Upcoming Events

Mon 11/16

Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your parents.

Date: Mon, November 16, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

This regular discussion group will be exploring new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older. Not only will we be uncovering interesting new products at the intersection of aging and technology, we will also be conducting a series of ongoing deep dive discussions into topics like brain health, apps for seniors, hearing and wearables for seniors. The results of our discussions will be shared with a larger community of older adults interested in improving their quality of life through our partner in this initiative, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC. The discussions will be facilitated by Dr. Richard Caro, whom many of you have heard speak at prior grownups forum events.

Garry Kasparov: Former World Chess Champion and Chairman of the Human Rights Fou

Garry Kasparov: Former World Chess Champion and Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation

Date: Mon, November 16, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Garry Kasparov, Chairman, Human Rights Foundation; Former World Chess Champion; Author, Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped; Twitter:

The ascension of Vladimir Putin, a former lieutenant colonel of the KGB, to the presidency of Russia in 1999 might have been a signal that the country was headed away from democracy. Critics charge that the U.S. and other leading world powers have continued to appease him, while Putin has grown into a dictator and a global threat.

Garry Kasparov has been a vocal critic of Putin for over a decade, even leading the pro-democracy opposition to him in the controversial 2008 presidential election. He has concluded that Putin's Russia defines itself in opposition to the free countries of the world. Kasparov now urges a forceful stand, both diplomatic and economic, against Putin. Kasparov makes a call to action against what he sees as an unmistakable threat.

Tue 11/17

What Are Our Brains For? Cognitive Enhancement, Artificial Intelligence and Huma

What Are Our Brains For? Cognitive Enhancement, Artificial Intelligence and Human Nature

Date: Tue, November 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With professor John Harris

John Harris D.Phil., Lord Alliance Professor of Bioethics and Director, Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation, and Director, Wellcome Strategic Programme in the Human Body, its Scope, Limits and Future, University of Manchester

Astronomer Martin Rees has observed that there might be scientific facts that will never be discovered by beings with brains that have evolved in the way that human brains have so far developed, and scientific theories we are incapable of postulating. Related ethical limits might arise from our organic embodied nature and from the essential differences between human and artificial intelligence. More significant still, as Steven Hawking and Elon Musk have suggested, AI could pose problems that our brains are not adapted to anticipate. Join us as Harris examines the ethical and conceptual limits to human beings and human nature.

Wed 11/18

Image - Stephen F. Cohen: The Ukrainian Crisis - It's Not All Putin's Fault

Stephen F. Cohen: The Ukrainian Crisis - It's Not All Putin's Fault

Date: Wed, November 18, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Why Cold War Again?

Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus, Russian Studies and Politics, New York University and Princeton University; Contributing Editor, The Nation
In conversation with Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club

The consensus view in Washington and in the U.S. mainstream media is that the Ukrainian crisis, which some have called the worst international crisis of our time, is due solely to Russian aggression under President Vladimir Putin. Stephen F. Cohen’s view, on the other hand, is that U.S. policy since the 1990s is largely responsible, and that unless this is acknowledged at least in part by Washington, no successful negotiated end to the crisis will be possible.

Professor Cohen’s Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War and his The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin are now in paperback. Come hear the provocative views of this influential and noted Russian scholar.

Image - Happening: The Story of a Clean Energy Revolution

Happening: The Story of a Clean Energy Revolution that Is Patriotic, Democratic and Well Underway

Date: Wed, November 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Discover new solutions to climate change

James Redford, Director, Happening; Board Member, The Redford Center
Jill Tidman, Producer, Happening; Executive Director, The Redford Center
Emily Kirsch, Executive Director, SFuncube.com
Adam Browning, Executive Director, Vote Solar

The new documentary Happening takes us to towns, cities and people across the United States where new technologies are transforming our homes, schools, towns and cities into healthy and safe environments now and for the future.

The panel will discuss the dawn of American's clean energy economy as it creates jobs, turns profits, saves money, cuts costs and makes communities stronger and healthier. They will document a shift from old energy sources and deteriorating industrialized sites into newer, clean and profitable energy resources and technologies.

