Upcoming Events

Wed 9/10

Image - James Ellroy

James Ellroy

Date: Wed, September 10, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Come hear the "Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction."

James Ellroy, Author, L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia and Perfidia

In conversation with Eddie Muller, Author; Founder and President, Film Noir Foundation

In Perfidia, his latest work, Ellroy delves more deeply than ever before into his characters' intellectual and emotional lives. But it has the full-strength, unbridled story-telling audacity that has marked all the acclaimed work of the "Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction."

From "one of the great American writers of our time" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) comes a brilliant crime/historical novel, and his largest, most accessible novel yet: a pulse-pounding, as-it-happens narrative that unfolds in Los Angeles over 23 days beginning on December 6, 1941. The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States teeters on the edge of war. The roundup of allegedly treasonous Japanese Americans is about to begin. And in L.A., a Japanese family is found dead. Murder or ritual suicide?

The investigation will draw four people into a totally Ellroy-ian tangle: a brilliant Japanese American forensic chemist; an unsatisfiably adventurous young woman; one police officer based in fact (William H. "Whiskey Bill" Parker, later to become the groundbreaking chief of the LAPD), the other the product of Ellroy's inimitable imagination (Dudley Smith, arch villain of The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, White Jazz). As their lives intertwine, we are given a story of war and of consuming romance, a searing exposé of the Japanese internment and an astonishingly detailed homicide investigation.

Image - Effecting Social Change with Documentary Filmmaking: Marin Conversations

Effecting Social Change with Documentary Filmmaking: Marin Conversations with James Redford and Tabitha Jackson

Date: Wed, September 10, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Two experts share their experiences with film storytelling.

James Redford, Screenwriter, Producer, Director; Co-founder and Chairman, The Redford Center
Tabitha Jackson, Director, Documentary Film Program, Sundance Institute

Documentary films are powerful tools for understanding social issues and encouraging activism. The topics of James Redford's films have ranged from dyslexia to organ donation and have provided meaningful insight into these tough subjects. At the Sundance Institute, Tabitha Jackson is at the forefront of promoting documentary films. Join these two gifted artists and social change champions as they discuss the power of film in catalyzing a better world.

James Redford co-founded and chairs The Redford Center, a non-profit production company committed to documenting stories of environmental and social issues. His numerous HBO documentary films include Toxic Hot Seat, which explores the dangers of chemical flame-retardants on furniture; The Big Picture, which examines the challenges – and gifts – of dyslexia; Mann V. Ford, which brings attention to the poisoning of a Native American community; and The Kindness of Strangers which celebrates the miracle of organ donation, which he credits with saving his own life twice.

Tabitha Jackson serves as the director of the Documentary Film Program at the Sundance Institute. The program supports filmmakers in producing cinematic documentaries that address contemporary social issues and engage in compelling story telling. Tabitha served as commissioning editor for the Arts at Channel 4 in the UK. She has made numerous films in both the U.S. and UK about identity, history and social justice. She received the News and Documentary Emmy, the Royal Television Society Award and the UNESCO Gold Award. 

Image - Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini

Date: Wed, September 10, 2014
Time: 7:30 PM
The best-selling author receives the John Steinbeck Award.

Khaled Hosseini, Author, The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and And the Mountains Echoed
In Conversation with Pat Thurston, Talk Show Host, KGO Radio

As a young Afghan immigrant, Hosseini had a profound life-changing experience when his Independence High School English teacher, Jan Sanchez, introduced him to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Join us as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Steinbeck classic with Dr. Hosseini, who will be honored with the John Steinbeck Award for his literary contributions and humanitarian efforts. Hear more about Hosseini’s extraordinary journey as an author, philanthropist and citizen of the world.

Thu 9/11

Go to Politics, Environment and National Security

Politics, Environment and National Security

Date: Thu, September 11, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Louis Schubert, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Social Sciences Department, City College of San Francisco.

Politics, environment and national security may seem like an odd combination of opposing narratives, theories and topics. Yet all three are closely related. Healthy or unhealthy environments are part of every nation's security and politics. And all three – politics, environment and national security – are interactive and intertwined in the outcomes of worldwide environmental health, security and violence. Join us in an exploration of these three seemingly opposite narratives: politics, environment and national security and how an understanding of these narratives interacting as a whole will give us a more inclusive picture of the impacts of environmental health and security on local peoples, communities, nations and the world.

Fri 9/12

Image - What Makes a Perfect Loaf?

What Makes a Perfect Loaf?

Date: Fri, September 12, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Journalist Fromartz and baker Robertson delve deep into bread.

