Upcoming Events

Fri 5/2

Image - Befriending the Imagination (MLF)

Befriending the Imagination

Date: Fri, May 02, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Ruth Gendler, Artist; Author

Ruth Gendler, Artist; Author, The Book of Qualities, Notes on the Need for Beauty; Editor, Changing Light

The human imagination can be considered an essential natural resource – not rare but precious – and it needs our attention to flourish. In this talk, author and artist Gendler celebrates the immensity, wisdom and beauty of the imagination. As a poet-in-the-schools for over 25 years, Gendler has gathered an extraordinary collection of children’s art and writing. This afternoon we will see and hear selections that celebrate the directness, beauty and profundity of their imaginations. Inspired by their work, we will talk about ways to nourish the imagination in all of us.

Image - Nate Silver
This event is Sold Out

Nate Silver

Date: Fri, May 02, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM

Nate Silver, Editor-in-Chief, FiveThirtyEight; Author, The Signal and the Noise 
In Conversation with Jordan Ellenberg, Mathematician; Author, How Not to Be Wrong

This program is sold out.

Presented by The Commonwealth Club of California in association with Cal Performances and The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute.

Nate Silver’s got a crystal ball and it’s made of premium quality statistical models. In 2008, Nate called the presidential election results for 49 out of 50 states long before the Western states had even finished voting. In 2012, he cemented his place in the halls of political forecasting fame by besting his 2008 record. Still, Nate’s not strictly married to politics. He started off predicting baseball, and his award-winning blog FiveThirtyEight strives to feature data-driven analysis of a diverse array of topics, from dating to education. His New York Times best seller, The Signal and the Noise, is yet another example of his effort to understand real-world phenomena through stats. Join us as we host Jordan Ellenberg in conversation with Nate Silver as they do the math on predictions inside and outside the world of politics.

This is the first of three Bay Area talks by Nate Silver. See calperformances.org for additional event information.

Mon 5/5

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 5/5/14

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 5/5/14

Date: Mon, May 05, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
A must-attend political discussion.

Debra J. Saunders, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; "Token Conservative" blogger, SFGate.com; Twitter @debrajsaunders
Carla Marinucci, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter @cmarinucci
John Zipperer, Vice President of Media & Editorial, Commonwealth Club - Host

Additional Panelists TBA

California's electing new leaders this year, and issues like income inequality and affordability are dominating the headlines. Week to Week will take a look at the issues and the people in local, state and national politics. In its first two years, Week to Week has become a must-attend political discussion and social event. 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). 

Go to Book Discussion: A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov

Book Discussion: A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov

Date: Mon, May 05, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

This great Russian classic is set in the Caucasus during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I. Its Byronic anti-hero, Grigory Pechorin, is the prototype of the "superfluous man," often met in other Russian novels. A person of great ability, intelligence and charm, Pechorin can find no real outlet for his talents and becomes bitter, cynical and bored. He takes pleasure in manipulating others and inflicting pain. Not a political novel in any direct sense, A Hero of Our Time serves as an oblique criticism of the stifling world created by Russia’s autocratic system.

Tue 5/6

Image - Tim Draper : The Case For 6 Californias

Tim Draper : The Case For 6 Californias

Date: Tue, May 06, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Proposal for the creation of new states.

Timothy C. Draper, Venture Capitalist; Founding Partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Founder, Draper University of Heroes

This program was rescheduled from May 15

Draper has submitted an initiative to the state’s attorney general in the form of a ballot proposition proposal called Six Californias, which he hopes to get on the November ballot. The proposal calls for the creation of new states, such as Silicon Valley and West California, which would be anchored by the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Orange County and San Diego would be part of the new state of South California. To the north, remaining counties would be divided into regions called Central California, North California and Jefferson.

Draper believes that the Golden State has been rendered nearly ungovernable by social and economic changes. The initiative has to qualify by July 18, 2014, to make it on next November’s ballot. Come ask your questions about this controversial idea. As an advocate for entrepreneurs and free markets, Draper is regularly featured as a keynote speaker in entrepreneurial conferences throughout the world, and he has been recognized as a leader in his field with numerous awards and honors.

Image - Gestures Around the World

Gestures Around the World: Do You Know What Your Non-Verbal Communications May Be Saying?

Date: Tue, May 06, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Syndi Seid, Founder, Advanced Etiquette

What you think is a perfectly fine gesture in the U.S. may be very offensive in another culture. Learn from top to bottom what head, facial, hand, leg and toe gestures really mean on various continents. Join international etiquette expert Seid as she leads a lively discussion and leave with a sharpened awareness of which gestures never to make again.

Image - Science & Technology Planning Meeting (MLF)

Science & Technology Planning Meeting

Date: Tue, May 06, 2014
Time: 6:15 PM
Brainstorm visions for the future.

