Upcoming Events

Thu 2/12

Image - Chinatown Walking Tour
This event is Sold Out

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, February 12, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

Enjoy a Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure. Join Rick Evans for a memorable midday walk and discover the history and mysteries of Chinatown. Explore colorful alleys and side streets. Visit a Taoist temple, an herbal store, the site of the first public school in the state, and the famous Fortune Cookie Factory.

Image - Sex and Dating for Nerds

Sex and Dating for Nerds

Date: Thu, February 12, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Lessons you need to win at dating!

What better way to ring in Valentine’s Day than with some good old fashioned sex ed? Join INFORUM the Thursday before Valentine’s Day for an event that will be part-party, part-sexy-tutorials. Three experts will unleash mini-presentations:

Online Dating: An Economist’s Perspective + Live OKC Profile Analysis, by Stanford Economics Professor Paul Oyer
The Art of Aural Seduction and Sexual Communication for Couples, with Good Vibrations’ Sex Doctor Carol Queen
The Big Data that I Found Surprising, from Coffee Meets Bagel COO Dawoon Kang

Afterward join us for a party with not-so-awkward-social-prompts, Cards Against Humanity, booze, food, and booze – did we say that twice? So whether you’re a serial dater, swinger, or on your own and loving it, swing on by to enjoy a night of shenanigans plus some tactical lessons you need to win at dating, whether it’s online or in the bedroom.

Thanks to Alysian Winery for providing the wine.

Fri 2/13

Image - Bay Area: Ground Zero for the Reinvention of America

Bay Area: Ground Zero for the Reinvention of America

Date: Fri, February 13, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With Peter Leyden, Former Managing Editor of Wired 

Peter Leyden, Former Managing Editor, Wired; Founder and CEO, Reinventors; Co-author, The Long Boom

There is no place on the planet better positioned than the Bay Area to drive the creation of a digital, global, sustainable civilization for the 21st century. Leyden, former managing editor of Wired magazine, presents a dazzling multimedia presentation covering the many tech, economic, social and political transformations that will unfold right here in the coming decades.

Tue 2/17

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 2/17/15

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 2/17/15

Date: Tue, February 17, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Talk and learn politics in a friendly, social setting.

Debra J. Saunders, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; "Token Conservative" Blogger, SFGate.com; Twitter @debrajsaunders
Carla Marinucci, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Political Blogger, "Spin Cycle," SFGate.com; Twitter @cmarinucci
Bill Whalen, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Political Blogger, adayattheracesblog.com; Twitter @hooverwhalen

It's the third anniversary of Week to Week, the political roundtable from The Commonwealth Club. Join us as we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the surprising 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 live 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).

Wed 2/18

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, February 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues

The Humanities Forum brings Socrates Café to The Commonwealth Club. It will be held every third Wednesday evening for the discussion of philosophical issues. At each monthly meeting the group's facilitator, Bob Enteen, will invite participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic will briefly explain why she or he considers the subject interesting and important. An open discussion will follow, ending with a summary. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Image - Get Fit, Lean and Keep Your Day Job

Get Fit, Lean and Keep Your Day Job

Date: Wed, February 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
How to get into the best shape of your life.

J.D. Griffin, MBA, Certified Nutrition Coach; Men’s Physique Competitor; Financial Markets Professional

So many nutrition and exercise plans promise great results, but their requirements suggest that becoming healthy is apparently a full-time job. What if you could lose fat, get fit, feel healthy and still keep your day job? You can!

J.D. Griffin wants to teach you how to get yourself into the best shape of your life. By breaking health and fitness down to their essentials, Griffin has developed a functional approach with three sections: nutrition, cardiovascular exercise and resistance training. He offers you a time-efficient, practical guide that he says anyone can follow and start seeing and feeling the results.

Thu 2/19

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, February 19, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

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 - Parliament Members From Around The World: Democracy and The Digital Age

Parliament Members From Around The World: Democracy and The Digital Age

Date: Thu, February 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
How are women using technology to encourage inclusive leadership? 

Panelists TBA

Youth and women members of parliaments from around the world will discuss how they are harnessing opportunities presented by mobile, social media and new technologies to strengthen engagement between citizens and their elected representative. How are women and young politicians using social media and technology to promote deliberation and compromise, rather than political polarization? How are women and young politicians using technology to promote more inclusive political leadership? What opportunities and challenges does the rapid pace of technological change pose for democratic governance in different country contexts around the world?

The panel discussion is part of an exchange program supported by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for Development on Leadership in the Digital Economy. The program brings bring together members of parliaments – mostly women and young MPs – from around the world to Washington D.C. and the Bay Area.

