Upcoming Events

Thu 6/22

Image - Unger

The Gay Bar in American History

Date: Thu, June 22, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The history of the gay bar

Nancy Unger, Professor of History, Santa Clara University

For more than 100 years, gay clubs and bars have served as havens and sanctuaries as well as party spots and hookup sites. They've been the centers of solidarity, community and education. They've also been the sites of violence and persecution that ultimately led to great advancements in pride, rights and freedoms. Unger's richly illustrated talk highlights the history of a long and colorful American tradition central to the LGBTQ community: the gay bar—from jook joints to the Stonewall Inn to Orlando's Pulse and beyond.

Tue 6/27

Image - There Is No Good Card for This

There Is No Good Card for This

Date: Tue, June 27, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
How to master empathy

Dr. Kelsey Crowe, Author; Speaker; Founder, Help Each Other Out
Dr. B.J. Miller Jr., Hospice and Palliative Care Specialist, UCSF Medical Center

When someone you know is hurting, you want to let her know you care. But many people don’t know the exact words to use—or are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. This thoughtful, instructive guide, from empathy expert Kelsey Crowe, blends well-researched, actionable advice with the no-nonsense humor and immensely popular empathy cards to help you feel confident in connecting with anyone experiencing grief, loss, illness or any other difficult situation.

Whether it’s a co-worker whose mother has died, a neighbor whose husband has been in a car accident or a friend who is seriously ill, Crowe advises you how to be the best friend you can be to someone in need.

Crowe is the founder of Help Each Other Out, which offers empathy bootcamp workshops to give people tools for building relationships when it really counts. She earned her Ph.D. in social work at the University of California, Berkeley and is a faculty member at the School of Social Work at California State University.

Miller is a hospice and palliative care specialist who treats hospitalized patients with terminal or life-altering illnesses at UCSF Medical Center. He also sees patients in a palliative care clinic and at the cancer symptom management service at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Mon 7/10

Image - Lefty O'Doul

Lefty O'Doul: Baseball's Forgotten Ambassador

Date: Mon, July 10, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Baseball and Japanese–U.S. relations

Dennis Snelling, Author, Lefty O'Doul: Baseball's Forgotten Ambassador

Monday Night Philosophy goes beyond ping-pong diplomacy and delves deep into the foreign policy role baseball played in US–Japan relations before and after World War II. Dennis Snelling reviews the roles played by Horace Wilson, Mike Fisher and Lefty O'Doul in making baseball popular in Japan. Horace Wilson, a Civil War veteran who had settled in San Francisco, taught English (and baseball) in Japan in the 1870s. Mike Fisher, a San Francisco entrepreneur, organized the first tour of Japan by professional ballplayers in 1908. Lefty O'Doul, a San Francisco native, played in Japan in 1931 and then brought Babe Ruth and others with him in 1934, where he helped found the Tokyo Giants. After the war, General MacArthur arranged for O'Doul to bring a baseball team over to help repair relations, which he successfully did in many ways on and off the field.

Tue 7/11

Image - Schwartz

The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M.B. Curtis

Date: Tue, July 11, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The Jewish Jackie Robinson of the stage

Richard Schwartz, Historian; Author, The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M.B. Curtis

Richard Schwartz captures the life of M.B. Curtis, an incredibly influential immigrant actor of the late 19th century. It is a story of immigration, assimilation, the theater and the invisible wings of comedy. It is about how one play became the way a nation examined its feelings and attitudes towards immigrants and gave audiences a chance to walk in shoes they would never have worn. Curtis was the Jewish Jackie Robinson of the stage—the first Jewish male actor who was allowed to portray a Jewish male on stage in America. His talent, creativity, fame, suffering, perseverance, dreaming and overnight rise to stardom linked him intimately with the Statue of Liberty, Mark Twain, New York, San Francisco, murder and the greatest African-American entertainment troupe of its time. 

