Upcoming Events

Thu 10/27

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, October 27, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM
Explore San Francisco's Financial District

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!

Tue 11/1

Image - Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel: Greed, Murder, and Arson in California's Vineyards

Date: Tue, November 01, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Time for wine crime

Frances Dinkelspiel, Author, Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

In 2005 a massive warehouse fire broke out in Vallejo, destroying 4.5 million bottles of California’s finest wine. The damage came out to be $250 million, making it the largest destruction of wine in history, and it included priceless bottles of Port and Angelica made by Dinkelspiel’s great-great grandfather. An investigation revealed that the fire was deliberately set by Mark Anderson, a skilled con man and thief. What’s even harder to believe is this wasn’t the first time wine was at the center of crime and destruction.

Dinkelspiel traces the history of California wine and unravels this story of greed, violence and obsession.

Wed 11/2

Image - Chef Jeremiah Tower

Chef Jeremiah Tower: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother?

Date: Wed, November 02, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
An Elements of Style for the table

Jeremiah Tower, Chef; Author, Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother; Twitter
In conversation with Amanda Haas, Culinary Director, Williams-Sonoma

Jeremiah Tower was a founding chef in the 1970s at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse restaurant and is widely credited as one of the creators of both New American Cuisine and California Cuisine. In 1984, Tower opened his own restaurant, Stars, in San Francisco. It was an overnight sensation and fostered the careers of numerous American chefs, including Mark Franz, Mario Batali, Tim Grable, Emily Luchetti and Jerry Traunfeld. The restaurant was among the top-grossing restaurants in the United States for close to a decade. Tower went on to win a James Beard Award as the best chef in America, hosted a PBS Series and opened restaurants in Singapore and Hong Kong. He holds a degree in architecture from Harvard.

Come hear his both witty and serious thoughts on manners in 2016—at the dinner party, the bar or in your own home. Tower has advice on everything: food allergies, RSVPs, iPhones, running late, thank-yous, restaurant etiquette, even what to do when you are served something disgusting.

Image - Ben Franklin Circles

Ben Franklin Circles

Date: Wed, November 02, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Bringing people together to discuss pressing philosophical & ethical issues

Join us monthly, every first Wednesday, for a 21st-century version of Ben Franklin’s mutual improvement club. One evening a week, for more than 40 years, the founding father discussed and debated with his friends the 13 virtues that he felt formed the basis for personal and civic improvement, a list he created when he was 20 years old. The virtues to which he aspired included justice, resolution and humility (but don't misunderstand Ben on that one—his explanation of humility was "imitate Jesus and Socrates").

Ben Franklin Circles bring people together to discuss the most pressing philosophical and ethical issues of our time with the goal of improving ourselves and our world.

Thu 11/3

Image - Adam Gazzaley

The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World

Date: Thu, November 03, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D., Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco; Founding Director, Neuroscience Imaging Center, Neuroscape Lab and the Gazzaley Lab; Co-founder and Chief Science Advisor, Akili Interactive; Co-founder and Chief Scientist, JAZZ Venture Partners; Co-author, The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World

We are living in extraordinary times. Rapid advances in information technology continuously transform our lives in countless ways. But we are now aware that our increasingly information-saturated world, coupled with growing expectations of constant availability and immediate responsiveness, can place excessive demands on our brains. The consequences can include detrimental effects on our safety, education, workplace and relationships with family and friends. Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist and trailblazer in the study of how our brains process information, will take us on a journey into how and why we struggle with interruptions and distractions that emerge from both our inner and outer worlds.

He will present a unique evolutionary perspective that the very essence of what has evolved in our brains to make us most human—our ability to set high-level goals —collides head-first with our brain’s fundamental limitations in cognitive control. He will conclude by offering practical strategies for modifying our behavior, as well as sharing his lab's latest innovations in enhancing our brain's function, so that we can better survive and thrive in the information age.

