Upcoming Events

Fri 10/31

Image - French Friday with Dorie Greenspan
This event is Canceled

French Friday with Dorie Greenspan

Date: Fri, October 31, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Bringing together a mix of contemporary and traditional French recipes.

Dorie Greenspan, Author, Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere and Around My French Table; James Beard Award Winner
In Conversation with Emily Luchetti, Chief Pastry Officer at Cavalier, Park Tavern and Marlowe

With her groundbreaking bestseller Around My French Table, Greenspan changed the way people view French food. Come hear her, in conversation with Riddell, talk about her career in the culinary world, co-authoring cookbooks with Pierre Herme and Julia Child; her fan club, French Fridays with Dorie; and her newest cookbook. Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere brings together a mix of contemporary and traditional recipes drawing on seasonal ingredients, market visits and travels throughout France.

Sat 11/1

Image - Food Network's Chef Mario Batali

Chef Mario Batali in Conversation with Chef Michael Chiarello

Date: Sat, November 01, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Join a discussion of Batali's latest book.

Mario Batali, Chef; Co-Host, “The Chew”; Author, America – Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers
In conversation with Michael Chiarello, Award-winning Chef and Owner, Bottega and Coqueta

Every ticket comes with Batali’s newest cookbook, America - Farm to Table

Beef cheek ravioli with fresh squab livers and black truffles, bucatini all’Amatriciana with house-cured guanciale, farfalle with sun-dried tomatoes and arugula; these are just a few of Batali’s signature dishes. He’s a connoisseur of Italian cuisine who has made an indelible mark on America. Batali has traveled from Spain to London to the small northern Italian village of Borgo Capanne to master the art of Italian cooking. He now co-owns more than 25 restaurants, and has written nine cookbooks. As the star, host and resident chef of shows such as “The Chew” and previously “Iron Chef America,” Mario brings celebrities, chefs and food together to explore and delight in life through food. We’ll discuss Batali’s latest book, America- Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers.

Mon 11/3

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 11/3/14

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 11/3/14

Date: Mon, November 03, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news.

Debra J. Saunders, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; "Token Conservative" Blogger, SFGate.com; Twitter @debrajsaunders
Tammy Frisby, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Stanford University
Josh Richman, State and National Politics Reporter, Bay Area News Group; Political Blogger, ibabuzz.com; Twitter @Josh_Richman

On the day before the big fall election, we'll explore the biggest, most controversial, and perhaps the oddest 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 news quiz!

And stay after 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). 

Image - Book Discussion: Mao II by Don DeLillo

Book Discussion: Mao II by Don DeLillo

Date: Mon, November 03, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

Don DeLillo presents a novel about words and images, novelists and terrorists, the arch-individualist and the mass mind. The novel centers on Bill Gray, a famous reclusive writer who abandons the novel he has been writing for many years and enters a world of political violence, Semtex explosives and hostages locked in basement rooms. Mao II is Don DeLillo's 10th novel. It won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1992.

Image - Dry Farming Wine Grapes in California: Making Great Wine

Dry Farming Wine Grapes in California: Making Great Wine

Date: Mon, November 03, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Join an expert panel discussion.

Will Bucklin, Winemaker, Bucklin Old Hill Ranch, Glen Ellen
Guillaume Eicholz, Vineyard Manager, Dominus Estate, Yountville
Frank Leeds, Winegrower, Frog’s Leap, Rutherford
Tegan Passalacqua, Winemaker and Vineyard Manager, Turley Wine Cellars, Amador, Paso Robles and St. Helena
Peter Granoff, Master Sommelier, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant – Moderator

Join us for a panel discussion to learn first-hand from wine growers the history of dry farming to produce quality grapes. Dry farming refers to growing wine grapes without irrigation, instead using residual moisture from the rainy season to sustain them through the dry season. It has had a long history of use, particularly in the Mediterranean region. Prior to the 1970s, dry farming was standard practice in premium wine regions in California as well, but fell out of favor with the invention of drip irrigation. Today, there are still dry-farmed vineyards across the state, and growers agree: dry farming produces quality wine. Learn how this time-tested growing method produces top-quality wines and promotes environmental and water stewardship.

