Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Mon 4/20

Image - When Cultures Collide

When Cultures Collide

Date: Mon, April 20, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
International communications experts share the advances to bridging cultural gaps.

Richard D. Lewis, Linguist; Founder, Richard Lewis Communications; Founder Berlitz Schools; Author, When Cultures Collide; Knight Commander, Order of the Lion of Finland
Michael Gates, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School; Vice-Chairman, Richard Lewis Communications
Craig Martin, Founder, Martin Global Leaders – Moderator

Unforeseen cultural differences are frequently the source of misunderstandings between individuals, nations and businesses. Cultural predispositions that inform our sense of self and nationality have especially far-reaching implications for organizations working across the globe. Understanding these factors and predicting how differing cultures will interact and allow (or hinder) effective communication, cooperation and decision-making is a source of great advantage, particularly in today's interconnected and inflammable world. Among the leaders of this approach are Richard Lewis and Michael Gates, international communications experts who will share with us the advances brought to bridging cultural gaps through the globally respected Lewis Model.

Image - Cédric Villani: The Living Art of Mathematics

Cédric Villani: The Living Art of Mathematics

Date: Mon, April 20, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
In conversation with David Eisenbud

Cédric Villani, Mathematician; Author, Birth of a Theorem
In conversation with David Eisenbud, Director, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute

In 2010, French mathematician Cédric Villani received the Fields Medal, the most coveted prize in mathematics, in recognition of a proof which he devised with his close collaborator Clément Mouhot to explain one of the most surprising theories in classical physics. Birth of a Theorem is Villani's own account of the years leading up to the award. It invites readers inside the mind of a great mathematician as he wrestles with the most important work of his career.

Join us for an insightful visit about mathematical thinking and its ability to enhance perception. In mathematics, as in any creative work, it is the thinker's whole life that propels discovery, and Cédric Villani will welcome you into his.

Tue 4/21

Image - Grover Norquist: End The IRS

Grover Norquist: End The IRS

Date: Tue, April 21, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform; Author, End the IRS Before it Ends Us; Twitter @GroverNorquist

Arianna Huffington calls Grover Norquist “the dark wizard of the Right's anti-tax cult.” Newt Gingrich says Mr. Norquist is “the most innovative, courageous leader of conservative grassroots activism in America.” Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform in 1985 to limit the size and cost of government. ATR organizes the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which asks all candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases. In the 113th Congress, 219 House members and 41 Senators took the pledge.

Mr. Norquist contends that the IRS has abused and bullied the American people and proposes to replace all federal taxes with a single retail sales tax. Bring your questions for this controversial figure, who will present an alternative future where the IRS is radically curtailed.

Wed 4/22

Image - Big Weed: An Entrepreneur's High-Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal

Big Weed: An Entrepreneur's High-Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal Marijuana Business

Date: Wed, April 22, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Christian Hageseth, Founder of Green Man Cannabis

Christian Hageseth, Founder, Green Man Cannabis

Christian Hageseth is the face of the legal marijuana revolution – an entrepreneur and father of three who worked in the white-collar professional world for 20 years before opening his first dispensary. The founder and chairman of Green Man Cannabis, the fastest-growing marijuana company in the country, he provides a guide through a wild frontier where he says police hardly know what laws to enforce and parents don’t know what to tell their kids. Hageseth will discuss how he got into the business, the big corporate interests that are eager to do the same, and the full impact he believes legal marijuana will have on American life.

Image - Let's Talk about Death: How Boomers Are Transforming the Last Taboo

Let's Talk about Death: How Boomers Are Transforming the Last Taboo

Date: Wed, April 22, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With experts from SevenPonds

Suzette Sherman, CEO, Founder & Blogger, SevenPonds
Peter Stathis, Board of Directors member, SevenPonds

Nobody likes to talk about death, yet a cultural paradigm shift is taking place where the macabre reaper of the past is being replaced with a contemporary, progressive attitude toward end-of-life. Marin County's 97-percent cremation rate reflects this trend. Next year, a third of our population will be over the age of 50. As the Boomers face their own mortality, they've begun to transform the last taboo: death. Sherman and Stathis, principals of SevenPonds.com, will immerse the audience in a surprising spectrum of end-of-life choices that fully empower all people to die and grieve as they wish.

