Upcoming Events

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.

Image - Umpire or Empire? The History and Future of American Leadership

Umpire or Empire? The History and Future of American Leadership

Date: Mon, November 10, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Monday Night Philosophy

Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, Dwight Stanford Professor of American Foreign Relations, San Diego State University; National Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Monday Night Philosophy dives into the history of U.S. foreign policy. Most historians believe the U.S. is an empire; the past two presidents and most of the public disagree. What does it matter? Hoffman offers a challenging new interpretation of America's past with important implications for the way forward.

Tue 11/11

Image - Robert Baer

Robert Baer

Date: Tue, November 11, 2014
Time: 7:30 PM
Former CIA Operative

Robert Baer, Former CIA Operative; National Security Affairs Analyst, CNN; Author, See No Evil and The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins

For over 20 years, Baer served as a CIA operative in the Middle East and Europe. His life and personal experiences inspired George Clooney’s Oscar-winning performance in the movie Syriana. Baer examines the historical and political context of assassinations and shares his foreign policy and security insights. He also reveals what it was like working as an agent in some of the most dangerous and volatile regions in the world.

Wed 11/12

Image - Jamie Metzl: Are China and the U.S. Headed for a Genetic Arms Race?

Jamie Metzl: The US-China Rivalry at the Genetic Frontier

Date: Wed, November 12, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Novelist; Former U.S. Security Official

Jamie Metzl, Novelist; Former U.S. Security Official

Novelist and Asia expert Jamie Metzl's new novel, Genesis Code, tells of a future genetic arms race between China and the United States. It is fiction – for now – but Metzl, who worked in the Clinton National Security Council and State Department and is the former executive vice president of the Global Asia Society, will discuss how the U.S.-China rivalry, marked by tensions in the South and East China Seas, in cyberspace, outer space and elsewhere, is heating up around the world. With the science of human genetic engineering rapidly advancing, there is a significant possibility that today's science fiction will be tomorrow's reality and that great power interests might soon dictate the course of genetically modified human evolution.

Image - The Power of Community - Senior Cohousing

The Power of Community - Senior Cohousing

Date: Wed, November 12, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM
 Charles Durrett, AIA; Architect; Author

Charles DurrettAIA; Architect; Author, The Senior Cohousing Handbook: A Community Approach to Independent Living; Co-author, A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves

Today we can text our sibling to find out what they are having for lunch in Paris, but we don’t know the name of our next-door neighbor nor his or her birthday – unless you’ve looked up him or her on PoliceReport.com – because shouldn’t we know who our neighbor is? It’s only prudent to be precautious. Learn how seniors are countering the pathologies in our society today by affecting their personal lives and collective lives and affecting society positively by planning new cohousing communities. They bring environmental ethics, justice, village life – community to the table. A real work by real people with real values and real lives who make an environment that responds to their real needs. How romantic is community? Very; everyone is talking about it in the abstract. How realistic is community? Very; there are lots of folks around North America who have decided that this important complement in our lives – community – needs to be revived. Come learn about this momentous social movement from a prime mover.


Thu 11/13

Image - Leadership: The Power Behind the Throne

Leadership: The Power Behind the Throne

Date: Thu, November 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Richard Hytner, Author, Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows

Richard Hytner, Deputy Chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi; Adjunct Associate Professor of Marketing, London Business School; Author, Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows

The key to success lies in getting to the top, right? Wrong! It’s time to celebrate the second-in-command. These are the V.P’s, COOs, First Lieutenants and First Violins whose influence can determine the fate of countries and companies: Merlin to King Arthur, Al Gore to Bill Clinton, Rasputin to the Russian royal family. Learn how influence, authority and power can be found in much more interesting places than behind the CEO’s desk.

Fri 11/14

Image - Are Professional Athletes Underpaid? Money and the Culture of Profession

Are Professional Athletes Underpaid? Money and the Culture of Professional Sports

Date: Fri, November 14, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Discussion with Leland Faust and Duane Kuiper

Leland Faust, Founder and Chairman, CSI Capital Management; Member, Sporting News Top 100 Most Powerful People in Sports
Duane Kuiper, Emmy Award-winning Play-by-play Announcer, San Francisco Giants; Former Major League Baseball Player, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants
Vida Blue, Former Pitcher, Oakland A's, SF Giants; Cy Young Award, MVP, Six-Time All Star
Kevin O’Malley, President, Tech Talk/Studio – Moderator

Get an inside look at how money shapes the culture of professional sports and influence decisions both on and off the field. Learn from the insiders how the mixture of entertainment and money results in today’s complex professional sports industry and the range of players’ salaries.