Join fellow Club members with similar interests and brainstorm upcoming Science & Technology programs. All Commonwealth Club members are welcome. We explore visions for the future through science and technology. Discuss current issues and share your insights with fellow Club members to shape and plan programs for the months ahead.  

MLF: Science & Technology
Program organizer: Chisako Ress

Image - Raising Students' Achievement: A Conversation with Michelle Lewis and Vi

Raising Students' Achievement: A Conversation with Michelle Lewis and Vida Blue

Date: Tue, May 06, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM

Michelle Lewis, Founder and Co-principal, Northern Lights School
Vida Blue, Cy Young Award Winner; American League MVP; Six-time All Star Pitcher, Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants

Poverty shouldn't mean academic failure, but it usually impacts both students' performance and the character of schools. The problem is not that poor kids cannot learn or that until we tackle poverty we won't be able to educate all children in the United States. There are increasing examples of how poor children achieve at high levels when innovative schools respond to their needs and create environments conducive to learning. Please join Michelle Lewis and Vida Blue as they discuss their impressive success at a small inner-city school in Oakland. 

Michelle Lewis is the founder and co-principal of Northern Lights School and has worked in education for over 34 years. She is a passionate advocate for more than 200 graduates who have continued to seek college and graduate school degrees. Her school has been instrumental in guiding students whose socio-economic background suggest that they won't graduate from high school and are likely to become incarcerated by early adulthood.

Vida Blue is a Cy Young Award winner, American League MVP, three time World Series champion, and six time All-Star pitcher who debuted with the Oakland Athletics and finished his baseball career with the San Francisco Giants. Blue works for numerous charitable causes in the Bay Area.  

Wed 5/7

Image - Tiptoeing Through the Twilight Zone: An Explorer's Guide to Understandin

Tiptoeing Through the Twilight Zone: An Explorer's Guide to Understanding Dementia

Date: Wed, May 07, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM
Moonstone Geriatrics' Mary Hulme

Mary Hulme, LCSW, President/Founder, Moonstone Geriatrics

Curious to learn and understand more about dementia? Hulme will teach real-life strategies for coping with dementia. She will describe her “Three Laws for Living with Dementia” and will highlight the importance of humor, creativity and experimentation in staying connected to anyone suffering from this illogical and vexing disease.

Image - Brian Lamb: Celebrating 25 Years of CSPAN Stories

Brian Lamb: Celebrating 25 Years of CSPAN Stories

Date: Wed, May 07, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Brian Lamb, Founder & Retired CEO, C-SPAN; Author, Sundays at Eight: 25 Years of Stories from C-SPAN’s Q&A and Booknotes

For the last 25 years, Sunday night at 8 p.m. on C-SPAN has been appointment television for many Americans. During that time, host Brian Lamb has invited people to his Capitol Hill studio for hour-long conversations about contemporary society and history. In today’s sound-bite culture, that hour remains one of television’s last vestiges of in-depth, civil conversation.

First came C-SPAN’s “Booknotes” in 1989, which by the time it ended in December 2004, was the longest-running author-interview program in American broadcast history. In January 2005, C-SPAN embarked on a new chapter with the launch of “Q&A.” Again, one hour of uninterrupted conversation, but the focus was expanded to include documentary filmmakers, entrepreneurs, social workers, political leaders and just about anyone with a story to tell.

To mark this anniversary, Lamb and his team at C-SPAN have assembled Sundays at Eight, a collection of the best unpublished interviews and stories from the last 25 years. Told in the series’ signature conversational manner, these stories come to life again on the page. Sundays at Eight is not merely a token for fans of C-SPAN’s interview programs, but a collection of significant stories that have helped us understand the world for a quarter-century.

Image - Sandra Tsing Loh

Sandra Tsing Loh

Date: Wed, May 07, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM

Sandra Tsing Loh, Contributing Editor, The Atlantic; Host, “The Loh Down on Science”; Author, The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones
Connie Martinez, CEO, Silicon Valley Creates - Moderator

In her hilarious new memoir, Loh chronicles her life as a daughter, mother, wife, artist, and most of all a woman going through menopause. She offers a candid and honest look at her mid-life crisis and the physical, mental, and emotional changes she faced. Loh has previously performed at the San Jose Repertory Theatre in productions of “Sugar Plum Fairy” and “Love, Loss and What I Wore.”

Thu 5/8

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour
This event is Sold Out

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, May 08, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Find hidden gems with Rick Evans

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!

Image - Willie Brown: Annual Lecture on Political Trends

Willie Brown: Annual Lecture on Political Trends

Date: Thu, May 08, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Former Mayor, San Francisco

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, powerful 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. Most recently, a myriad of celebrities gathered to celebrate the naming of the western portion of the Bay Bridge in his honor.