Image - Coal Wars

Coal Wars

Date: Wed, April 22, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
With author Richard Martin

Richard Martin, Author, Coal Wars: The Future of Energy and the Fate of the Planet
Additional Panelists TBA

Coal is taking a beating in the United States, but it is gaining market share in Asia. Coal-fired electricity is lifting people out of poverty. It is also frying the sky. Join us for a journey from the mines of Wyoming to China’s coal region.

Fri 4/24

Image - Arabian Shakespeare

Arabian Shakespeare

Date: Fri, April 24, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With Philippa Kelly, William Brown 111 and Asma Dhaif

William Brown III, Actor; Founding Director, Arabian Shakespeare Festival
Asma Dhaif, Masters Student in Instructional Technologies, SFSU
Philippa Kelly, PhD; Educator; Shakespeare Expert – Moderator

In 2010 three Bay Area actors traveled to the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain to teach a small group of excited women students foundational aspects of theater, aided by Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies, histories and sonnets. After just two weeks, their students performed their favorite scenes in both English and Arabic before an enraptured audience of nearly 400. From this outpouring of enthusiasm the Arabian Shakespeare Festival was born. The company now seeks to build bridges between the United States and the Middle East by delving into the bard’s universal themes of love and hate, life and death, and vengeance and forgiveness on both sides of the seas. Brown, ASF founder and director, and Dr. Kelly explore Shakespeare’s reach into the Middle East and tackle the ongoing enigma of the bard’s true identity.

Wed 4/29

Image - Reimagining America's Infrastructure

Reimagining America's Infrastructure

Date: Wed, April 29, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Ginger Strand, Environmental Journalist; Historian; Author, Inventing Niagara: Beauty, Power and Lies
Benjamin Grant, Urban Design Policy Director, SPUR
H. Emerson Black, Editor-in-Chief, Orion Magazine; Executive Director, The Orion Society

Once a point of national pride, America's infrastructure is showing its age. Yet even in their heyday, the big infrastructure projects of the past were not always mindful of the communities in which they were built, nor did their designs appropriately reflect the varying regional needs of our broad nation. Over the past two years, Orion, an influential environmentalist magazine with stewardship at its core, has run a revealing series about responses to America’s looming infrastructure crisis. Its journalists have documented how communities are responding to new and old challenges, from protecting cities against super-powered hurricanes to renovating antiquated transportation systems. Take part as our panelists discuss how regions such as the San Francisco Bay Area can advance innovative, creative infrastructure solutions with a global reach.

Image - What’s the Value of a College Education?

What’s the Value of a College Education?

Date: Wed, April 29, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Nicholas Dirks, Chancellor, University of California Berkeley
Mohammad Qayoumi, President, California State University San Jose
Mary Marcy, President, Dominican University of California
Alecia DeCoudreaux, President, Mills College
Richard Ekman, President, Council of Independent Colleges

For the United States to remain competitive in the global economy, our citizens need to be innovative, versatile and well-educated. To provide for these qualifications, does our model of higher education need a wholesale renovation? What would an education that is tailored to the needs of the 21st century – and affordable to all – even look like?

Join this distinguished panel of public and private college educators to tackle the difficult challenges ahead: What is the value of a liberal arts college education versus a pre-professional vocational skill-building model? Why does college cost so much? How can we close the gap between attendance and graduation rates? Can we design blended in-person and online courses that are both instructive and cost-efficient? And finally, how can we get our state and federal governments to continue to support higher education and to take the financial burden off of students?