Wine tasting includes a selection of dry-farmed wines from: Dominus Estate, Emeritus Vineyards, Frog’s Leap Winery, Bucklin Old Hill Ranch, Ridge Vineyards, Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery, Tablas Creek Vineyard, and Turley Wine Cellars; and farm-to-table bites from the CUESA-Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

Image - Chef Marcus Samuelsson: Recipes to Cook at Home

Chef Marcus Samuelsson: Recipes to Cook at Home

Date: Mon, November 03, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Marcus Samuelsson, Chef; Author, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home
In conversation with Nikki Silvestri, Former Executive Director, Green for All

Come reinvigorate your taste buds as award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson gives us a glimpse of what home cooking looks like to a top chef. He’s taken to long form writing to share the secrets of his multicultural dishes, blending the Ethiopian, Swedish, Mexican, Caribbean, Italian, and Southern soul. From dill-spiced salmon to peanut noodles with slaw, his latest book, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home, walks us through his success and variety in the kitchen.

Tue 11/4

Image - Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln (MLF)

Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln

Date: Tue, November 04, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Lincoln's life as a struggle to carry on the work of the Founding Fathers.

Richard Brookhiser, Historian

Abraham Lincoln turned to Washington, Paine and Jefferson for knowledge, guidance, inspiration and purpose. He brought their vision to bear on the Civil War and the question of slavery. In Founders' Son, celebrated historian Richard Brookhiser presents Lincoln's life as a struggle to carry on the work of the Founding Fathers. From Lincoln’s humble origins in Kentucky to his assassination in D.C., Brookhiser shows us every side of the man: laborer, lawyer, congressman, president; storyteller, wit, lover of ribald jokes; depressive, poet, friend and visionary.

Image - Heather Burnett Gold: Empowering Communities with Gigabits to the Home
This event is Canceled

Heather Burnett Gold: Empowering Communities with Gigabits to the Home

Date: Tue, November 04, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
President, Fiber to the Home Council North America

Heather Burnett Gold, President, Fiber to the Home Council North America

Certain communities around the United States have recently coalesced around an idea: America needs a critical mass of communities with exceptional bandwidth so we can foster human capital that knows how to design, build, operate and, above all, innovate using the best networks in the world. The movement is nascent, but early examples are proving successful, such as the bond rating increase Kansas City received thanks in part to Google Fiber, and Tom Friedman reporting how Chattanooga has changed from “a slowly declining and deflating urban balloon, to one of the fastest-growing cities in Tennessee.” Heather Burnett Gold will discuss the process of becoming a “gigabit city.” She claims it’s not a matter of economics or engineering; it’s about organization.

Image - Adam Michnik, Polish Activist and Journalist

Adam Michnik, Polish Activist and Journalist

Date: Tue, November 04, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
The Trouble with Democracy After Communism

Adam Michnik, Polish Activist; Editor-in-Chief, Gazeta Wyborcza, Author, The Trouble with History: Morality, Revolution, and Counterrevolution

The Trouble with Democracy After Communism

Adam Michnik was a leader of the anti-Communist opposition in Poland in the 1970s and 1980s. He is the editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza, a daily newspaper often referred to as “The New York Times of Eastern Europe.” He is among Poland’s most prominent public figures, with a distinctive voice dedicated to dialogue, tolerance and freedom.

Michnik was a leading figure in the 1968 student movement in Warsaw, a co-founder of KOR (Committee for the Defense of Workers) in 1976, and a prominent Solidarity activist in the 1980s. In 1989, he participated in the Round Table Talks, which resulted in Poland’s nonviolent transition to democracy, and he served as a deputy in Poland’s first non-communist parliament. He is the author of several books and countless essays, analyses and interviews. Today, he regularly travels throughout the world, giving lectures on democracy, totalitarianism and the paradoxes and dilemmas of contemporary politics.