Fri 5/9

Go to Syria and the Arab Spring

Syria and the Arab Spring

Date: Fri, May 09, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Bonnie Joy Kaslan, Honorary Consul General, Republic of Turkey, S.F. Bay Area 
Dina Ibrahim, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Broadcasting and Communication Arts, SFSU; Media Analyst 
Evgeny Avdoshin, Consul and Press Attache, Russian Consulate, San Francisco
Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Reporting - Moderator

The distinguished panel will discuss the Syrian tragedy, which has caused hundreds of thousands of casualties and created over two million refugees. The panelists will be also focus on how the conflict has impacted neighboring countries.

Mon 5/12

Image - War! What is it Good For?

War! What is it Good For?

Date: Mon, May 12, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Ian Morris, Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and Professor of History, Stanford University; Author, War! What Is It Good For?

Monday Night Philosophy ponders a paradox. If you had lived 20,000 years ago, you would probably have faced a 1-in-10 or even a 1-in-5 chance of dying violently. But by the 20th century AD — despite two world wars, the use of nuclear weapons and multiple genocides — that risk had fallen to 1-in-100 and it keeps going down. The explanation is uncomfortable: despite all its horrors, war itself has made the world a safer and richer place by creating larger societies that then pacify themselves internally. Morris looks at why this happened, how the patterns played out across the millennia and what their implications are for the 21st century.

Image - Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich: Rebalancing America’s Relationship to Asia wi

Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich: Rebalancing America’s Relationship to Asia with Australia by Our Side

Date: Mon, May 12, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Jeffrey Bleich, Former Ambassador, Australia
Joe Epstein, Past Board President, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors - Moderator

In the next 20 years, the middle class in Asia is projected to swell from 600 million to 3.2 billion. If managed successfully, this could not be merely the single largest reduction in poverty in human history, but it could also substantially improve the fortunes of many non-Asian nations, especially the United States. How the U.S. manages its alliance with Australia and leverages that relationship with other allies and partners in Southeast Asia are critical elements of ensuring a successful Indo-Pacific century. Ambassador Bleich will discuss the planning of America’s economic, diplomatic and security rebalance to Asia, its progress to date and the challenges that will ultimately determine whether Asia rises peacefully and successfully or whether it fails to meet its promise – or worse.

Image - Midterm Election Forecast: Politics in 2014

Midterm Election Forecast: Politics in 2014

Date: Mon, May 12, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Jennifer Granholm, Former Governor, Michigan; Twitter @JenGranholm
Duf Sundheim, Former Chairman, California Republican Party
Josh Richman, Political Reporter, Bay Area News Group; Twitter @Josh_Richman - Moderator

With primaries already in full swing and California set to vote in June, midterm election season has officially arrived. All 435 House seats are up for grabs this year, as are 36 Senate seats and 36 governor slots. Join our political pundits as they make predictions for this fall and discuss the key questions regarding this year’s race. Who are the major political players to watch? What does the political landscape look like just six months from Election Day? Will the Republicans win back the Senate? How might the rest of President Obama’s presidency look following this November?

Tue 5/13

Image - One Mama
This event is Postponed

One Mama

Date: Tue, May 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Siobhan Neilland, Founder, OneMama ShaBoom products

Siobhan "ShaBoom" Neilland, Founder, OneMama ShaBoom Products

How do you overcome the death of your child? Neilland found a unique way to fill this major void by traveling to Uganda and opening herself to the love of many children, which led her to found OneMama.org in her efforts to help others live. Come hear Neilland discuss how all you need is an idea, a strategy and a whole lot of tenacity to transfer your own personal, self-sustaining technique to the professional concept of business and philanthropy.

Image - Aneesh Chopra: Innovative State

Aneesh Chopra: Innovative State

Date: Tue, May 13, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Technology has revolutionized our society.

Aneesh Chopra, Former U.S. CTO; Author, Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government

Technology has completely revolutionized our society and economy: the way we work, shop and play. Chopra will discuss how innovative public and private partnerships can reshape and improve some of our most challenging issues, from economic development to affordable health care. Chopra served as the nation's first chief technology officer, appointed by President Obama. Come hear his take on what open government innovation really means.

Wed 5/14

Image - Vitamin C, Calcium and Chronic Degenerative Disease

Vitamin C, Calcium and Chronic Degenerative Disease

Date: Wed, May 14, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Thomas E Levy, MD, JD, Author, Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins

As chronic degenerative diseases become more prevalent, Dr. Levy posits that deficiency of vitamin C in the tissues ultimately dictates whether you are ill and how severely ill you are. He says all diseases are caused by variations of increased oxidative stress and a large amount of vitamin C is both a treatment for that increased stress and a preventative measure. The presentation will include a general overview of vitamin C, why nearly everyone has too much calcium in their body and Levy’s suggestions for the best ways to address these factors therapeutically to optimize health.