Fri 5/1

Image - Out of Sight: LA Art in the '60s

Out of Sight: LA Art in the '60s

Date: Fri, May 01, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With William Hackman and Patricia Albers

William Hackman, Journalist; Former Managing Editor, J. Paul Getty Trust; Author, Out of Sight: The Los Angeles Art Scene of the Sixties
In conversation with Patricia Albers, Journalist, Author, Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter and Shadows, Fire, Snow: The Life of Tina Modotti

Art, perhaps more than any other medium, has a way of serving as a roadmap for a society’s political, social and aesthetic shifts. In the 1950s and ’60s, it was the Los Angeles art scene – more than that of New York City – that revealed the sort of country America was, and the sort of place it was rapidly becoming. Vital to LA’s vibrant arts’ landscape was curator Walter Hopps and the artists who surrounded him, such as Marcel Duchamp, Judy Chicago, John Baldessari, Bruce Nauman and Ed Kienholz. Hackman, a longtime arts journalist, reveals how their works interact with the city’s geography, burgeoning right-wing activism and the conflict between bohemia, masculinity and sexuality, presenting a vivid picture of mid-century Los Angeles.

Tue 5/5

Image - Psychological Pseudoscience

Psychological Pseudoscience

Date: Tue, May 05, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With Sheldon W. Helms, Associate Professor of Psychology

Sheldon W. Helms, Associate Professor of Psychology, Ohlone College; Board of Directors Member, Bay Area Skeptics; Founder, Ohlone Psychology Club Speaker Series

As medical doctors battle homeopathy and anti-vaccine myths, anthropologists counter creationist claims, and dietitians deal with the battle against gluten and GMOs, much of the skeptical community is oddly silent on dubious claims from fringe psychology. In this talk, psychology professor Sheldon W. Helms will discuss unsupported and sometimes dangerously pseudo-scientific claims from the field of psychology, giving a brief history and explanation of each practice or theory, and demonstrating how a simple application of the scientific method reveals its flaws.

Image - Willie Brown: Annual Commonwealth Club Lecture

Willie Brown: Annual Commonwealth Club Lecture

Date: Tue, May 05, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Former San Francisco Mayor

Willie Brown, Former Mayor, San Francisco; Former Speaker, California State Assembly

Former San Francisco Mayor Brown will give his annual lecture on national and regional political trends. A two-term mayor of San Francisco, legendary speaker of the California State Assembly and widely regarded as one of the most influential African-American politicians of the late 20th century, Brown has been at the center of California politics, government and civic life for an astonishing four decades.

Wed 5/6

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Humanities West Book Discussion: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Date: Wed, May 06, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
The classic novel about World War I.

Join us to discuss the classic novel about World War I, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. The discussion will be led by Lynn Harris.

Image - Lights, Camera, Take Action; Storytelling for Change

Lights, Camera, Take Action; Storytelling for Change: The San Francisco Green Film Festival

Date: Wed, May 06, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Hear from tenacious, award-winning activist filmmakers.

Mark Decena, Founder, Kontent Films; Writer and Director, Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West
Leah Mahan, Producer and Director, Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek
Kevin White, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Filmmaker's Collaborative San Francisco
Rachel Caplan, Founder and CEO, San Francisco Green Film Festival – Moderator

Environmental action stories often struggle for coverage on major broadcast networks dominated by larger corporate interests. But if not on television, where are we supposed to find the stories that will inspire a new generation of activists? Documentary films are increasingly a powerful way to cut through the noise, connect with people, and build momentum for action on environmental causes.

The evocative documentary film has a purpose that compels its director to grapple with the essence of the art form. What is the magic of its storytelling? How do we reach a wide audience through the medium? Most critically, how can we use this kind of storytelling to change opinions and to effect new policies?

