Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Wed 6/11

Image - GMOs: Necessary in a Hot and Crowded World?

GMOs: Necessary in a Hot and Crowded World?

Date: Wed, June 11, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Robert Fraley, Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto 
Andrew Kimbrell, Founder and Executive Director, Center for Food Safety 
Nathanael Johnson, Food Writer, Grist; Author, All Natural: A Skeptic's Quest to Discover If the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing, and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier
Jessica Lundberg, Seed Nursery Manager, Lundberg Family Farms

With global population climbing toward 10 billion, food security is a growing concern. Extreme droughts and floods have slammed agricultural exports from the United States, Australia and Russia in recent years. Future severe weather is expected to put upward pressure on crop prices. That prospect raises thorny questions. Is there a role for seeds that are genetically modified to be drought resistant? Can 10 billion people be fed without GMO crops? Can organics feed a growing and hungry world? Consumer support of full labeling of GMO products is getting the attention of food producers and retailers. Whole Foods recently said all GMO foods on its shelves must be labeled by 2018. General Mills announced that Cheerios would not include GMOs. Labeling laws are also being put before voters around the country. Join us for a discussion about the prospect and perils of tinkering with the genetics of our food supply as we brace for more climate disruption.

Thu 6/12

Image - Russian Hill Walking Tour

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Date: Thu, June 12, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Join Rick Evans for a two-hour hike!

Join a more active Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Russian Hill is a magical area with secret gardens and amazing views. Join Rick Evans for a two-hour hike up hills and staircases and learn about the history of this neighborhood. See where great artists and architects lived and worked, and walk down residential streets where some of the most historically significant houses in the Bay Area are located.


Image - Laurence Tribe: The Supreme Court and the Constitution

Laurence Tribe: The Supreme Court and the Constitution

Date: Thu, June 12, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Laurence Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School; Co-author, Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution

From Citizens United to its momentous rulings regarding Obamacare and gay marriage, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has profoundly affected American life. Yet the court remains a mysterious institution, and the motivations of the nine men and women who serve for life are often obscure.

Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz’s Uncertain Justice arrives at a crucial time for the nation and the court. Political gridlock, cultural change and technological progress mean that the court’s decisions on key topics – including free speech, privacy, voting rights and presidential power – could be uniquely durable. Acutely aware of their opportunity, the justices are rewriting critical aspects of constitutional law and redrawing the ground rules of American government.

Filled with original insights and compelling human stories, Uncertain Justice illuminates how the Supreme Court and the Constitution frame the way we live.

Mon 6/16

Image - Earn Save Spend Give: Four Things to Do With Your Money and How to Make It All Work

Earn Save Spend Give: Four Things to Do With Your Money and How to Make It All Work

Date: Mon, June 16, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM

Denise Hughes, Author

Hughes speaks about what is needed to make money work in life. Viewing money as a portal, inviting us to step into greater consciousness through the doorway of self-awareness, she focuses on the behaviors that create one’s personal financial numbers. She posits that our portfolios, bank accounts and financial struggles are mirrors reflecting back to us the behaviors we bring to our relationship with money. Come hear how any of us can change our financial picture if we look within and begin to change the mindsets, negative emotions and sabotaging actions we practice when it comes to money. 

Tue 6/17

Image - Self-made Gangster Exclusively Reveals All to His Nephew

Self-made Gangster Exclusively Reveals All to His Nephew

Date: Tue, June 17, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM

Bruce Farrell Rosen, Author, Bombed in His Bed: Confessions of Jewish Gangster Myer Rush; Banker

The gangster Myer Rush was front-page news around the world in the late 1960s when he was accused of a $100 million stock fraud. Hours before he was expected to appear in court, a bomb went off under his bed and, after dying twice on the way to the hospital, he survived the explosion. Rosen, Meyer’s nephew, reveals an astounding journey that traverses love, honor, betrayal, grief, joy and greed. It is a mesmerizing story that will challenge our thinking about what a man can endure in life.