Thu 8/10

Image - Devlin

Finding Fibonacci

Date: Thu, August 10, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The lost legacy of Fibonacci

Keith Devlin, Executive Director, Stanford University's H-STAR Institute; President, BrainQuake; Senior Researcher, the Center for the Study of Language and Information; the "Math Guy," NPR; Author, Finding Fibonacci

Finding Fibonacci is Devlin's compelling quest to tell the story of the medieval mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, more popularly known as Fibonacci. Although he is most famous for the Fibonacci numbers (which he did not invent), Fibonacci's greatest contribution was as an expositor of mathematical ideas at a level ordinary people could understand. In 1202, Liber Abbaci ("The Book of Calculation") introduced the western world to modern arithmetic. Yet Fibonacci was long forgotten after his death, and it was not until the 1960s that his achievements were finally recognized. Devlin describes his quest's highs and lows, false starts and disappointments, tragedies and unexpected turns, hilarious episodes, and occasional lucky breaks, bringing together the threads of Fibonacci's astonishing (and previously vanishing) part in the revival of science, technology and commerce.

Thu 8/17

Image - Good Health

Good Health Starts in Your Home

Date: Thu, August 17, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Removing toxins to create a healthy lifestyle

Beth Greer, The Super Natural Mom®; Journalist; Author, Super Natural Home

What if you could get healthy by simply changing your home environment? Every day, we’re exposed to hundreds of untested chemicals: additives in food, endocrine disruptors in soap and shampoo, fumes in household cleaners. These chemicals comprise your “body burden” and can exacerbate allergies, asthma, fatigue, cough, headache and more serious health conditions.

Beth Greer had been living what she considered a healthy lifestyle when a medical crisis prompted her to reevaluate everything—from the food she ate to the personal-care products she used and the environment she lived in. She eliminated a sizable tumor in her chest without drugs or surgery by making small but powerful lifestyle shifts.

Greer, now one of the foremost experts on sustainable and toxin-free living, will share bite-sized wisdom she learned on her path back to health and give you a greater awareness of what goes in you, on you and surrounds you in order to radically improve your health and vitality. You will leave with simple, affordable ways to
• make safe, healthy product choices.
• understand vague and misleading food, personal care and cleaning labels.
• detect and eliminate electromagnetic radiation from cell phones, laptops and Wi-Fi.

As a consultant and speaker, Greer assists individuals and organizations in creating toxin-free, holistic homes and work environments as well as lifestyles that improve health, mood and performance. As an award-winning journalist, Greer was recently named one of the Top 50 Health and Environmental Journalists to Follow in 2016. Her best-selling book, Super Natural Home, was endorsed by Deepak Chopra and Ralph Nader. 

In addition to experiencing firsthand the powerful benefits of holistic, toxin-free living, Greer found powerful holistic approaches that helped her teenage daughter overcome ADHD and addiction to drugs and alcohol. Greer is the host of “Kids in Crisis” radio show, where she interviews leading medical experts and treatment professionals. She is also the former president of the Learning Annex. Some of her clients include: Google, LinkedIn, NBC, NPR, Rodale WellnessMartha Stewart LivingHealthPrevention and CNN. Learn more at BethGreer.com.

Wed 8/30

Image - Silk

Fake Silk: The Hidden Story of a Workplace Tragedy

Date: Wed, August 30, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The dark story of toxic silk

Dr. Paul D. Blanc, M.D., MSPH, Professor of Medicine and Endowed Chair in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the University of California, San Francisco; Author, How Everyday Products Make People SickFake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon; Blogger, Household Hazards (hosted by Psychology Today

In a comprehensive and disturbing history of viscose rayon, or “fake silk,” Paul Blanc sheds light on the environmental and public health hazards of producing this ubiquitous textile. In Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon, Blanc asks a fundamental question: When a new technology makes people ill, how high does the body count have to be before protective steps are taken? This is a dark story of hazardous manufacturing, poisonous materials, environmental abuses, political machinations and economics trumping safety concerns. Blanc explores the century-long history of fake silk, which is used to produce products such as rayon textiles and tires, cellophane, and everyday kitchen sponges. He uncovers the grim history of a product that crippled and even served a death sentence to many industry workers while at the same time environmentally releasing carbon disulfide, the critical toxic component of viscose.