Join us as we discover new solutions to the damaging effects of climate change, fossil fuels, water shortages and drought, and discuss the new directions of the 21st century.

Thu 11/19

Image - Waterfront Walking Tour

Waterfront Walking Tour

Date: Thu, November 19, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans

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 tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Image - An Evening with Chef Tyler Florence

An Evening with Chef Tyler Florence

Date: Thu, November 19, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Our mouths are watering just thinking about it.

Tyler Florence, Host, “Tyler’s Ultimate;” Bay Area Restaurant Owner; Author, Inside the Test Kitchen

Chef Tyler Florence is obsessed with comfort foods, from rich, creamy risottos to “Fronion Rings” (that’s right—French fry encrusted onion rings). Florence is an Emmy-nominated chef, Food Network star, and chef-owner of Wayfare Tavern and El Paseo. He manages eight companies, including restaurants, retail shops, media production and even tech startups. In his app, Tyler Florence Fast, you can ask on-the-spot recipe advice from Tyler and his team or pick up one of his 500 signature recipes, such as baked lobster with garlic butter panko.

Whether you’re a professional chef, aspiring chef, amateur cook or foodie, this is your chance to learn what it takes to nail classic dishes and reimagine comfort food. Join INFORUM in welcoming the renowned chef and television host as he discusses his new book Inside the Test Kitchen and his updated take on 120 classic recipes. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it.

Mon 11/23

Andrea Ponsi: San Francisco Through the Eyes of an Italian Architect

Andrea Ponsi: San Francisco Through the Eyes of an Italian Architect

Date: Mon, November 23, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Often described as the most European of American cities

Andrea Ponsi, Architect; Author, San Francisco: A Map Of Perceptions

Florence native Andrea Ponsi shares his unique vision of San Francisco, the city often described as the most European of American cities. An award-winning architect, designer and artist who has lived and worked in San Francisco for 10 years, Ponsi takes us on a personal exploration of San Francisco that is at once visual, literary, poetic and historical, with illustrations informed by the architect's Renaissance sensibility and passion for urban design.

Join us for a program with the man San Francisco Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker called “an impassioned but critical admirer, aware of what he sees on more levels than most.”

Tue 11/24

Image - Eight Elements to Transform Your Personal Brand, Career and Life

Eight Elements to Transform Your Personal Brand, Career and Life

Date: Tue, November 24, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Ellen Looyen, Author, Branded for Life!; Branding Commentator, CBS News, The Wall Street Journal and KGO Radio

You already have a Personal Brand, whether you know it or not! Personal Branding is important for anyone who wants to move ahead in their career, climb the corporate ladder or attract new clients. Called “America’s leader in personal branding” by the NYC Conference Board, Looyen wants to help you redefine your personal brand, enhance your visibility and put you in a whole new league.

Mon 11/30

Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club

Date: Mon, November 30, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
A one-hour planning meeting.

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 early 2016.

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, November 30, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan. 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.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 11/30/15

Date: Mon, November 30, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Lively, intelligent, and fun political discussion

Panelists TBA

The year&;s almost over; one big election is behind us, but 2016 is racing toward us at top speed.

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).

Tue 12/1

Image - Nob Hill Walking Tour

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, December 01, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans

Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills”. Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the west coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford, and other members of the Big Four. Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Stanford Court, and Huntington Hotel. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral, and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.

Pope Francis: Climate Change and the Poor

Date: Tue, December 01, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
The moral dimensions of climate change

Kenneth Weare, Ph.D, Adjunct Professor of Social Ethics, University of San Francisco; Board Member, San Francisco Archdiocesan Board of Education; Former Director, School of Pastoral Leadership, Archdiocese of San Francisco; Board Member, Catholic Charities CYO Board of Directors; Pastor, St. Rita Catholic Church

Weare will discuss Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, which offers a moral argument on climate change that also includes a profound concern for the poor as a teaching on both global warming and global poverty. He describes Pope Francis’ focus on the moral dimensions of climate change in addition to the contributions from scientific researchers and environmental experts worldwide over the years.