Wed 6/18

Image - An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies

An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies

Date: Wed, June 18, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Mireille Schwartz, Food Allergy Expert; Author
Mireille Schwartz, Founder & CEO, Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board; Food Allergy Expert; Author, The Family Food Allergy Book
Since the mid-1990s, food allergies have shifted into high gear; what used to be a relative rarity has become increasingly commonplace, with scientists estimating that the problem is continuing to get worse. There is currently no cure for food allergies. California State Senate Award-winning expert and author Schwartz examines the evolutionary history of food allergies: what they are, how to prevent them and how to treat them. Severely allergic to seafood herself, Schwartz explains the pragmatic stress involved with managing food allergies, as well as step-by-step solutions with an understanding that food is everywhere and our relationship to food needs to be healthy if we are to stay healthy.

Mon 6/23

Image - Kenneth Turan: Lifetime of Film

Kenneth Turan: Lifetime of Film

Date: Mon, June 23, 2014
Time: 12:00 AM
From All About Eve to Seven Samurai to Sherlock Jr.

Kenneth Turan, Film Critic, LA Times and NPR’s Morning Edition; Author, Not to be Missed: Fifty-Four Favorites from a Lifetime of Film; Twitter @KennethTuran 

Turan’s favorite films span a century of the world’s most satisfying romances and funniest comedies, the most heart-stopping dramas and chilling thrillers from All About Eve to Seven Samurai to Sherlock Jr. Come hear about these timeless films – classic and contemporary, familiar and obscure, with budgets big and small – and judge for yourself the truth of director Ingmar Bergman’s observation that “no form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.”

Image - Decoding the New Consumer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy

Decoding the New Consumer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy

Date: Mon, June 23, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM

Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., Consumer Psychologist; Chair of Psychology Department and Professor of Psychology and Marketing, Golden Gate University; Author, Decoding the New Consumer Mind 

Yarrow notes that a decade of swift and stunning change has profoundly affected our psychology and consequently how, when and why we shop and buy. She illuminates the impact of three major socio-cultural shifts on the psychology of shoppers and describes four strategic shifts that businesses need to make to succeed and connect with today’s transformed consumer. Drawing on hundreds of ethnographies and interviews, Yarrow shares surprising insights on the motivations and behaviors of today’s shoppers and takes marketers where they need to be today – into the deeply psychological and often unconscious relationships that people have with products, retailers, marketing communications and brands.

Go to Book Discussion: Caesar's Commentaries: On The Gallic War and On The Civil War by Julius Caesar

Book Discussion: Caesar's Commentaries: On The Gallic War and On The Civil War by Julius Caesar

Date: Mon, June 23, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

There was a time when Latin was a widespread educational rite of passage starting with "Veni, vidi, vici." This discussion will focus on the English translation of the Commentaries by Julius Caesar, one of the most important persons of his age, some would say second only to Jesus Christ. Caesar's Commentaries are required reading at U.S. Service Academies, where they are still considered relevant even in this high-tech, jet, drone, smart bomb, guided-missiles age. This classic is both enlightening and absorbing.

Image - Jenny Bowen: A Personal Tale of Action to Save Orphaned Children

Jenny Bowen: A Personal Tale of Action to Save Orphaned Children

Date: Mon, June 23, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Jenny Bowen, Founder, Half the Sky; Author, Wish You Happy Forever

Bowen and her husband adopted a little girl from China, not out of a need to build a family but simply to save one child. Their new daughter came home weak, malnourished, delayed and shutdown, common maladies from an orphanage upbringing. Bowen was overcome with a new resolve: She must do what she could to bring the same nurturing care and love to those many thousands of children left behind. In Wish You Happy Forever, Jenny Bowen relates the humor and heartbreak of her dogged efforts to become the voice of forgotten children, wards of what seems to be an intransigent government on the other side of the world. Half the Sky’s five innovative programs now provide nurturing family-like care and enrichment opportunities for thousands of children of all ages. In partnership with the Chinese government, Half the Sky is now helping that country reimagine its entire child welfare system.