Image - Lessons in Leadership and Success

Lessons in Leadership and Success

Date: Thu, February 19, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
With venture capitalist Heidi Roizen

Heidi Roizen, Operating Partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Alison van Diggelen, Host, “Fresh Dialogues”; Contributor, BBC – Moderator

Though women are continuing to close the gender gap in the workplace, female engineers, computer scientists and executives still remain minorities in U.S. companies. Nowhere is the disparity at the top as stark as in Silicon Valley. According to a recent survey published in The Wall Street Journal, tech firms there have half as many female directors and around two-thirds as many female executives as do America’s other largest companies. Roizen, a well-known Silicon Valley executive, venture capitalist and entrepreneur, will share her experiences in the industry and offer insights into how to overcome challenges and flourish in the tech world.

Fri 2/20

Image - The Invisible People: Syrian Refugees

The Invisible People: Syrian Refugees

Date: Fri, February 20, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Giles Duley, Photojournalist; Humanitarian
Jonathan Curiel, Journalist - Moderator

While on foot patrol in Afghanistan, Duley, an award-winning photojournalist, stepped on a land mine and became a triple amputee, losing his arm and both legs. He is noted for both his portraits of the rich and famous, and his work which focuses on humanitarian issues and the stark consequences of conflicts on civilians. Duley, who has been honored by Amnesty International, will show excerpts from his latest documentary, which encompasses Syrian refugees.

Mon 2/23

Image - San Francisco’s Pan-Pacific Exposition of 1915

The Panama-Pacific International Exposition: Its 100-Year Impact

Date: Mon, February 23, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Exploring the local legacy of this international fair.

James Ganz, Ph.D., Curator, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Kevin Starr, Ph.D., California State Librarian Emeritus
Laura Ackley, Author, San Francisco's Jewel City: The Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915
Lori Fogarty, Executive Director, Oakland Museum of California
Anthea Hartig, Ph.D., Executive Director, California Historical Society – Moderator

This year marks the centennial of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a world’s fair that historians say symbolized San Francisco’s transformation from a city devastated by earthquake and fire to an economic powerhouse poised to lead a social and cultural revolution.

Among the exhibits at the Exposition was the C. P. Huntington, the first steam locomotive purchased by Southern Pacific Railroad. A telephone line was also established to New York, so people across the continent could hear the Pacific Ocean. The Liberty Bell even traveled by train on a nationwide tour from Pennsylvania to attend the exposition. The centerpiece was the Tower of Jewels, which rose to 435 feet and was covered with over 100,000 cut glass Novagems.

Buildings that remain include The Palace of Fine Arts, what is now called the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium at Civic Center Plaza and the Japanese Tea House, which was barged down the Peninsula to Belmont.

This program is part of the opening weekend kickoff of PPIE100, a yearlong series of public events, exhibitions and activities presented by more than 35 Bay Area cultural, civic and business organizations to reflect on PPIE’s historical significance and celebrate the innovations of “Then, Now and Tomorrow.”

Image - Gary Wenk: Your Brain on Food

Gary Wenk: Your Brain on Food

Date: Mon, February 23, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Author and Professor

Gary Wenk, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics, Ohio State University and Medical Center; Author, Your Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings
Lisa Krieger, Science/Medicine Reporter, San Jose Mercury News - Moderator

What is it about fat, sugar and salt that makes them so irresistible? Do so-called nutritional supplements help us live longer and healthier, or are they just another risky fad? What happens in our brains when we take a sip of coffee or a drag on a cigarette? We’ve all heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Now we find out how true it really is. Drawing on the latest scientific research, Dr. Wenk investigates the effects of specific foods on our bodies and brains, illuminating why everything we consume affects the way we think, feel and act.

Tue 2/24

Image - New Member Reception

New Member Reception

Date: Tue, February 24, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Come take a peek! 

Are you new to the Club? Just want to explore and check it out? Come take a peek, meet other members and staff and learn about all The Commonwealth Club offers. Experience first-hand how The Commonwealth Club has become the nation’s leading public forum. Bring a friend and explore the Club together!