Samuel Fromartz, Author, In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker's Odyssey; Blogger, ChewsWise; @fromartz,
In conversation with Chad Robertson, owner Tartine, Bar Tartine; Author, Tartine Book No. 3: Modern, Ancient, Classic, Whole; @tartinebaker

In this discussion, journalist Fromartz and renowned baker Robertson will delve deep into bread, attempting to define a great loaf and what it takes to make it. Fromartz, a home baker for more than 17 years, traveled through the U.S. and to Europe to meet bakers, millers and sourdough microbiologists and translate their lessons to his kitchen. Robertson, the owner of Tartine Bakery, travelled to countries, including Denmark, bringing a new understanding of whole grain loaves into his repertoire. The two will riff off themes in Fromartz's book, touching on everything from the art of fermentation to the craft of the baker.

Image - Climate on the Brain

Climate on the Brain

Date: Fri, September 12, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
The psychology behind why humans ignore climate change.

George Marshall, Author, Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change
Dacher Keltner, Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley

Abundant scientific evidence demonstrates that climate disruption is happening in all 50 states now and many Americans are directly experiencing impacts. Yet many people are failing to do all they can to reduce carbon pollution and build a resilient future. Are we mad? Or are we simply human?

While fossil fuels are challenges on many systemic levels – biological, economic, political, international – one of the most daunting obstacles is human cognition. Human brains are wired to detect threats such as tigers in the bush and are not well equipped for odorless invisible gases coming out our own tailpipes and pie holes.

Join us for a conversation about how extreme weather events could make us less concerned, not more. Does having children make people less concerned about climate change? What can people do to become informed and empowered?

Sat 9/13

Image - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Date: Sat, September 13, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
The senator recounts her personal journey in public service.

Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator; Author, Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World; Twitter: @SenGillibrand

The senator recounts her personal journey in public service and aims to galvanize women to reach beyond their busy lives and make a meaningful difference in the world around them. If women were fully represented in politics, Gillibrand says, national priorities would shift to issues that directly impact them: affordable daycare, paid family medical leave, and equal pay. Pulling back the curtain on Beltway politics, she speaks candidly about her legislative successes (securing federally funded medical care for 9/11 first responders, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and her crushing disappointments (failing by five votes to pass a bill protecting survivors of sexual assault in the military). Gillibrand also shares stories of growing up the daughter and granddaughter of two trailblazing feminists in a politically active family in Albany, New York, and retraces her nonlinear path to public office.

Mon 9/15

Image - Deepak Chopra and Rinaldo Brutoco: Changing Energy, Changing Consciousne

Deepak Chopra and Rinaldo Brutoco: Changing Energy, Changing Consciousness

Date: Mon, September 15, 2014
Time: 9:00 AM
Exploring the deeper impact of energy consciousness.

Deepak Chopra, M.D., Mind-Body Physician; Author, The Soul of Leadership
Rinaldo Brutoco, President, Chopra Foundation; Founding President, World Business Academy; Author, Freedom from Mid-East Oil
Greg Dalton, Host and Founder, Climate One – Moderator

Our guests say that changing our choices about energy changes consciousness. Where should our energy come from – fossil fuels and nuclear plants? Or 100 percent safe, clean and renewable sources? Chopra and Brutoco say that because energy is the fundamental macro system of human society, once we change our consciousness about energy, we are capable of changing our consciousness about everything. Chopra and Brutoco will discuss the Moonshot Project aimed at eliminating global warming and fossil fuels to lead the planetary shift toward safe energy. As a global leader and pioneer in the field of mind-body medicine, Chopra’s goal is to transform the way the world views physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellness. Core areas of Brutoco’s work include clean energy, climate change analysis and mitigation as well as sustainable business strategy.

Image - Still Got It, Still Doing It: Sexuality and Intimacy in Older Adults

Still Got It, Still Doing It: Sexuality and Intimacy in Older Adults

Date: Mon, September 15, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM

Rick Nizzardini, LCSW; Clinical Counselor & Faculty, San Francisco State University; Lecturer, UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare and the CSU-East Bay Educational Psychology Program; Former Attorney

This presentation will focus on highlighting the often-overlooked issue of sexuality and older adults. With the cultural lens almost uniformly focused on sexuality and youth, where does that leave older adults in our society? Indeed, with a large portion of the baby boomer generation now over 65 years older, this issue demands that we shine the light on how older adults thrive as sexual beings in the 21st century. We will engage in group dialogue and watch video clips that present an affirmative view of sexuality in older adults and also explore the challenges older adults face as they continue to develop sexually in later life.

