Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Wed 10/19

Image - Marcus Samuelsson

Chef Marcus Samuelsson: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem

Date: Wed, October 19, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Kitchen adventures from Ethiopia to Sweden to Harlem

Marcus Samuelsson, Chef; Author, The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem; Twitter:

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

When Chef Samuelsson opened Red Rooster in Harlem, he envisioned more than just a restaurant. He wanted to create a melting pot that would highlight Harlem’s vibrant multicultural history with food, art and music.

A James Beard award-winner, Samuelsson reflects on his journey from Ethiopia to Sweden to Harlem, and all the kitchen adventures he has encountered along the way.

Thu 10/20

Image - Eric Swalwell

Election Education: An Evening with Rep. Eric Swalwell

Date: Thu, October 20, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Eric Swalwell, U.S. Representative (D, CA-15)
Nellie Bowles, Silicon Valley Correspondent, HBO'S "Vice News Tonight"—Moderator

Congressman Eric Swalwell has quickly made a name for himself as the voice of the millennial generation in Congress. The first person in his family to go to college, Rep. Swalwell is fighting for student loan reform and advocating for affordable housing and paid family leave.

An avid user of social media platforms like Snapchat and Twitter, Swalwell has even inspired the popular hashtag #Swalwelling. He’s also believed to be the first member of Congress to Vine on the House floor and he has used Facebook Live to stream from the House chamber.

Last year Swalwell created the bipartisan Sharing Economy Caucus with Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, which focuses on the opportunities and challenges related to the rise of companies like Uber and Airbnb. Rep. Swalwell is also a member of the United Solutions Caucus, created in 2012 by a group of incoming freshman lawmakers who are working across political party lines to address important policy matters.

Join INFORUM to hear more from this political up-and-comer and to share your thoughts with him about the issues that matter most to you as we look toward the 2016 elections.

Fri 10/21

Image - Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben: An Unlikely Activist

Date: Fri, October 21, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
A veteran of three decades of climate activism

Bill McKibben, Co-founder, 350.org

As we careen toward unknown climatic changes and near the end of an equally unpredictable election cycle, what will the political and planetary climate be in 2017? Is climate disruption an issue high on the minds of the voters and political leaders? As co-founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben has been working to influence major policy decisions around the world with campaigns such as Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline, Frack Free California and Break Free from Fossil Fuels.

Have those demonstrations actually kept carbon in the ground? What has his organization 350.org been focused on this election cycle, and what are his thoughts on 2017? Join us for politics, activism and stories from 30 years of writing and fighting.

Image - Barbara Rose Brooker

Dispelling Ageism: The Journey of the Age March

Date: Fri, October 21, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Finding and enjoying love at any age

Barbara Rose Brooker, Author, The Viagra Diaries and There's Something Wrong with All of Them

Years of age is a poor metric for quality of life. The true measure is functional ability and one's capacity to enjoy life. Come join Barbara Rose Brooker, San Francisco native author and founder of the first Age March in history. She will talk about the journey of the Age March and her dream that ageism will dissolve and numbers won’t matter.

“Anything is possible at any age,” Brooker says. She will then read from her new book, There’s Something Wrong with All of Them, stories about finding love after 60, love and ageism.

Mon 10/24

Humanities West Book Discussion: The World of Yesterday, by Stefan Zweig

Date: Mon, October 24, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM
Portrait of an era

Join us to discuss Stefan Zweig's The World of Yesterday. Written as both a recollection of the past and a warning for future generations, it recalls the golden age of literary Vienna—its seeming permanence, its promise and its devastating fall. Surrounded by the leading literary lights of the epoch, Zweig draws a vivid and intimate account of his life and travels through Vienna, Paris, Berlin and London, touching on the very heart of European culture. His passionate, evocative prose paints a stunning portrait of an era that danced brilliantly on the edge of extinction. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

Image - David Bodanis

Einstein's Greatest Mistake

Date: Mon, October 24, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Just how great could Einstein have been?