Weare’s lecture will highlight the key elements of his moral analysis and evaluation, including creation theology, integral ecology and the socio-political and economic realities constituent to the challenge of climate change.

Wed 12/2

Image - What You Need to Know Before You're 65: A Medicare Primer

What You Need to Know Before You're 65: A Medicare Primer

Date: Wed, December 02, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
Wirth gerontologist Esther Koch

Esther Koch, MBA, Gerontologist; Founder, Encore Management; Aging Network Partner, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

If you are approaching the Medicare qualifying age of 65 and Medicare seems like one big alphabetical maze to you, you are not alone. Come hear what every boomer needs to know before they turn 65 to successfully navigate Medicare. Learn the ABCD’s of Medicare, the realities of what you can expect (and what not to expect) and what options might be best for you.

Thu 12/3

Image - Chef Joanne Weir in Conversation with Chef Gary Danko

Chef Joanne Weir in Conversation with Chef Gary Danko

Date: Thu, December 03, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Joanne Weir, Chef and Owner, Copita Tequileria y Comida; Host, "Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence"; James Beard Award Winner for Best Cookbook, 2005; Author, Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food
In conversation with Gary Danko, Chef and Principal, Restaurant Gary Danko; James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef-California, 1995 and Best New Restaurant, 2000

This program is sponsored by Wells Fargo and is part of the Good Lit Series underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Chef, cooking instructor, and television host Joanne Weir has inspired legions of home cooks across the globe with her California-Mediterranean cuisine. In Kitchen Gypsy, the James Beard Award-winning author offers the recipes and lessons that have shaped her culinary career, including the 140-year-old lighting cake recipe handed down from her great-grandmother. The author of more than 20 cookbooks and the host of two popular PBS series, Chef Weir is the recipient of numerous awards, including the very first IACP Julia Child Cooking Teacher Award of Excellence and the 2005 James Beard Best Cookbook award for Weir Cooking in the City.

Join these two powerhouse chefs as Weir takes a trip down culinary memory lane, sharing stories from her days cooking with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, traveling and teaching throughout Europe and becoming the California chef she is today. Wells Fargo

Image - P.J. O'Rourke

P.J. O'Rourke

Date: Thu, December 03, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Entertaining and provoking political satire!

P.J. O’Rourke, H.L. Mencken Research Fellow, Cato Institute; Author, Thrown Under the Omnibus

P. J. O’Rourke has had a prolific career as one of America’s most celebrated humorists. From his early pieces for the National Lampoon, through his classic reporting as Rolling Stone’s International Affairs editor in the ’80s and ’90s, and his witty political satire, P.J. has been entertaining and provoking readers for years.

Tue 12/8

Image - Perception and Deception: Understanding Misunderstandings Across Culture

Perception and Deception: Understanding Misunderstandings Across Cultures

Date: Tue, December 08, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Joe Lurie, Executive Director Emeritus, International House, UC Berkeley

Inspired by a West African proverb that says, “The stranger sees only what he knows,” Lurie shares a feast of cross-cultural stories and misadventures, exploring the deeper cultural messages that escape people who hear largely what they’re used to hearing and see mostly what they’re used to seeing. Gleaned from his years of research, travel and managing Berkeley’s International House, Lurie’s cross-cultural experiences reveal how perceptions and cultural filters affect the way people understand others. One reviewer of Lurie’s book observed, “Already I can hear the reader calling out to a friend across the room, ‘Wait, you’ve got to hear this!’”

Image - David Gregory

David Gregory

Date: Tue, December 08, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Who do we want to be and what do we believe?

David Gregory, Former Moderator, NBC’s “Meet the Press”; Author, How’s Your Faith?: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey

In conversation with Rev. Alan Jones, Dean Emeritus, Grace Cathedral; Twitter

Join Gregory as he probes various religious traditions to better understand his own faith and answer some of life’s important questions: Who do we want to be and what do we believe? David’s journey has taken him inside Christian mega-churches and into the heart of Orthodox Judaism. He’s gone deep into Bible study and asked tough questions of America’s most thoughtful religious leaders. David approaches his faith with the curiosity and dedication you would expect from a journalist accustomed to holding politicians and presidents accountable.