Upcoming Events

Mon 7/28

Image - Just Added: Daniel Russel,

Just Added: Daniel Russel, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Date: Mon, July 28, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Advancing peace and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region

Philip Yun, Executive Director, Ploughshares Fund ­­– Moderator


Advancing Peace and Prosperity in the Asia Pacific Region


The U.S. economy is increasingly intertwined with the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. Regional tensions, particularly in the South China Sea, may pose challenges for U.S. interests.  How can the United States help reduce tensions and support long-term peace and prosperity in the region?  Hear the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia and the Pacific, Assistant Secretary of State Danny Russel, argue that building strong regional institutions contributes to long-term peace and prosperity, and why he believes an immediate freeze on provocative actions is essential for stability in the near term.


Prior to his appointment as assistant secretary in 2013, Russel served at the White House as special assistant to the president and National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs. During his tenure there, he helped formulate President Obama’s strategic rebalance to the Asia Pacific region, including efforts to strengthen alliances, deepen U.S. engagement with multilateral organizations, and expand cooperation with emerging powers in the region.

Image - Gay Conversion Therapy

Gay Conversion Therapy

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

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?

Image - Middle East Discussion Group

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, July 28, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East. Each month, the Middle East Member-Led Forum hosts an informal roundtable discussion on a topic frequently suggested by recent headlines. After a brief introduction, the floor will be open for discussion. All interested members are encouraged to attend. There will also be a brief planning session.

Week to Week Political Roundtable at The Commonwealth Club of California

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 7/28/14

Date: Mon, July 28, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Cool political talk during the hot summer

Bill Whalen, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Twitter @hooverwhalen
C.W. Nevius, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter @cwnevius
Melissa Griffin Caen, Contributor, KPIX-TV and San Francisco Magazine; Attorney; Twitter @melgriffincaen

In the heat of the summer, political commentators sometimes get too heated during their discussions. At Week to Week, we bring together San Francisco's cool summer breezes 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 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 7/29

Image - Opening Reception and Walk-Through for “LGBT Art: Our Common Wealth"

Opening Reception and Walk-Through for “LGBT Art: Our Common Wealth"

Date: Tue, July 29, 2014
Time: 5:00 PM

Join the Commonwealth Club and members of The Queer Cultural Center with artists from the current exhibition for a reception and walk-through of the exhibit. Artists Rudy Lemcke, Lenore Chinn, Bren Ahearn, Indira Allegra and Preston Gannaway join curator Pamela Peniston in an examination of their work and a discussion of LBGT art.

Image - Former U.S. Naval Operations Chief Admiral Gary Roughead: Disorder, Disr

Former U.S. Naval Operations Chief Admiral Gary Roughead: Disorder, Disruption and Military Intervention

Date: Tue, July 29, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Gary Roughead, Admiral; Former Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy
Jeffrey Bleich, Former U.S. Ambassador to Australia; Partner, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP - Moderator

While Russia increases patrols in the Atlantic and the Pacific, Iran and North Korea make threats to sink U.S. ships and Iraq is engulfed by violence, what factors should determine U.S. military intervention? With an eye on the U.S. military's involvement in areas of civil conflict, Admiral Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations from 2007 to 2011, will discuss current and past conflict regions where the U.S. was asked to intervene and assist. From Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda to Ukraine, where has the U.S. been involved or specifically chosen not to get involved? How do these past interventions influence present actions?

Thu 7/31

Image - Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader

Date: Thu, July 31, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Ralph Nader, Political Activist; Author, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State; Twitter @RalphNader
Debra J. Saunders, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; “Token Conservative” Blogger, SFGate.com; Twitter @debrajsaunders — Moderator

Ralph Nader has fought for decades on behalf of American citizens against what he sees as the pervasive influence of corporations on our society. Large majorities tell pollsters that big corporations have too much political power, and Nader believes that the ever-tightening influence of big business on the mainstream media, elections and our government have caused many Americans to believe they have no political voice.

Nader draws on a half century of his own experience working with the grassroots and Congress and tells of many surprising victories that have united progressive and conservative forces. Far from espousing compromises that meet halfway, Nader argues that citizens of different political labels must join in the struggle against the corporate state, because if left unchecked, that corporate state will ruin the republic, shred the Constitution, and stampede over the rights of the American people.

Mon 8/4

Image - Hollywood and the LGBT Journey
This event is Postponed

Hollywood and the LGBT Journey

Date: Mon, August 04, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Donna Sachet, Media Personality; Actor; Community Activist
Jan Wahl, Film Critic, KRON 4

Donna Sachet has been a San Francisco performer and icon for decades, from being elected Empress of San Francisco to serving as Grand Marshal for the SF Pride parade. In 2009, Sachet became the first drag performer to sing the national anthem at a Major League Baseball game. Donna Sachet and film critic Jan Wahl "dish-cuss" the LGBT journey in Hollywood, past and present.

Image - Discussion of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Discussion of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Date: Mon, August 04, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

We've all probably read this one, but it is well worth revisiting. Everybody is happy in the Year of Ford 632 – the Alphas, the Betas, Gammas and Deltas – even the Epsilon semi-morons (someone has to take out the garbage). So many of life's troubles have been eliminated. Of course, if you are a slightly deformed Alpha who thinks too much, or a young man wrenched from the Savage Reservation of New Mexico (where life is nasty, brutish and real), you may have problems.