Image - Kerrin Meis

Egon Schiele: A Feminist Artist Ahead of His Time

Date: Thu, November 03, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Kerrin Meis, Retired Lecturer, SFSU; Teacher, OLLI Berkeley and OLLI San Rafael

Egon Schiele, artistically active in Vienna during the last days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, adored women, and was influenced by the fin-de-siècle preoccupation with sex. The Viennese artist was excited by Sigmund Freud's 1905 Theories of Sexuality, Gustav Mahler’s suggestive music, and Gustav Klimt's gorgeous images of desire. Schiele was even more audacious in his nudes and his explorations of self in his self-portraits, in his landscapes of the small village where he had retreated from Vienna (and was imprisoned for his erotic art) and in his deeply perceptive portraits. His many masterpieces explore the mysteries of love and death.

Mon 11/7

Image - Leana Wen

Public Health and Physician Activism: Lessons from Baltimore

Date: Mon, November 07, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Leana Wen, MD, Emergency Physician, Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City; TED MED Speaker; Author, When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests

The Sixth Annual Lundberg Institute lecture focuses on Dr. Wen's experiences as Baltimore's commissioner of health during times of change, as our medical institutions are under pressure from all sides. She will also draw on her personal experiences as a child immigrant, who started learning English at age 8, but by 18 had already graduated summa cum laude from college. She will explain how those experiences have influenced her interest in improving patient-physician communication.

Wed 11/9

Image - Erin Byrne

Wings: Gifts of Art, Life and Travel in France

Date: Wed, November 09, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Erin Byrne, Author, Wings: Gifts of Art, Life, and Travel in France

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

France is steeped in refined traditions, with its rich history, exquisite art, robust culture and varied cuisine. Erin Byrne's essays draw upon her trips, from Cézanne’s studio in Aix-en-Provence to a tiny village in the Jura Mountains, from a Left Bank neighborhood bistro to a plain high above the Normandy beaches. She collects stories, characters, tastes and secrets that act as ingredients for change, and then digs deeper to uncover meaning. Henri Cartier-Bresson issues a challenge, Sainte Geneviève offers resilience, Salvador Dalí seduces, Picasso entertains, and a wrought iron sign portends the future.

Wings, which won the Paris Book Festival award for travel genre, is about the gifts that we all glean from our travels.

Image - Leland Faust

A Capitalist’s Lament: How Wall Street Is Fleecing You and Ruining America

Date: Wed, November 09, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Are you using the system or is the system using you?

Leland Faust, Founder and Chairman, CSI Capital Management; Member, Sporting News Top 100 Most Powerful People in Sports; Author, A Capitalist’s Lament: How Wall Street Is Fleecing You and Ruining America
In conversation with Roy Eisenhardt, Former President, Oakland Athletics

Leland Faust, an outspoken financial services insider and investment advisor, believes our great free enterprise system has been hijacked by Wall Street for its own gains, and he claims “you are being fleeced and exposed to risks you know nothing about.”

Presenting a high-level insider view, Faust shares his real-world experience both from representing high-profile celebrities and managing a successful mutual fund. He warns that the financial services industry misleads us, and he delivers an upbeat message, saying "learn how to get ahead instead of getting taken."

Thu 11/10

Image - Rick Hanson

A Courageous Brain: Not Manipulated by Needless Fear

Date: Thu, November 10, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Fear not

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., Psychologist; Author, New York Times bestselling Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence

Our ancestors evolved a frightened brain for survival in harsh conditions. Today, unnecessary and unwarranted fear can make it harder to speak from the heart, dream big dreams and stand up to the manipulations of advertisers and demagogues. Dr. Hanson will explore the practical neuroscience of courage in ourselves, our homes, offices and politics.

Mon 11/14

Raising America’s Porn Literacy—and Managing America’s Porn Panic

Date: Mon, November 14, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Marty Klein explains the impact of sexually explicit materials

Marty Klein, Ph.D., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; Sex Therapist; Policy Analyst; Author, His Porn, Her Pain and the DVD Enhancing Porn Literacy in Young People

Less than 20 years ago, one of the most disruptive technologies in human history came to America—broadband Internet. Like most technical advances, it was immediately adapted for sexual purposes. When it brought free, high-quality pornography into 100 million American homes, the country was simply not prepared for it.

