the hard realities of the power grid and that renewables are sometimes oversold. California recently passed a law requiring half of the state’s power be renewable by 2030.

Should the state be more ambitious to battle climate disruption? What does PG&E think about going all-in on renewable power?

Wed 8/24

Image - Richard G. Caro

Can Technology Make Aging Better and Cheaper?

Date: Wed, August 24, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
Part of our special August series Big Solutions to Big Problems

Richard G. Caro, Ph.D, Physics, Oxford University; Rhodes Scholar

While much of the Western world worries about the economic and human costs of an aging population, Dr. Caro argues that there is room for optimism—and that by harnessing the power of technology and the untapped wisdom of the older adult population, we can improve the quality of life as we age, expand the capabilities of caregivers, and perhaps even make the process of aging less costly.

Fri 8/26

Image - Bill Hayton

BBC Correspondent Bill Hayton: Who Owns the South China Sea?

Date: Fri, August 26, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
The surprising history of the hotly contested region

Bill Hayton, BBC Correspondent, Author, The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia
Frank Wu, Professor and former Dean, University of California Hastings Law School; Chairman, Committee of 100—Moderator

The South China Sea is where China’s rising ambitions are colliding with the United States’ global role. This strategic competition is interacting in dangerous and unpredictable ways with tensions about the fate of the atolls and islands that dot the sea: the Spratly islands, the Paracels and Scarborough Shoal. Bill Hayton will explain the — sometimes bizarre — origins of the various claims and suggest how they might be resolved.

Hayton’s The South China Sea was named as one of The Economist's books of the year in 2014. He has worked for BBC News since 1998 and was the BBC's reporter in Vietnam in 2006-07. He spent 2013 embedded with Myanmar's state broadcaster working on media reform. He is also an associate fellow with the Asia Program of Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. He has given presentations about South China Sea and Southeast Asian issues for think-tanks and government institutions in the UK, United States, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam. His written work has been published in The Economist, the South China Morning Post, The Diplomat and The National Interest.

Mon 8/29

Image - UC

The University of California's Role in Confronting Climate Change and Leading the World on a Sustainable Environmental Path

Date: Mon, August 29, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Teenie Matlock, McClatchy Chair of Communications and Professor of Cognitive Science, University of California, Merced
Christine Gulbranson, Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Entrepeneurship, University of California
Daniel Kammen, The Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy, University of California, Berkeley; Parallel Appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, The Goldman School of Public Policy, and the Department of Nuclear Engineering
Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group Inc.; Producer, GreenBiz.com; Lead Author, The Annual State of Green Business Report—Moderator

California and the University of California are leaders in confronting one of the world's most complex and daunting issues: climate change. Three distinguished UC professors from across the University system will discuss how the UC and the state of California lead and plan to continue leading the world on a path to a sustainable environmental future.

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, August 29, 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. 

Tue 8/30

Image - Sam Dodge, Mark Farrell, and CW Nevius

Helping the Homeless of San Francisco: What Works?

Date: Tue, August 30, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Part of our Big Solutions for Big Problems special series

Sam Dodge, Director, Mayors Office of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement (HOPE)
Mark Farrell, San Francisco Supervisor, District 2
C.W. Nevius, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle

We see the sad lives of the homeless in our beautiful city, and our hearts sink. But is there an answer? In different ways, our three panelists have given a great deal of attention to the problem. They will share their observations and possible remedies.

Wed 8/31

Image - Tristan Walker and John Maeda: Redefining Design

Tristan Walker and John Maeda: Redefining Design

Date: Wed, August 31, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Redefining product design and success

Tristan Walker, Founder & CEO, Walker & Company Brands, Inc.
John Maeda, Design Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers—Moderator

After recognizing the need for better-designed personal care products for people of color, Tristan Walker, a former entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz and director of business development at Foursquare, struck out on his own and launched Walker & Company Brands, Inc.

Now, Walker & Company is an emerging leader in the field of product design, and his company's wares are being met with both critical acclaim from health and beauty industry heavyweights and financial backing from celebrities like John Legend and Magic Johnson.