Blanc received his bachelor's degree from Goddard College, where he first became interested in health and the environment. He later trained at the Harvard School of Public Health (in industrial hygiene), the Albert Einstein School of Medicine and Cook County Hospital. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of California, San Francisco and a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He was a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy and at the American Academy in Rome. More recently, he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Thu 9/14

Image - Sara Gottfried

The Younger Protocol: Three Breakthrough Strategies to Reverse "Inflammaging," Reset Gene Expression, and Lengthen Healthspan

Date: Thu, September 14, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Lengthening one's healthspan

Dr. Sara Gottfried, M.D., Health Expert; Author, Younger

The younger protocol will show you how to recognize the warning signs of aging and inflammation (“inflammaging”)—worsening vision, weight gain, loss of muscle mass, thinner skin and faulty memory—and turn them around with evidence-based functional medicine. Recent data shows that 90 percent of disease is caused not by genes but by the environment surrounding your genes, much of which can be modified with lifestyle choices. Applying the science of epigenetics—the interaction of genes with the environment, which leads to heritable changes in the way DNA is expressed in your body—you will learn three key strategies that modulate the genes of aging. These strategies are taken from Gottfried’s seven-week protocol, which is the basis of her new book, Younger. The goal is lengthen one's healthspan—the period of time when you feel young, healthy, and in your prime—relatively free of disease.

Gottfried is a world-renowned health expert and a New York Times best-selling author. She practices functional medicine and evidence-based integration in her online courses. After graduating from Harvard Medical School and MIT, Gottfried completed her residency at the University of California, San Francisco. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at www.SaraGottfriedMD.com.

Mon 9/18

Image - Tanzania

Tanzania: Country, People, Wildlife and Environment

Date: Mon, September 18, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Tanzania through the camera lens

Don Koss, Photographer, Researcher, Explorer

Journey to Tanzania with Don Koss, a highly respected photographer and researcher. With over forty years of adventures, Koss will share his reflections about life, habitat and cultural changes in one of the oldest known human inhabited areas in the world. His incredible collection of photographs tell of a land of geographical extremes and extraordinary wildlife. Don will provide examples of his outstanding collection of photographs, sharing visual outlines of Tanzania and its people, wildlife and environment. Join us for an incredible odyssey though the eye of an explorer.

Thu 9/28

Image - Hacking of American Mind

The Hacking of the American Mind

Date: Thu, September 28, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The conflation of pleasure and happiness

Dr. Robert H. Lustig, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, University of California, San Francisco; Director, UCSF Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program

What is the difference between pleasure and happiness? These two positive emotions are often confused with each other, yet they couldn’t be more different. Pleasure is short-lived, visceral, usually experience alone, achievable with substances. Happiness, by contrast, is often the opposite—long-lived, ethereal, often experienced in social groups and cannot be achieved through substances. Pleasure is taking while happiness is giving. Pleasure relies on dopamine while happiness relies on serotonin. These too emotions involve two different neurotransmitters, regulatory systems and pathways in the brain.

But why should we care? Dopamine downregulates its own receptor: You get a hit, a rush—and then the receptors go down. Next time, you need more and more. Anything that generates pleasure can lead to addiction. Conversely, serotonin does not downregulate its own receptor, so you cannot overdose on too much happiness. There is one thing that does downregulate serotonin though: dopamine. The more pleasure we seek, the less happy we become.

In the last 45 years—in order to sell us their junk—Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Las Vegas and Silicon Valley have conflated pleasure with happiness so that we don’t know the difference anymore. Congress and the Supreme Court have codified corporate behavior, leaving us addicted and depressed. In the process, society has become fat, sick, stupid and broke. The only way to reverse this is by understanding the science of these two ostensibly “positive” emotions—how they interact and how to modulate them. Otherwise, those who abdicate happiness for pleasure will end up with neither.

Lustig is a neuroendocrinologist with basic and clinical training relative to hypothalamic development, anatomy and function. Prior to coming to San Francisco, he worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. A native of Brooklyn, Lustig graduated from MIT and received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. He has been a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Tennessee, Memphis. More information can be found here.