Go to Powering Innovation

Powering Innovation

Date: Mon, September 15, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Katie Fehrenbacher, Reporter, GigaOm
David Crane, CEO, NRG

Amazon, Apple, Google and your local power company: One of these things is not like the other. But NRG Energy executive David Crane says utilities should aspire to be in league with the strongest tech brands. What’s at stake? Electric companies must quickly find innovative ways to deliver clean and affordable energy, or more severe weather will destabilize the global economy. Government regulation alone won’t get the job done.

NRG is involved with some of the largest solar energy projects in the world including Ivanpah and Agua Caliente in California. Crane says consumers should have choices and that doesn’t mean deciding between powering your home today and the health of your family and our planet tomorrow. Katie Fehrenbacher writes about how innovative technologies are bringing exciting new changes to the way America produces and uses energy. Join us for a conversation about innovation, connected lifestyles and powering our future.

Image - Science & Technology Planning Meeting

Science & Technology Planning Meeting

Date: Mon, September 15, 2014
Time: 6:15 PM

Join fellow Club members with similar interests and brainstorm upcoming Science & Technology Member-Led Forum 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.

Tue 9/16

Image - Stewart Brand and Ryan Phelan: Genetic Rescue for Extinct and Endangered

Stewart Brand and Ryan Phelan: Genetic Rescue for Extinct and Endangered Wildlife

Date: Tue, September 16, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Stewart Brand, Co-founder, Revive and Restore; Founder, The Long Now Foundation; Founder/Editor, The Whole Earth Catalogue
Ryan Phelan, Co-founder and Executive Director, Revive & Restore

Brand and Phelan seek to restore extinct species to their former homes in the wild. Their organization Revive & Restore’s flagship project The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback is underway to bring the iconic passenger pigeon back from extinction using the genome of the band-tailed pigeon and genomic technology. Not shying away from the gargantuan challenges of de-extinction, the organization is pushing forward an endeavor to recreate the woolly mammoth in order to generate ecosystem changes capable of altering adverse climate change on a global scale. These audacious projects also advance the use of biotechnology for the genetic rescue of existing endangered species, such as Revive & Restore’s newest project: the endangered black-footed ferret.

Revive & Restore helps coordinate efforts so that genomic conservation can move ahead with the best current science, plenty of public transparency and the overall goal of enhancing biodiversity and ecological health worldwide. Phelan is a serial entrepreneur and was the founder and CEO of two innovative health-care companies, DNA Direct and Direct Medical Knowledge. Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalogue, was trained as a biologist at Stanford and served as an infantry officer in the US Army.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 9/16/14

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 9/16/14

Date: Tue, September 16, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Informative and engaging commentary!
Larry Gerston, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, San Jose State University; Political Analyst, NBC Bay Area; Author, Not So Golden After All: The Rise and Fall of California
Josh Richman, State and National Politics Reporter, Bay Area News Group, San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times; Twitter @josh_richman
Carla Marinucci, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter @cmarinucci
John Zipperer, Vice President of Media & Editorial, The Commonwealth Club – Host
 
Week to Week is headed back to Silicon Valley! 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!
Join us 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). Bring a friend — or come and make new ones

 

Wed 9/17

Image - The Cutting Edge of Science and Homeopathy and Nanomedicine

The Cutting Edge of Science and Homeopathy and Nanomedicine

Date: Wed, September 17, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Dana Ullman, MPH, CCN, Author, Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines; Founder, Homeopathic Educational Services

The body of evidence for homeopathy and nanopharmacology is so much larger than most people realize, says Ullman. He promises that this talk will highlight the best studies from the most respected physicians and scientists who have published in leading peer-review journals. Both basic science and clinical research will be discussed in user-friendly language. This talk will also describe plausible mechanisms of action for the nanodoses used in homeopathic medicines. He says that the cutting edge of conventional medicine today is exploring the power of nanodoses as a compelling and safer way of infiltrating cell membranes and blood-brain barriers. He will discuss the implications of homeopathy as a cutting edge science and medicine.

Image - Humans According to Data

Humans According to Data

Date: Wed, September 17, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Christian Rudder, Co-Founder, OkCupid; Author, Dataclysm

Our personal data has been used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need. OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder — writer of the popular blog OkTrends and Harvard mathematics graduate — has made a name for himself by mining big data to reveal the uncanny and surprising truths behind human behavior. In his new book Dataclysm, Christian strives to harness the infinite potential of the online to do more than predict the next election cycle or try to market a product. Instead, he aims to use big data to understand human nature, from our politics to our standards of beauty to our racism.