Huxley was a unforgiving critic of popular culture and in our sex-drenched, drug fueled world, where college youth casually "hook up" (everyone belongs to everyone else) and demand "trigger warnings" to shield them from the traumas that works of literature might hold in store, Brave New World is surprisingly up-to-date.

Image - From Ignorance to Acceptance: How the LGBT Movement Has Evolved in a Lif

Ambassador James Hormel: How the LGBTQ Movement Has Evolved In a Lifetime

Date: Mon, August 04, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

James C. Hormel, Former U.S. Ambassador, Luxembourg; Author; Philanthropist; Political Activist
In conversation with Dr. Sandra Hernández, President and CEO, California HealthCare Foundation
Introduction by John Boland, President and CEO, KQED San Francisco

James Hormel realized that he was gay at a time when homosexuality was not discussed or accepted. He will review the social history of the United States since 1945 to see how LGBTQ Americans progressed from exclusion to inclusion. Looking toward the future, he will discuss the key to the advancement of equality.

Tue 8/5

Image - 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.

Image - When Gay Isn’t Global: How Organizations Remain LBGT-friendly Where a Na
This event is Cancelled

When Gay Isn’t Global: How Organizations Remain LBGT-friendly Where a Nation Isn’t

Date: Tue, August 05, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
The effect of corporate policy on international business.

DJ Peterson, President, Longview Capital Advisors; Twitter @dj_longview
Additional panelists TBA

The world has never been more divided on the issue of LGBT equality. National anti-LGBT laws create a widespread impact that extends beyond citizens and visitors. They create deep challenges for companies operating across international borders. Join DJ and other corporate leaders in an exploration of the challenges and benefits of maintaining an authentic commitment to corporate values on a global scale. How are executives “looking beyond” and thinking bigger than their businesses?

Wed 8/6

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

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.

Image - Michael Malone: The Story Behind Intel

Michael Malone: The Story Behind Intel

Date: Wed, August 06, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Michael Malone, Author, The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World’s Most Important Company
Angie Coiro, Host, “In Deep” – Moderator

As the legendary inventor of the microprocessor, Intel’s success is largely credited to the visionaries who helped change the landscape of the tech industry: Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove. From his unprecedented access through the corporate archives, Malone has chronicled the company’s history and will offer his thoughts on some of the formidable challenges Intel faces in the future.

Thu 8/7

Image - North Beach Walking Tour
This event is Sold Out

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Thu, August 07, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Food, culture, history and views intersect!

Join another Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Explore vibrant North Beach with Rick Evans during a two-hour walk through this neighborhood with a colorful past, where food, culture, history and unexpected views all intersect in an Italian “urban village.” In addition to learning about Beat generation hangouts, you’ll discover authentic Italian cathedrals and coffee shops. 

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.

Image - Nina Teicholz: The Big Fat Surprise – Are Butter, Meat and Cheese Health

Nina Teicholz: The Big Fat Surprise – Are Butter, Meat and Cheese Healthy?

Date: Thu, August 07, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A study of the undeserved bad reputation of saturated fats.

Nina Teicholz, Author, The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

Ronald M. Krauss, M.D., Senior Scientist and Director, Atherosclerosis Research, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute; Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine, UCSF and Department of Nutritional Sciences, U.C. Berkeley - Moderator

Investigative journalist Nina Teicholz spent nine years deeply researching the effect that fats have on our bodies. She found the unthinkable: everything we thought we knew about dietary fats is wrong. For decades, we have been told that the best possible diet involves cutting back on fat, especially saturated fat, and that if we are not getting healthier or thinner it must be because we are not trying hard enough. What if those exact foods we’ve been denying ourselves — the creamy cheeses, the sizzling steaks — are themselves the key to reversing the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease? Teicholz will discuss how the misinformation about saturated fats took hold in the scientific community as well as the public imagination, and how recent findings dispute those beliefs. Come ask your questions about this startling new report.

Nina Teicholz was a regular contributor to Gourmet magazine and has written on food for New York Magazine and Time Out New York. She has also contributed, on a variety of topics, to The New Yorker, The Economist, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Salon, among other publications. She was an on-air reporter for NPR for five years and was the associate director for the Center for Globalization and Sustainable Development at Columbia University, a think tank directed by the economist Jeff Sachs.

Fri 8/8

Image - What is the Arts Mainstream?

What is the Arts Mainstream?

Date: Fri, August 08, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Brad Erickson, Playwright; Executive Director, Theatre Bay Area
Ed Decker, Founding Artistic Director, New Conservatory
Jewelle Gomez, Author; Poet; Activist
Lenore Chinn, Painter; Board Member, Queer Cultural Center

Playwright and arts advocate Brad Erickson leads a panel of arts leaders in identifying memorable landmarks in the mainstreaming of LGBT themes and artists since the 1980s. The panel will also frame the questions about what needs to be done further and the challenges of today.

Mon 8/11

Saxby Chambliss

Sen. Saxby Chambliss: No Dollars, No Time – America’s Troubling Fiscal & National Security Situation

Date: Mon, August 11, 2014
Time: 12:30 PM

Saxby Chambliss, U.S. Senator (R- Georgia); Vice-Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; Member, Senate Armed Services Committee; Member, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Member, Senate Rules Committee

While often treated as separate issues, America’s staggering debt continues to hinder our ability to adapt to emerging threats both here and abroad. Join Georgia's Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss as he discusses the national security issues that have arisen since 9/11, the need for bipartisan partnership in the United States Senate, and how the country cannot properly address domestic or international crises until we get our $17 trillion dollar debt under control.

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.