Wed 11/5

Image - Waterfront Walk
This event is Sold Out

Waterfront Walk

Date: Wed, November 05, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Explore the neighborhood near the Club's future home.

Join Rick Evans for his new walking tour exploring the historic sites of the waterfront neighborhood that surrounds the location of the future Commonwealth Club headquarters. Hear the dynamic stories of the entrepreneurs, controversial artists and labor organizers who created this recently revitalized neighborhood. This two-hour tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion - A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich

Humanities West Book Discussion - A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich

Date: Wed, November 05, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
A lucid account of the abuse of history.

Join us to discuss Harvard classics professor Christopher Krebs' lucid account of the abuse of history. Germania, written in 98 C.E. by the Roman official Tacitus, was lost for centuries but resurfaced around 1500. It launched a primitivist myth of ancient Germans as freedom-loving warriors, uncultured but honorable, in contrast with decadent Romans. In fact, Tacitus probably never visited Germany. He wrote for a Roman audience that shared his romantic view of northern barbarians. But enthusiastic German readers from Luther to Himmler ignored Tacitus's disparaging comments and misread passages to confirm their prejudices. Krebs warns against this irresistible human yearning to find written proof of one's ideology. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Image - How to Write Your Own Business Book: Starting, Finishing and Publishing

Write the Book About Your Business to Increase Profits and Clients

Date: Wed, November 05, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Francine Brevetti, Business Journalist

Francine Brevetti, Business Journalist, Formerly with the Oakland Tribune; Ghostwriter; Memoirist

You say you’re an expert, but who else knows? Publishing a book based on your business experience and expertise is a great way to establish your credentials and attract prospective clients. International business journalist and author Francine Brevetti sets out an easy-to-follow program for how to write your own book, with insider guidance on how to start writing, generate and structure content, and approach publishing your work. Francine will break down each element of the writing process using her clear, step-by-step methodology. You'll learn her process to write a book that has the potential to raise your business profile and expand your customer base.

Image - New Food Revolution

New Food Revolution

Date: Wed, November 05, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Feeding 9 billion people is a daunting challenge.

Karen Ross, California Secretary of Food and Agriculture; Former Deputy U.S. Secretary of Agriculture 
Jonathan Foley, Executive Director, California Academy of Sciences 
Helene York, Director, Responsible Business, Google Global Accounts, Bon Appetit Management Company

Feeding 9 billion people on a hot planet is a daunting challenge. California can play a leading role, but its searing drought is stressing its ability to be the world’s fruit basket and salad bowl.

Does the solution involve organic food, industrial monoculture, GMOs or all of the above? What can Americans do to make food choices that support change in the food system? 

A recent cover story in National Geographic outlined Jonathan Foley’s five-step plan to feed a hot and crowded world. We’ll discuss that plan for food security with Dr. Foley and two food leaders from the top levels of government and business.

Climate One Connect
Audience members are invited to engage in breakout group conversations led by speakers for 20 minutes following the program. We hope you'll take part in this unique opportunity to delve deeper into solutions for sustainable living.

Image - A History of the World According to Beer

A History of the World According to Beer

Date: Wed, November 05, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
William Bostwick, Beer Critic, Author

William Bostwick, Beer Critic; Author, The Brewer’s Tale: A History of the World According to Beer
In conversation with Justin Crossley, The Brewing Network

Ever wonder when the first beer was brewed? Or, better yet, how it tasted? In his latest book, The Brewer’s Tale, home-brewer and beer critic William Bostwick uncovers the stories of brewers past – the unknown recipes, the odd ingredients, and the long-lost flavors – telling a history of the world through the eyes of brewers throughout the centuries. Join Bostwick as he celebrates the beers of ages past and raise a glass to the fermented magic we all know and love.

Following the interview, enjoy tastings provided by several of the best breweries in the Bay Areaincluding Black Diamond BrewingCalicraft BrewingMoonlight BrewingMagnolia Brewing and SF Mead.  Cheers!