Join INFORUM, Tristan Walker and design industry guru John Maeda for an insightful discussion about how companies like Walker & Company Brands are finding success and redefining product design by making products that are both visually appealing and highly effective available to the masses.

Wed 9/7

Image - Steven Hill

Expand Social Security Now!

Date: Wed, September 07, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
A plan to defend and expand Social Security

Steven Hill, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation; Holtzbrinck Fellow, American Academy in Berlin; Author

Three-quarters of Americans depend heavily on Social Security in their elderly years and nearly half would be living in poverty without it. But as important and popular as it is, Social Security has become a political football. A well-financed campaign — supported by conservatives, special interest groups, and even leading Democrats — has lobbied for cuts and significant “entitlement reform,” falsely proclaiming that Social Security is going broke. Policy expert Steven Hill argues that Social Security not only should be defended, it should be substantially expanded.

Learn about his proposal to double the monthly benefit and how to pay for it by closing many of the tax loopholes and deductions that disproportionately favor the wealthy few.

Mon 9/12

Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your Parents.

Date: Mon, September 12, 2016
Time: 1:30 PM
Solutions to challenges of aging

Richard G. Caro, Ph.D., Facilitator

This regular discussion group explores new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older. Not only do we uncover interesting new products at the intersection of aging and technology, we also conduct a series of ongoing deep-dive discussions into topics such as brain health, apps for seniors, hearing and wearables for seniors. The results of our discussions will be shared with a larger community of older adults interested in improving their quality of life through our partner in this initiative, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC. The discussions are facilitated by Dr. Richard Caro, whom many of you have heard speak at prior Grownups forum events.

Image - Karen Paget

Patriotic Betrayal: Inside a Secret CIA Campaign

Date: Mon, September 12, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Karen Paget, Author, Patriotic Betrayal: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Secret Campaign to Enroll American Students in the Crusade Against Communism

Monday Night Philosophy considers the social ramifications of a democratic society allowing internal spying. In 1967, Ramparts magazine exposed a CIA secret: a decades-old project to enroll American students in the crusade against communism by suborning the National Student Association. Patriotic Betrayal tells a story filled with self-serving rationalizations, layers of duplicity, and bureaucratic double-talk. Author Karen Paget, herself a former member of the NSA, mined hundreds of archival sources and declassified documents, and interviewed more than 150 people, to uncover precisely how the CIA turned the NSA into an intelligence asset during the Cold War. Her answer throws a sharp light on the persistent argument about whether America’s national security interests can be secured by skullduggery and deception.

Tue 9/13

Image - Steven Campbell

A Blinding Flash of the Obvious: Rewiring Your Brain for Success

Date: Tue, September 13, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
Changing your mind

Steven R. Campbell, M.S., Information Systems

Campbell presents an eye-opening look at the latest research on how our brains conform to the messages we give it: When we optimize those messages, our brains will literally rewire themselves again to create new, positive self-images of who we want to be.

This is formally called “neuroplasticity.” Understanding this could open doors to creating more success in our health, personal relationships and in our businesses.

It's not magic...it's science! The speaker will share practical knowledge of cutting-edge brain research on creating success, better health, loving relationships and overcoming your fears as well as an understanding of the surprising power of thinking differently when you mess up.

Wed 9/14

Image - John Dearborn

Navigating the Health Care Crisis

Date: Wed, September 14, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

John Dearborn, M.D.

The United States is in the midst of a crisis in health care. With the many advances in biomedical technology and pharmacology, fueled by research in academia and industry, we have never been better cared-for and are enjoying longer productive lives. But the growing cost of delivering that care, especially for an aging population, has us in the middle of a battle between the health-care delivery system and third-party payers, including Medicare. Premiums have soared, and coverage has waned to keep the insurers in the black, but Medicare has been badly underfunded for decades.

Can physicians and hospitals strike a balance between high-quality care and cost that will ease the strain on our wallets yet still keep us healthy and active? This has been the focus in the joint-replacement realm at Washington Hospital in Fremont for nearly 20 years, and the results have been astounding.

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.

Being Well While Dying

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

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."

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.

Mon 9/26

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.