Dr. Marty Klein says we still aren’t. He says that as a result, the United States is in the midst of what he calls a "porn panic," marked by high levels of fear, outrage, misinformation, blame and demands for action.

This is the background of the conflict many couples face about porn, of the anxieties of parents, and of the self-destructive uses of porn. In this talk, one of America’s experts on pornography discusses the context of our difficulties, with thought-provoking suggestions on how to respond. Using material from his new book His Porn, Her Pain, Dr. Klein will discuss building "porn literacy" in children, in couples and in porn consumers—while discussing the scientific evidence about how sexually explicit material actually affects consumers, their relationships and society.

The subject of pornography sits at the intersection of politics, culture and our personal lives—and our audience last year found Dr. Klein so entertaining and provocative discussing "Sexual Intelligence" that we’ve invited him back again.

Image - Saul Friedländer

Historian Saul Friedländer: The Holocaust and Its Importance in 2016

Date: Mon, November 14, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
A renowned historian looks at history's meaning for today

Saul Friedländer, Historian; Professor, UCLA, Author, When Memory Comes and Where Memory Leads: My Life

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Saul Friedländer is widely regarded as one of the quintessential experts on the Holocaust. Forty years after his Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945, Friedländer returns with When Memory Comes: The Later Years, bridging the gap between the ordeals of his childhood and his present-day towering reputation in the field of Holocaust studies. After abandoning his youthful conversion to Catholicism, he rediscovered his Jewish roots as a teenager and built a new life in Israeli politics and a lifelong fascination with Jewish life and history. Friedländer went on to spend his adulthood shuttling between Israel, Europe and the United States, armed with his talent for language and an expansive intellect.

Join us for a rare conversation with this renowned historian, who will share his personal story and his insights on the relevance of the Holocaust to the world of 2016.

Tue 11/15

Image - Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola: The Program You Can’t Refuse

Date: Tue, November 15, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
A cinema legend opens up

Francis Ford Coppola, Director, The Godfather; Author, The Godfather Notebook

Part of the Club’s Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather is universally praised as one of the greatest films ever made. The 1972 epic won best picture and best screenplay Oscars and was subsequently followed by two successful sequels. Join us for a rare conversation with Francis Coppola, who will take us behind the scenes of these legendary films, as spelled out in his just-published book, The Godfather Notebook. Here’s a chance to learn about Brando, Pacino, the casting and the filmmaking, along with the personal and professional qualities that turned director Francis Coppola into an American icon. An offer you truly can’t refuse.

Wed 11/16

A Holiday Toast to the 2016 Wine Harvest: Sustainable Practices and Pairings

Date: Wed, November 16, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Panel discussion and wine tasting

Lucas Pope, Halter Ranch Vineyards
Neil Collins, Tablas Creek Vineyard
Dirk Heuvel, McManis Family Vineyards
Katie Jackson, Jackson Family Wines
Allison Jordan, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, Moderator

Join our distinguished panelists, recipients of the 2016 Green Medal Awards, as they share their year-long journey toward the 2016 vineyard harvest and their commitments to environmental stewardship, social responsibility and the desire to keep land and businesses sustainable for future generations.

Following the program, continue the conversation with our panel and celebrate the holidays with a tasting of their outstanding wines!

Thu 11/17

Image - Kira Reginato

Tips for Helping Your Aging Parents (Without Losing Your Mind)

Date: Thu, November 17, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM
Taking care of aging loved ones while not losing yourself

Kira Reginato, Elder Care Manager; Speaker; Author; Elder Care Consultant

Speaking from her recent book, Tips for Helping Your Aging Parents (Without Losing Your Mind), elder care expert Kira Reginato shares her best tips for keeping your mind, temper and sense of humor as you care for a loved one.

Kira's upbeat approach outlines the basics of how to take care of anyone as they age without sacrificing taking care of yourself.