Join us for our inaugural Oakland event at the very cool Impact Hub to confront our essential selves according to Facebook, Google, Twitter and the data collecting engines of the internet age.

Thu 9/18

Image - General Anthony Zinni: Before the First Shots Are Fired

General Anthony Zinni: Before the First Shots Are Fired

Date: Thu, September 18, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
How does the U.S. decide to go to war?

General Anthony Zinni, USMC (ret.); Special Envoy to the Middle East (ret.); Author, Before the First Shots Are Fired: How America Can Win or Lose off the Battlefield

The question of whether the U.S. should act as the world’s police force has been disputed for decades – should the U.S. respond to issues abroad with military force? Retired four-star General Tony Zinni examines this question and breaks down the process of how the U.S. decides to go to war in his latest book. Drawing on his extensive military career spanning several decades, General Zinni analyzes America’s history of military action, the role of government in the military process and the necessary shifts in order to make the decision to go to war a more transparent process.

Image - Ruth S. DeFries: The Big Ratchet – How Humanity Thrives in the Face of N

Ruth S. DeFries: The Big Ratchet - How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis

Date: Thu, September 18, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Exploring the cycle of crisis and growth with Ruth DeFries.

Ruth S. DeFries, Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development and Chair, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University; Author, The Big Ratchet

The Big Ratchet is the story of how in the 20th century a range of technologies – from fossil fuels to scientific plant breeding to nitrogen fertilizers – combined to nearly quadruple our population in a century and to grow our food supply even faster. To some, these technologies are a sign of our greatness; to others, of our hubris. MacArthur fellow DeFries argues that the debate is the wrong one to have. Limits do exist, but every limit that has confronted us, we have surpassed. That cycle of crisis and growth is the story of our history; indeed, it is the essence of her book. Understanding it could reveal not just how we reached this point in our history, but how we might survive it.

Image - Benedict Carey: How We Learn

Benedict Carey: How We Learn

Date: Thu, September 18, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
What if everything we know about learning is wrong?

Benedict Carey, Science Reporter, The New York Times; Author, How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens; Twitter: @bencareynyt

What if almost everything we know about learning was wrong? With our brain sensitive to mood, timing, location and environment, how do we absorb and retain information? Find out more about whether repetition is necessary, why sleeping and daydreaming can be important to the learning process, and hear Carey’s tips for the best techniques to remember more. Carey has been with The New York Times for 10 years and writes about neuroscience, psychiatry, neurology and everyday psychology.

Fri 9/19

Image - Van Jones & John Hope Bryant: How the Poor Can Save Capitalism

Van Jones & John Hope Bryant: How the Poor Can Save Capitalism

Date: Fri, September 19, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Financial dignity for the “teetering class.”

Van Jones, Host, “Crossfire”; Former Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, White House Council on Environmental Quality
John Hope Bryant, Founder and CEO, Operation HOPE; Author, How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class

"There is a difference between being broke and being poor; being broke is a temporary economic situation, but being poor is a disabling frame of mind.” John Hope Bryant 

Van Jones will talk with Bryant about his work as founder of Operation HOPE. Bryant plans to revive the American economy by building financial dignity and empowerment for the “teetering class” to rise out of poverty, while reigniting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s "Poor People’s Campaign” for economic justice. 

Van Jones is the president and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, a platform for people-powered innovations to help fix the U.S. economy. He has also written two New York Times best sellers about the green economy and progressive politics.

John Hope Bryant was raised in Compton and South Central Los Angeles and has tirelessly promoted the virtues of hope, self-esteem, empowerment and opportunity for all. He has received more than 500 awards and citations for his work to empower low-wealth communities and has been an advisor to the last three sitting U.S. presidents. Bryant’s new book is How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class.

Sat 9/20

Image - Art Murmur Gallery Walk in Uptown Oakland

Art Murmur Gallery Walk in Uptown Oakland

Date: Sat, September 20, 2014
Time: 3:00 PM
Explore the vibrant East Bay community of artists.

Danielle Fox, PhD, Art Consultant and Gallery Director, SLATE Contemporary; Former Executive Director, Oakland Art Murmur

Heard the buzz about the Oakland art gallery scene? Explore Uptown Oakland with a guided tour highlighting galleries surrounding the heart of Oakland’s Art Murmur. Visit selected exhibits during this two-hour stroll that includes presentations by featured artists. At the end, participants 21 and over can compare notes while tasting award-winning Two Mile Wines (included).