David Bodanis, Author, Einstein's Greatest Mistake

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

David Bodanis, best-selling author of E=mc2, has written a brisk, accessible biography of Albert Einstein that reveals his genius and his hubris. Einstein revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos with his general theory of relativity. Yet in the final decades of his life he was also ignored by most scientists. Bodanis explains how Einstein’s imagination and self-confidence led to his early successes, but when it came to newer revelations in quantum mechanics, those same traits undermined his quest for the ultimate truth. Einstein’s conviction in his own intuition proved to be his ultimate undoing.

An intimate and enlightening biography of the celebrated physicist, Einstein’s Greatest Mistake reveals how much we owe Einstein today—and how much more he might have achieved.

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, October 24, 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 - spaceship

How to Make a Spaceship! (without NASA)

Date: Mon, October 24, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
The private space race is on!

Julian Guthrie, Journalist; Author, How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight
Mike Melvill, World's First Commercial Astronaut
Matt Stinemetze, Engineer and Project Manager, Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne
Erik Lindbergh, Grandson of Aviators Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh; Supporter of Private Race to Space
Brian Hackney, Electrical Engineer and Meteorologist, KPIX-TV CBS San Francisco—Moderator

Virgin founder Richard Branson said of Guthrie’s book, “This tells of a turning point in history, when entrepreneurs were offered the chance to do something only governments had done before. Whether you are 9 years old or 99, this inspiring tale will capture your imagination.”

Come meet the band of renegades who launched the private race to space, and the scrappy engineers and pilots who set out to win the $10 million prize offered to the first team that could build and fly a rocket to the start of space without the government's help. This is the entrepreneurial adventure story of Peter Diamandis, the XPRIZE, SpaceShipOne, and the other teams in the hunt. The winning of the XPRIZE wasn’t just a victory for one team; it was the foundation for a new industry and a new age—SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic. It is about dreamers and doers, and making the impossible possible.

Tue 10/25

Image - Candice Shy Hooper

Lincoln’s Generals’ Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War, for Better and for Worse

Date: Tue, October 25, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Influencing history

Candice Shy Hooper, Author, Lincoln's Generals' Wives

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

The story of the American Civil War isn’t complete without examining the extraordinary lives of Jessie Fremont, Nelly McClellan, Ellen Sherman, and Julia Grant, who were their husbands’ closest confidantes and had a profound impact on their ambitions and actions. Once shots were fired on Fort Sumter, the women were launched into a new world, where their relationships with their husbands and their personal opinions of the president of the United States had national and historical consequences. Using letters, memoirs, and photographs—and for the first time, maps of the women’s wartime travels—Hooper reveals how these four generals’ wives powerfully influenced our history.

Wed 10/26

Image - Tom Stienstra

Tom Stienstra: The Mighty T, from Glacier to Golden Gate

Date: Wed, October 26, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Meet the nation's most-award winning outdoors writer

Tom Stienstra, Outdoors Writer, San Francisco Chronicle

America's best-known outdoors man and the SF Chronicle outdoors editor (lucky us), Stienstra will share dramatic photos, videos and stories from his expedition to climb the Lyell Glacier in Yosemite National Park, where he traces the melting drops of water to the Tuolumne River en route to San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. His expedition is the storyline for national PBS showing that will air in the late fall.

Stienstra is the nation's only four-time winner of the OWAA President's Award, National Outdoor Writer of the Year, and only the fourth living member inducted into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame

Thu 10/27

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, October 27, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM
Explore San Francisco's Financial District

Explore San Francisco’s Financial District with historian Rick Evans and learn the history and stories behind some of our city’s remarkable structures, streets, and public squares. Hear about the famous architects that influenced the building of San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake. Discover hard-to-find rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, unique open spaces, and historic landmarks. This is a tour for locals, with hidden gems you can only find on foot!