Thu 11/6

Image - Betsy Andrews, Executive Editor, Saveur Magazine

Betsy Andrews, Executive Editor, Saveur Magazine

Date: Thu, November 06, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
How to Be a Top Chef at Home

Betsy Andrews, Executive Editor, Saveur Magazine; Author, Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook
In conversation with Jackie Burrell, Editor, Eat Drink Play, The Bay Area News Group

How to Be a Top Chef at Home

Andrews will highlight the world’s best recipes for the modern home kitchen, giving tips and detailing the stories behind the dishes. Her well-curated global dishes and authentic, from-the-source recipes provide a foundation for any home cook looking for inspiration.

Andrews is the former Deputy Editor of Saveur and editor of the new Saveur Drink. She is a former New York Times Food Critic and Zagat Editor. She has also written about food and drink for Chow, Eater, Arrive and other publications.

Image - Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Date: Thu, November 06, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

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 2015.

Image - Zen's Chinese Heritage

Zen's Chinese Heritage

Date: Thu, November 06, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A deep exploration of the spiritual and political origins of Chinese Chan.

Andy Ferguson, Chinese Language and Literature Expert; Author, Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings

Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhism occupies a unique position in Chinese society. The religion’s history is deeply intertwined with Chinese philosophy and politics. How has this ancient teaching survived China’s explosion of consumerism? Are existing Chinese Chan temples true repositories of an authentic tradition, or are they empty storefronts for a philosophy forgotten or misunderstood?

Andy Ferguson is the author of Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings, a large compendium of the ancient teachings of more than a 150 ancient Chan masters from China’s “Golden Age” of Chan. His other book, Tracking Bodhidharma, is a deep exploration of the spiritual and political origins of Chinese Chan. In that text, Ferguson demonstrates that the religion’s philosophical origins are as surprising as its history of political influence, an influence with a bizarre relationship with some of the 20th century’s most tragic events.

Image - Abbas Milani: The Rise of ISIS and the Changing Landscape of the Middle East

Abbas Milani: The Rise of ISIS and the Changing Landscape of the Middle East

Date: Thu, November 06, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Abbas Milani, Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University

Milani is one of the founding co-directors of the Iran Democracy Project and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. Until 1986, he taught at Tehran University’s Faculty of Law and Political Science, where he was also a member of the board of directors of the university’s Center for International Relations. For eight years, he was a visiting research fellow in University of California, Berkeley’s Middle East Center. Come hear one of the world’s top Middle East experts give his take on how ISIS will ultimately impact the region and the U.S.

Fri 11/7

Image - The Crusades of Cesar Chavez

The Crusades of Cesar Chavez

Date: Fri, November 07, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Miriam Pawel, Author, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez

On November 9, 1984, at the invitation of then-President Shirley Temple Black, Cesar Chavez gave a memorable lecture at the Club. To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Miriam Pawel will describe the details of the complex life of Chavez, one of the great iconic leaders of the 20th century, one of the most celebrated Latinos in U.S. history and one of the most effective labor organizers California has ever seen. Now that Chavez is once again the focus of public attention, a balanced view of his contributions and his difficulties is all the more valuable.

Mon 11/10

Image - 33 Artists in 3 Acts: Politics, Kinship and Craft

33 Artists in 3 Acts: Politics, Kinship and Craft

Date: Mon, November 10, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Sarah Thornton, Author  

Sarah Thornton is a sociologist of art and a regular contributor to The Economist, whose bestseller Seven Days in the Art World explored the cutthroat yet glamorous cultural phenomenon of the contemporary art market. She will report the stories resulting from worldwide interviews about “what is an artist?” from her latest book, 33 Artists in 3 Acts, concerning politics, kinship and craft. Thornton writes that those narratives “demarcate the ideological border that differentiates artists from non-artists, or ‘real artists’ from unimpressive ones.” Artists interviewed include Jeff Koons, Laurie Simmons and Carroll Dunham, and Cindy Sherman, among others from 14 countries on 5 continents.