Tue 6/24

Image - Nob Hill Walking Tour

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, June 24, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views!
Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills”. Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the West Coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford, and other members of the Big Four. Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Stanford Court and Huntington Hotel. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.

Wed 6/25

Go to  How Colleges and Universities Are Leading a Nation Wide Transformation to Meet Sustainability and Environmental Challenges

How Colleges and Universities Are Leading a Nation Wide Transformation to Meet Sustainability and Environmental Challenges

Date: Wed, June 25, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Dianne F. Harrison, President, CSU Northridge; Former President, CSU Monterey Bay; Administrator and Faculty Member, Florida State University 
William Shutkin, President and CEO, Presidio Graduate School; Richard M. Gray Fellow in Sustainability Practice 
Maria Harper-Marinick, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Maricopa Community College District 
Mitchell Thomashow, President Emeritus, Unity College; Director, The Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program; Author, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus 
Kerry Curtis, Professor Emeritus, Golden Gate University; Member, Board of Governors, Commonwealth Club of California; Emeritus Chair, Environment and Natural Resources Member Led Forum – Moderator

American colleges and universities are taking a major leadership role in promoting sustainability solutions, practices and behaviors. This program will feature prominent higher education executives who are integral in this process. They will discuss the importance of leadership in taking bold steps and actions that serve as a model for other communities.

Thu 6/26

Image - Corporate Wealth or Public Health?

Corporate Wealth or Public Health?

Date: Thu, June 26, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Robert H. Lustig, M.D; Professor of Pediatrics

Robert H. Lustig, M.D; Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, University of California, San Francisco; Director, Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program, UCSF

The ideology of “personal responsibility” has at one time or another been championed as the solution for every one of our societal ills. It’s considered convenient, easily adopted by American liberty interests, and is believed to contribute to the corporate bottom line. But according to Lustig, every “personal responsibility” issue eventually morphs into a public health crisis because these diseases are not caused by behaviors, but rather exposures. He argues that though politicians are supposed to protect us, sometimes wealth speaks louder than public health. He sees the ideology of “personal responsibility” as one that denies biology and obscures reality. Come hear why he believes it might be time for a change in policy, based in biology, recognizing that exposures cannot be fixed by individuals, but must be dealt with by society.

Image - David Boies and Theodore Olson: The Case for Marriage Equality

David Boies and Theodore Olson: The Case for Marriage Equality

Date: Thu, June 26, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Inside story of the Supreme Court’s landmark rulings.

David Boies, Chairman, Boies, Schiller, and Flexner LLP; Co-Author, Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality

Theodore B. Olson, Partner, Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher, Co-Author, Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality

Come hear the riveting inside story of the Supreme Court’s landmark rulings on The Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of landmark decisions, reinstating the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in California. Boies and Olson – who argued against each other all the way to the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore – joined forces to forge the unique legal argument that would carry the day. Now they discuss the story of the five-year struggle to win the right for gay couples to marry, from Proposition 8’s adoption 2008 to its defeat before the highest court in the land in Hollingsworth v. Perry in 2013.

Wed 7/16

Image - Is Ozone the Miracle Cure Everyone Is Talking About?

Is Ozone the Miracle Cure Everyone Is Talking About?

Date: Wed, July 16, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Robert Rowen, M.D., Santa Rosa; Board-certified Member, American Boards of Family Practice and Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology; Former Member, Alaska State Medical Board.

Dr. Rowen's talk will feature research from Cuba (and other sources) on what ozone is being used to treat inflammatory conditions, repairing arthritic joints, circulation, macular degeneration, etc. Dr. Rowen will show videos of "miraculous" instant results of patients in his own office; these are not miracles at all, he says, but what can be expected when you treat the body to get it to heal itself. Rowen's presentation will also cover UV light in its relation to ozone and show some documentation from many years ago on its ability to fight infection. Dr. Rowen is affectionately known as "The Father of Medical Freedom" for pioneering the nation's first law protecting alternative medicine in 1990, in Alaska.