Mon 11/17

Image - Up the Ladder: Women Pursuing Careers in Science and Technology

Up the Ladder: Women Pursuing Careers in Science and Technology

Date: Mon, November 17, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A personal discussion about working in male-dominated fields.

Hilary K. Seligman, M.D., MAS, Associate Professor in Residence, Departments of Medicine and of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF
Diane Wara, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, UCSF
Eva Cole, Student, Holy Names High School, Oakland; Alumna, Girls Who Code
Sara Seims, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Population and Reproductive Health Program, Packard Foundation – Moderator

How and why do women decide to pursue careers in science and technology? What is the reaction of their family, friends, teachers and others? This panel of three women at three different points in their careers – early, middle and advanced – will discuss the experiences that have supported and challenged their career pursuits. Come learn from their stories and hear ideas about how to attract more women to areas of science where they are still greatly under-represented, such as engineering and mathematics.

Image - John Cleese - Monty Python Actor and Comedian

John Cleese - Monty Python Actor and Comedian

Date: Mon, November 17, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
A grand tour of his ascent in the entertainment world.

John Cleese, Actor; Writer; Producer; Author, So, Anyway…
In conversation with Adam Savage, Host, “Mythbusters”

Join Cleese as he takes us on a grand tour of his ascent in the entertainment world, from his humble beginnings in a sleepy English town to the pinnacle of comedy and worldwide success.

With his signature characters – the Minister of Silly Walks and the owner (and would-be returner) of a dead parrot – Cleese's work with Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers has become legendary. His hit films Monty Python and the Holy GrailLife of Brian and A Fish Called Wanda, and his memorable roles in James Bond and Shrek have put him in a class of his own. From his hilarious tweets and new memoir, hear more from this towering comedic genius.

Tue 11/18

Image - Progress and Hope: Restoring the Mighty Colorado River and Delta

Progress and Hope: Restoring the Mighty Colorado River and Delta

Date: Tue, November 18, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
The challenges and progress in the Colorado River’s struggle to reach the ocean.

James Redford, Chair, Redford Center Board; Producer, Watershed
John Shepard, Co-Interim CEO and Senior Advisor, Sonoran Institute
Jill Tidman, Executive Director, Redford Center; Producer, Watershed
Francesca Vietor, Commissioner, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission; Program Director, San Francisco Foundation

For more than 6 million years, the Colorado River has served as the lifeblood of the American West, including what is now California. Today the river runs dry 70 miles before it reaches its delta and the sea. However, in May 2014, the river reached the delta and sea briefly for the first time in decades. Learn how Raise the River is marshaling support for the Colorado and raising awareness to restore a great national treasure by bringing back life to the delta region’s wetlands and marshes, and provide much-needed help to western communities in the United States and Mexico. Join us for a discussion on the challenges and progress in the Colorado River’s struggle to reach the ocean.

Wed 11/19

Image - Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Difficulty of Speaking the Tr

Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Difficulty of Speaking the Truth

Date: Wed, November 19, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Harriet Elinor Smith, Editor

Mark Twain wanted to write a completely candid autobiography, without "shirkings of the truth," so he decided to speak from the grave 100 years after his death. The Mark Twain Papers Project at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley has fulfilled that desire. Editor Smith will discuss Twain's numerous observations about the difficulty of speaking the truth, and the strategies he adopted to remove his inhibitions, illustrating her talk with passages he suppressed during his lifetime. Come hear Mark Twain's "whole, frank mind" highlighted by his characteristic blend of humor and ire.

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Wed, November 19, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Explore the neighborhood surrounding 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.

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, November 19, 2014
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 - Increased Patient Communication Improves Health

Power to the Patient: A Survivor's Perspective on Health Care

Date: Wed, November 19, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Technologies to allow people to take an active role in their health-care journey.