Wed 2/25

Go to Lessons from the Rim Fire: What It Means

Lessons from the Rim Fire: What It Means

Date: Wed, February 25, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Stories of enormous destruction, damage, protection and renewal

Jeanne M. Higgins, Forest Supervisor, Stanislaus National Forest
Joe Amodio, Member, Tuolumne River Trust Advisory Committee
Michael Carlin, Deputy General Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Larry Cope, Director of Economic Development, Tuolumne Economic Development Authority
Joe Litehiser, Ph.D.; Senior Scientist, Bechtel Corp; President, Friends of Camp Mather

With California drought conditions building, 2013 and 2014 saw some of the worst fires in Yosemite and Sierra history. The Rim Fire and subsequent fires affected incredible amounts of acreage and economies in both the U.S. national forests and California's forests and parks. The recovery efforts and lessons learned involve stories of enormous destruction, damage, protection and renewal. Learn what has happened to people's lives, homes, businesses, recreational opportunities and about the ecological and habitat impact. Learn how people, rivers, communities, organizations and businesses coped, and explore the work they are doing to protect and restore Yosemite and the Sierras.

Image - Larry Kramer, Hewlett Foundation President

Larry Kramer, Hewlett Foundation President: The Threat to American Democracy

Date: Wed, February 25, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Larry Kramer, President, The Hewlett Foundation

About the only thing conservatives and liberals agree upon is that the American political system is dysfunctional. But what are the causes and what might be the cure? Larry Kramer, currently president of the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation and formerly a constitutional law scholar, will discuss the origins of the problem and efforts being undertaken by the foundation to address the issue. 

Thu 2/26

Image -  Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

Date: Thu, February 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Author Dianne Hales 

Dianne Hales, Author, Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

Why does Mona Lisa's smile still enchant us? Little is known about the world's most recognized face, most revered artist and most praised and parodied painting. Join Hales as she reveals Da Vinci’s muse, Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, and explores Giocondo’s colorful family history and the neighborhoods where she lived as a girl, a wife and a mother.

Fri 2/27

Image - Restructuring Health Care: The Massive, Disruptive Integration of Care D

Restructuring Health Care: The Massive, Disruptive Integration of Care Delivery and Financing

Date: Fri, February 27, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Mark Zitter, CEO, Zitter Health Insights
Terry Stone, Managing Partner, Health & Life Sciences Practice, Oliver Wyman
Paul Markovich, President and CEO, Blue Shield of California

We all want more health care and to pay less for it. Obamacare increased coverage but did little to stem rising costs. What is being done? There is a growing movement to integrate the accountability for treating and financing care. Hospital systems and large medical groups are assuming increasing financial risk for the populations they serve, while health insurers are partnering with or even purchasing provider organizations to deliver care to their members. This interactive panel will explore what’s working, what barriers remain, and what we can expect from these major changes in the U.S. health-care system.

Image - Cheap Gasoline

Cheap Gasoline

Date: Fri, February 27, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
A conversation about the economics and politics of a world with oil for sale at $40 a barrel.

Jason Bordoff, Founding Director, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University; Former Special Advisor to President Obama, National Security Council Staff
Bill Reilly, Former Board Member, ConocoPhillips; Senior Advisor, TPG Capital
Additional Panelists TBA

The plunge in gasoline prices is expected to boost economic growth this year and put money in the pockets of American drivers. But it also is causing increased sales of gas-guzzlers and undercutting efforts to move away from fossil fuels to reduce the risk of more severe weather.

Gasoline selling for $2 a gallon also reshapes the national energy outlook as well as international petropolitics. The Saudis are inflicting pain on Houston and Moscow.

A conversation about the economics and politics of a world with oil for sale at $40 a barrel.

Mon 3/2

Go to Book Discussion: The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why it Endures by Nicholas Wade

Book Discussion: The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why it Endures by Nicholas Wade

Date: Mon, March 02, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
How our innate piety has adapted to changing needs and conditions.

In The Faith Instinct, Wade investigates humanity’s transforming propensity for religion, showing how our innate piety has adapted to changing needs and conditions. Beginning as hunter-gatherers, humans were able to experience independent and personal access to the divine. But with the rise of organized agriculture and the growth of cities, religion became hierarchical: Unwritten rules and intimate gods were turned into opaque instruments of power by religious bureaucracies that shaped social institutions but also suppressed more ecstatic forms of worship. Wade, seeking the answer to religion’s ubiquity, posits that faith, acting as a catalyst of social cohesion, became effectively written into our genetic code – along with a periodic urge to rebel against the institutionalization of worship. 

Image - Week to Week

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 3/2/15

Date: Mon, March 02, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Smart and civil — and sometimes funny — political insight.

Josh Richman, State and National Politics Reporter, Bay Area News Group; Political Blogger, ibabuzz.com/politics; Twitter @Josh_Richman 
Melissa Griffin Caen, Contributor, CBS SF (“Mornings with Melissa”) and San Francisco Magazine; Attorney; Twitter @melgriffincaen 
Additional Panelist TBA

Join us as we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the surprising 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, an audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live 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).