Mon 7/28


Gay Conversion Therapy

Date: Mon, July 28, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM
Sheldon W. Helms, Associate Professor of Psychology

Professor Sheldon W. Helms, Associate Professor of Psychology, Ohlone College

As our country tackles the issue of marriage equality, gays in the military and other forms of inclusion of gays and lesbians into mainstream society, and as Russia and other countries enforce laws limiting the rights of their gay and lesbian citizens, fringe religious and therapeutic organizations have operated mostly in the shadows, attempting to "convert" their homosexual clients to heterosexuality through a mixture of prayer and pseudoscience.

Helms describes the history of attempts to define homosexuality as an illness and to make gays go straight.

Some forms of gay conversion therapy have been outlawed in California and New Jersey, and one of the primary institutions that promoted it has announced its closure, but what are the real stories behind these announcements, and do they go far enough?

Tue 8/5

Go to Trans in the Tenderloin: A Story of Community Resilience

Trans in the Tenderloin: A Story of Community Resilience

Date: Tue, August 05, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM

Robyn L. Stukalin, MS, LCSW

When Marilyn, featured in the film Transgender Tuesdays, was asked about the discrimination experienced by transgender people, she replied without hesitation,“We are more discriminated against than any other people in these United States.” The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Study found that “transgender and gender non-conforming people face rampant discrimination in every area of life: education, employment, family life, public accommodations, housing, health, police and jails and ID documents.” And things are worse for trans people of color whose pervasive experience of minority stress due to their gender identity is exacerbated by racism. What are the experiences like for those with fewer resources, like the people who live in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district? Gender specialist and psychotherapist Stukalin looks at the effect that trauma and discrimination have on the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people and at the resilience shown by members of the transgender community.

Wed 8/6

Go to LGBT Retirement Living: A Panel Discussion about Exclusive vs. Inclusive Communities

LGBT Retirement Living: A Panel Discussion about Exclusive vs. Inclusive Communities

Date: Wed, August 06, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM

Marcy Adelman, Ph.D., LGBT Activist; Founder, Open House

Dr. Adelman will highlight some of the remarkable societal changes that have brought the LGBT community to the point of having its own retirement living options. A lively discussion follows by panelists from The Sequoias in San Francisco and Fountaingrove Lodge in Santa Rosa. They’ll talk about their choices to live in their respective communities – one a traditional retirement community and the other an LGBT inspired retirement option.

Thu 8/7

Image - The Quest for an HIV/AIDS Vaccine

The Quest for an HIV/AIDS Vaccine

Date: Thu, August 07, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Donald P. Francis, M.D.,DsC, Executive Director, Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases; Former Director, AIDS Laboratory, Centers for Disease Control

HIV was identified in 1983. By that time, Donald Francis was already researching the virus in a Centers for Disease Control lab. Years later, with Francis’ help, the Bay Area company Genentech initiated efforts to develop a vaccine. At Genentech, candidate vaccines effectively protected chimpanzees from HIV infection and human trials were initiated. From Genentech, to a spin-off called VaxGen, and later to a nonprofit company called Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases, Francis has been a fierce advocate for the creation of an HIV vaccine.

Mon 8/11

Image - The Men's Story Project

The Men's Story Project

Date: Mon, August 11, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Celebrates men’s beauty and humanity and stimulates dialogue.

Josie Lehrer, ScD, Founder/Director, Men’s Story Project; Senior Technical Specialist, Gender, Violence and Health, International Center for Research on Women

For this summer's August platforum series, Monday Night Philosophy highlights the Men's Story Project, a replicable storytelling and dialogue project in which men publicly share life stories that explore social ideas about masculinity, through the lens of their own experience. The MSP highlights men's stories that are less often heard, breaks the silence on issues including sexism, racism, homo/transphobia, ableism and violence, celebrates men’s beauty and humanity and stimulates critical dialogue on masculinities. The MSP aims to help expand the presence of genuine self-expression, health and justice in communities.