Michael O’Neil, Jr., Founder & Chief Executive Officer, GetWellNetwork

An informed patient is a better patient. As a cancer survivor, Michael O’Neil, Jr., founder and CEO of GetWellNetwork, focuses on the importance of engaging, educating and empowering patients in the management of their own health.

Following his challenging personal experience, O’Neil was motivated to change the role of the patient and introduce a new approach to the delivery of health care. Founded on the idea that a person should never be on the outside looking in when it comes to their own health, GetWellNetwork builds technology that connects patients and families with caregivers, and enables people to take an active role in their health-care journey – whether they’re sick or well.

Image - Andy Cohen: The Star-Studded Life

Andy Cohen: The Star-Studded Life

Date: Wed, November 19, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Host, “Watch What Happens: Live”

Andy Cohen, Host, “Watch What Happens: Live”; Author, The Andy Cohen Diaries; Executive Producer, The Real Housewives Franchise

“My new book is my reality show, in print.” – Andy Cohen

The man who made a career as a prince of pop-culture strikes again with his new book, The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year, a follow-up to his New York Times best seller. Imagine a day in the life of Andy Cohen. It’s busy. It’s exciting. It’s dramatic. Andy’s new book will chronicle his day-to-day life for a single year, from behind-the-scenes looks at “Watch What Happens: Live” to his favorite day-time hang-out spots to late nights with wild celebrity friends. Cohen will tell all about such celebrities as Lady Gaga and such events as Oscar weekend. Get an inside look at the life of one of the most exciting men in show business when Cohen joins INFORUM to talk book, show and life.

Thu 11/20

Image - A Toast to the 2014 Wine Harvest, Sustainable Practices and Pairings in

A Toast to the 2014 Wine Harvest, Sustainable Practices and Pairings in California Wine

Date: Thu, November 20, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A discussion with California vintners.

Steve Lohr, Chairman & CEO, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines
Karl Wente, Winemaker, Wente Vineyards
Allison Jordan, Executive Director, California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance
Janet Fletcher, Journalist; Author, Down to Earth, A Seasonable Tour of Sustainable Winegrowing in California – Moderator

California vintners and growers have broadly embraced sustainable and other green wine-growing practices to protect and preserve our signature Golden State industry. Plans and decisions made throughout the wine-growing year reflect a deep commitment to environmental stewardship, social responsibility and the desire to pass land businesses on to future generations.

Join Janet Fletcher and a distinguished panel of vintners and experts as they discuss sustainable wine growing and examine the stories of California vintners and growers across the state. After the program, join the panel to enjoy wine tasting and conversation featuring wines discussed by the panel and in Down to Earth.

Fri 11/21

Image - Transforming California's State Parks: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Fut
This event is Postponed

Transforming California's State Parks: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Future

Date: Fri, November 21, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
California's 280-unit park system faces challenges.

Lance Conn, Co-Chair, Parks Forward Commission

California's magnificent 280-unit park system faces significant challenges. Declining budgets have led to scaled-back services and a long list of maintenance needs, while outdated administrative systems, technology and processes impede park staff’s ability to effectively manage and protect the parks’ natural and cultural resources. Hear about a just-released report by the Parks Forward Commission that recommends sweeping changes to tackle these issues and ensure the sustainability of our state parks for future generations.

Conn is a Bay Area businessman and conservationist. He serves on the boards of directors for Charter Communications and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and serves as a member of the advisory council for Truckee Donner Land Trust.

Mon 11/24

Image - Middle East Discussion Group
This event is Postponed

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, November 24, 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. 

Image - Undocumented and Uninsured

Undocumented and Uninsured

Date: Mon, November 24, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Panelists TBA

While the Affordable Care Act expands health insurance to millions of Americans who were previously uninsured, many immigrants, along with some 11.7 million undocumented people, remain without coverage. What immediate effect does the ACA have on our immigrant population and their access to care? Our panelists will discuss how the Affordable Care Act will impact immigrants unable to get health insurance, what the health-care future might hold for them and how our health system would be able to eventually absorb these millions of people when they finally get coverage.

Go to LGBT MLF Roundtable Discussion

LGBT MLF Roundtable Discussion

Date: Mon, November 24, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Please join us for the regular program planning and discussion meeting of the LGBT MLF.