Fri 10/28

Image - Joel McHale

Joel McHale Live

Date: Fri, October 28, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
"The Soup" and "Community" star

Joel McHale, Actor; Author, Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be

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

Joel McHale is one of America’s favorite funny men, from "Community" and "The Soup" to sold-out stand-up comedy shows, and he’s ready to let INFORUM behind the scenes of the comedic life. His brand-new memoir Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be, is part memoir, part “self-help” book, and all hilarious.

Thanks for the Money covers Joel’s ascent to fame, insider celeb secrets, tongue-in-cheek tips for becoming Joel, and more, plus graphics and charts to give you a truly illustrated perspective on it all.

Whether you want to know if there’s an upcoming "Community" movie starring Joel as Jeff Winger, or are dying to know what pop culture gossip never made it on to "The Soup," get your tickets now!

Tue 11/1

A Place to Call Home

Date: Tue, November 01, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Part of the People, Power, Place series, which addresses access and equity in the Bay Area

Panelists TBA

Sponsored by the San Francisco Foundation as part of the People, Power, Place Series, which addresses access and equity in the Bay Area.

The Bay Area is in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis. The way that we deal with this crisis will have repercussions for generations to come. Across the Bay Area, everyone is feeling the effects, but none more than the 1 million working families—predominantly people of color—living below the poverty line. Without significant coordinated intervention, the housing crisis threatens to displace more than 1.5 million people in the Bay Area and erode the diversity, cultural vitality and spirit that make the Bay Area a successful, prosperous and resilient region.

Despite the obvious challenges, there is growing awareness among elected officials, policymakers, business leaders and the general public of the magnitude of the region’s housing crisis, and we have seen significant willingness among all of these groups to take action.

In this forum, we will hear from experts in government, the housing industry, and the nonprofit community about how to ensure that all residents in the Bay Area have a safe, affordable place to call home.

The San Francisco Foundation

Wed 11/2

Image - David Knitter

How to Protect Against Financial Elder Abuse

Date: Wed, November 02, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
Identifying and avoiding threats

David G. Knitter, Attorney; Member, Executive Committee for the Trusts and Estates Section, State Bar of California; Past President, Solano County Bar Association

David Knitter, the chair of the Educating Seniors Project of the State Bar of California, has deep experience with elders and their adult children, and he has trained attorneys to identify elder financial abuse and pursue remedies when abuse occurs. Learn from him how to protect yourself or elder family members from becoming the victim of financial elder abuse.

The presentation will also provide tips on how to identify who the abusers are and determine whether elder financial abuse may be occurring.

Image - Chef Jeremiah Tower

Chef Jeremiah Tower: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother?

Date: Wed, November 02, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
An Elements of Style for the table

Jeremiah Tower, Chef; Author, Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother; Twitter
In conversation with Amanda Haas, Culinary Director, Williams-Sonoma

Jeremiah Tower was a founding chef in the 1970s at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse restaurant and is widely credited as one of the creators of both New American Cuisine and California Cuisine. In 1984, Tower opened his own restaurant, Stars, in San Francisco. It was an overnight sensation and fostered the careers of numerous American chefs, including Mark Franz, Mario Batali, Tim Grable, Emily Luchetti and Jerry Traunfeld. The restaurant was among the top-grossing restaurants in the United States for close to a decade. Tower went on to win a James Beard Award as the best chef in America, hosted a PBS Series and opened restaurants in Singapore and Hong Kong. He holds a degree in architecture from Harvard.

Come hear his both witty and serious thoughts on manners in 2016—at the dinner party, the bar or in your own home. Tower has advice on everything: food allergies, RSVPs, iPhones, running late, thank-yous, restaurant etiquette, even what to do when you are served something disgusting.