Hear from tenacious, award-winning activist filmmakers who are using this impactful medium to bring us the stories that motivate environmental progress. Panelists will share clips from their films, uncovering their approaches and successes in bringing their difference-making stories to the screen. Plus, get a sneak peek of the upcoming San Francisco Green Film Festival, running from May 28 through June 4.

Thu 5/7

Image - Unretirement: Changing the Way We Think About Work,

Unretirement: Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community and the Good Life

Date: Thu, May 07, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With author Chris Farrell.

Chris Farrell, Author; Senior Economics Contributor, Marketplace; Economics Commentator, Minnesota Public Radio; Columnist, Bloomberg Businessweek, Next Avenue and Star Tribune

The United States is on the verge of a broad, positive transformation of its economy and society. The old idea of “retirement” – not working – is going away. The boomer generation is increasing embracing “unretirement,” continuing to do some kind of work during the traditional retirement years. Many aging boomers are looking for part-time and contract work or flexible jobs, and starting new entrepreneurial ventures. When done right, their experience, wisdom and continued earnings will benefit the American workplace, dramatically ease financial worries, and enrich our communities and society. Farrell will offer key insights into the economic and social forces behind the unretirement trend, and offer practical advice for navigating this exciting, but unsettled, frontier.

Image - Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Date: Thu, May 07, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Discuss current international issues.

All interested Club members are welcome to attend our bimonthly, one-hour planning meetings of the International Relations Member-Led Forum. We focus on Europe, Latin America, Africa and worldwide topics. Join us to discuss current international issues and plan programs for the remainder of 2015.

Image - Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley

Date: Thu, May 07, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A journey through mid-century America.

Jane Smiley, Novelist; Author, Early Warning

Pulitzer Prize winner Smiley has written about a journey through mid-century America, as lived by the extraordinary Langdon family. Early Warning opens in 1953 with the Langdons at a crossroads. Their stalwart patriarch Walter, who with his wife had sustained their Iowa farm for three decades, has suddenly died, leaving their five children looking to the future. Only one will remain to work the land, while the others scatter to Washington, DC, California, and everywhere in between. As the country moves out of postwar optimism through the Cold War, the social and sexual revolutions of the 1960s and '70s, and then into the unprecedented wealth – for some – of the early '80s, the Langdon children will have children of their own: twin boys who are best friends and vicious rivals; a girl whose rebellious spirit takes her to the notorious Peoples Temple in San Francisco; and a golden boy who drops out of college to fight in Vietnam – leaving behind a secret legacy that will send shockwaves through the Langdon family into the next generation. Capturing an indelible period in America through the lens of richly drawn characters, Early Warning is an engrossing story of the challenges – and rich rewards – of family and home, even in the most turbulent of times.

Fri 5/8

Image - Hacking the Climate

Hacking the Climate

Date: Fri, May 08, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With Ken Caldeira, Atmospheric Scientist

Ken Caldeira, Atmospheric Scientist, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford
Additional Panelists TBA

Could the world get so hot that humanity is tempted to break the glass and spray heat-deflecting gases into the sky? The National Academy of Sciences recently issued a report cautiously endorsing research into such techniques known as geo-engineering. Join us for a discussion of hacking the climate to cool the Earth.

Mon 5/11

Image - The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice

The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice

Date: Mon, May 11, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author William Damon

William Damon, Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education; Co-author, The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice

The Power of Ideals thoroughly examines the full range of available research on moral choice and presents a compelling new theory. It takes into account current scientific claims and explores our undeniable capacity to act on noble ideals, to make principled moral choices, and to live lives of generosity, integrity and genuine human connection.

Wed 5/13

Image - The State of California's Water: Now and In The Future

The State of California's Water: Now and In the Future

Date: Wed, May 13, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board

Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board

California is in the midst of a historic drought, with agriculture, communities, and fish and wildlife struggling with water shortages. At the same time, the state is looking at a future where these conflicts will be exacerbated by climate change, increased population, and other factors. Learn what California is doing at this point in the drought and the plans to prepare for an even more challenging future.