Reginato, a gerontologist and elder care consultant, draws on her three decades of expertise helping older adults and their families, as well as from being the primary caregiver for her father. She knows the weight gain, the interrupted sleep, the worry, the resentment, along with the funny and tender moments. She’s on a mission to reduce the caregiving burden she sees every day with her clients.

She provides practical methods for combating "caregiving overwhelm" and helps you manage expectations of your loved one and yourself.

Mon 11/21

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, November 21, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Tue 11/29

Image - Angelo Volandes

Better End-of-Life Care: Using Video and Story to Aid Decisions

Date: Tue, November 29, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Making better end-of-life decisions

Angelo Volandes, M.D., Faculty Member, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Why do so many Americans die in ways they say they don’t want, suffering and tethered to machines? When Harvard physician Dr. Angelo Volandes had trouble explaining to his dying patient the possible consequences of her treatment options, he walked her down to the ICU. She immediately understood where her decision might lead, and it changed her outlook. Since then, Dr. Volandes has created dozens of powerful videos to support advance care planning and facilitate difficult conversations about end-of-life care. His ground-breaking work has attracted support from the NIH and private foundations, and his efforts have helped thousands of clinicians, patients and families have “the conversation.”

Dr. Volandes’ efforts have demonstrated the power of stories and video in helping patients make decisions that reflect their preferences and values. He has applied his approach to large health-care systems and entire states, and his work has been translated into multiple languages. His presentation will include excerpts from several videos as well as from his recent book, The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care.

Mon 12/5

Image - James Hoggan

I'm Right and You're an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up

Date: Mon, December 05, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

James Hoggan, President, Hoggan & Associates; Chair of the Board, David Suzuki Foundation; Author, I'm Right and You're an Idiot

James Hoggan contends that the most pressing environmental problem we face today is not climate change. It is pollution in the public square, where a smog of adversarial rhetoric and propaganda stifles discussion and creates resistance to change, thwarting our ability to solve our collective problems. In I'm Right and You're an Idiot, Hoggan grapples with this critical issue, conducting interviews with such notables as Thich Nhat Hanh, Noam Chomsky and the Dalai Lama.

Tue 12/6

Image - Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman: A Field Guide to the 21st Century

Date: Tue, December 06, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
A call for nations to be fast, fair and slow.

Thomas Friedman, Columnist, The New York Times; Author, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, The World Is Flat, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations; Twitter

In his most ambitious work to date, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, Thomas L. Friedman shows that we have entered an age of dizzying acceleration—and explains how to live in it. Due to an exponential increase in computing power, climbers atop Mount Everest enjoy excellent cell-phone service, and self-driving cars are taking to the roads.

A parallel explosion of economic interdependency has created new riches as well as spiraling debt burdens. Meanwhile, Mother Nature is also seeing dramatic changes as carbon levels rise and species go extinct, with compounding results. Today, it is easier than ever to be a maker (try 3-D printing) or a breaker (the Islamic State excels at using Twitter), but harder than ever to be a leader or merely "average."

Friedman concludes that nations and individuals must learn to be fast (innovative and quick to adapt), fair (prepared to help the casualties of change), and slow (adept at shutting out the noise and accessing their deepest values). Join Friedman for an engaging conversation on how we should think about and cope with all of these changes.

Wed 12/7

Mind over Genes: Heredity Is not Destiny—The Science of Epigenetics

Date: Wed, December 07, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., Stem Cell Biology Pioneer; Best-selling Author, The Biology of Belief

A renaissance in science is creating a genuine revolution in thought and understanding, one so radical that it is changing the world. The frontier science of epigenetics reveals that we are not victims of our genes but instead have unlimited capacity to live a life overflowing with peace, health and happiness.

Cell biologist and bestselling author Bruce H. Lipton will take you on a fast-paced journey from the microcosm of the cell to the macrocosm of the mind. This informative and self-empowering presentation on the mechanics of the mind-body interaction explores his views of how our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs create the conditions of our body and our place in the world. He has designed this presentation to inspire your spirit, engage your mind and empower you to become the master of your fate rather than the "victim" of your heredity.