Image - Ben Franklin Circles

Ben Franklin Circles

Date: Wed, November 02, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Bringing people together to discuss pressing philosophical & ethical issues

Join us monthly, every first Wednesday, for a 21st-century version of Ben Franklin’s mutual improvement club. One evening a week, for more than 40 years, the founding father discussed and debated with his friends the 13 virtues that he felt formed the basis for personal and civic improvement, a list he created when he was 20 years old. The virtues to which he aspired included justice, resolution and humility (but don't misunderstand Ben on that one—his explanation of humility was "imitate Jesus and Socrates").

Ben Franklin Circles bring people together to discuss the most pressing philosophical and ethical issues of our time with the goal of improving ourselves and our world.

Thu 11/3

Image - Adam Gazzaley

The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World

Date: Thu, November 03, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D., Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco; Founding Director, Neuroscience Imaging Center, Neuroscape Lab and the Gazzaley Lab; Co-founder and Chief Science Advisor, Akili Interactive; Co-founder and Chief Scientist, JAZZ Venture Partners; Co-author, The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World

We are living in extraordinary times. Rapid advances in information technology continuously transform our lives in countless ways. But we are now aware that our increasingly information-saturated world, coupled with growing expectations of constant availability and immediate responsiveness, can place excessive demands on our brains. The consequences can include detrimental effects on our safety, education, workplace and relationships with family and friends. Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist and trailblazer in the study of how our brains process information, will take us on a journey into how and why we struggle with interruptions and distractions that emerge from both our inner and outer worlds.

He will present a unique evolutionary perspective that the very essence of what has evolved in our brains to make us most human—our ability to set high-level goals —collides head-first with our brain’s fundamental limitations in cognitive control. He will conclude by offering practical strategies for modifying our behavior, as well as sharing his lab's latest innovations in enhancing our brain's function, so that we can better survive and thrive in the information age.

Image - Kerrin Meis

Egon Schiele: A Feminist Artist Ahead of His Time

Date: Thu, November 03, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Kerrin Meis, Retired Lecturer, SFSU; Teacher, OLLI Berkeley and OLLI San Rafael

Egon Schiele, artistically active in Vienna during the last days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, adored women, and was influenced by the fin-de-siècle preoccupation with sex. The Viennese artist was excited by Sigmund Freud's 1905 Theories of Sexuality, Gustav Mahler’s suggestive music, and Gustav Klimt's gorgeous images of desire. Schiele was even more audacious in his nudes and his explorations of self in his self-portraits, in his landscapes of the small village where he had retreated from Vienna (and was imprisoned for his erotic art) and in his deeply perceptive portraits. His many masterpieces explore the mysteries of love and death.

Mon 11/7

Image - Leana Wen

Public Health and Physician Activism: Lessons from Baltimore

Date: Mon, November 07, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Leana Wen, MD, Emergency Physician, Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City; TED MED Speaker; Author, When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests

The Sixth Annual Lundberg Institute lecture focuses on Dr. Wen's experiences as Baltimore's commissioner of health during times of change, as our medical institutions are under pressure from all sides. She will also draw on her personal experiences as a child immigrant, who started learning English at age 8, but by 18 had already graduated summa cum laude from college. She will explain how those experiences have influenced her interest in improving patient-physician communication.

Wed 11/9

Image - Erin Byrne

Wings: Gifts of Art, Life and Travel in France

Date: Wed, November 09, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Erin Byrne, Author, Wings: Gifts of Art, Life, and Travel in France

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

France is steeped in refined traditions, with its rich history, exquisite art, robust culture and varied cuisine. Erin Byrne's essays draw upon her trips, from Cézanne’s studio in Aix-en-Provence to a tiny village in the Jura Mountains, from a Left Bank neighborhood bistro to a plain high above the Normandy beaches. She collects stories, characters, tastes and secrets that act as ingredients for change, and then digs deeper to uncover meaning. Henri Cartier-Bresson issues a challenge, Sainte Geneviève offers resilience, Salvador Dalí seduces, Picasso entertains, and a wrought iron sign portends the future.

Wings, which won the Paris Book Festival award for travel genre, is about the gifts that we all glean from our travels.