Upcoming Events: All

Mon 5/4

Image - Sebastian Rejak, Polish Foreign Ministry’s Envoy to the Jewish Diaspora

Sebastian Rejak, Polish Foreign Ministry’s Envoy to the Jewish Diaspora

Date: Mon, May 04, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
How Europe’s Challenged Stability Affects Its Minorities: A Polish Perspective

How Europe’s Challenged Stability Affects Its Minorities: A Polish Perspective

Sebastian Rejak, Special Envoy of Poland's Minister of Foreign Affairs for Relations with the Jewish Diaspora

Dr. Rejak will focus on the Ukrainian issue (east of Poland) and the terrorist challenges in France, Belgium and the U.K. (west of Poland) to discuss how terrorism affects multicultural dynamics and immigrant communities in Europe and specifically in Poland. He will also touch on the issue of recent Jewish emigration from Europe which he says is linked to the ubiquitous feeling that Europe is no longer safe for Jews. Dr. Rejak has been working for the Polish Foreign Ministry since 2006 in the domain of Polish-Jewish relations. He completed his doctoral studies at the Graduate School for Social Research, affiliated to the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Dr. Rejak is a member of the Polish Society for Jewish Studies and sits on the Advisory Board of the Institute of Polish-Jewish Studies (associated with the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies).

Book Discussion: The Last of the Wine, by Mary Renault

Date: Mon, May 04, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

In The Last of the Wine, the long Peloponnesian War against Sparta underpins a story centering on the life of Athens and the circle of young men around Socrates. The novel focuses on the coming to manhood of its narrator, a young Athenian nobleman named Alexias, and of Lysis, the man who becomes the love of Alexias' life. The novel's chief concern is the sort of Greek love that inspired Plato's great dialogues, Symposium and Phaedrus. Alexias' solution to the eternal tension between virtue and desire is not quite that of Plato, here seen as a member of the circle around Socrates. That circle is full of names familiar from the Platonic dialogues: Kritias, Charmides and Phaedo; and of others, like Xenophon, famed for their own historic deeds.

While the settings of various episodes vary widely, the focus of the story is Athens, in the households of the protagonists and in the bustling streets where Socrates seeks and passes on wisdom.

The Last of the Wine captures the private lives of Athenian citizens, especially the intersection of the individual with the public life of the city that defined the Athenian soul. This clearly ranks among the three best novels Renault wrote, and an argument can be made for it as the best novel ever written about the ancient Greeks.

Image - Capturing Grace: Documentary Screening and Q&A with Filmmaker Dave Ivers

Capturing Grace: Documentary Screening and Q&A with Filmmaker Dave Iverson

Date: Mon, May 04, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
A story about a unique dance performance with Parkinson's patients.

Dave Iverson, Filmmaker

Capturing Grace is an award-winning documentary that tells the unlikely story of what happens when New York's legendary Mark Morris Dance Group joins forces with people with Parkinson's disease to stage a unique performance. Filmed over the course of a year, it's a story about the power of art and the enduring strength of the human spirit. Capturing Grace has screened to sold-out audiences at film festivals around the country and is the winner of Mill Valley Film Festival's Audience Favorite Award and the Starz Denver Film Festival's People's Choice Award.

Filmmaker Dave Iverson is an independent film producer and broadcast journalist. He was also the writer, correspondent and co-producer/director of the 2009 PBS “Frontline” documentary, “My Father, My Brother and Me,” which explored his family’s battle with Parkinson’s as well as the scientific, ethical and political issues raised by this condition. Iverson now serves as contributing editor for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, where he produces reports on Parkinson’s research and moderates panel discussions with researchers and Parkinson’s patients around the country.

Join us for an inspirational one-hour documentary and a chance to hear from the filmmaker.

Tue 5/5

Image - Psychological Pseudoscience

Psychological Pseudoscience

Date: Tue, May 05, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With Sheldon W. Helms, Associate Professor of Psychology

Sheldon W. Helms, Associate Professor of Psychology, Ohlone College; Board of Directors Member, Bay Area Skeptics; Founder, Ohlone Psychology Club Speaker Series

As medical doctors battle homeopathy and anti-vaccine myths, anthropologists counter creationist claims, and dietitians deal with the battle against gluten and GMOs, much of the skeptical community is oddly silent on dubious claims from fringe psychology. In this talk, psychology professor Sheldon W. Helms will discuss unsupported and sometimes dangerously pseudo-scientific claims from the field of psychology, giving a brief history and explanation of each practice or theory, and demonstrating how a simple application of the scientific method reveals its flaws.

Wed 5/6

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Humanities West Book Discussion: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Date: Wed, May 06, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
The classic novel about World War I.

Join us to discuss the classic novel about World War I, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. The discussion will be led by Lynn Harris.

Image - Lights, Camera, Take Action; Storytelling for Change

Lights, Camera, Take Action; Storytelling for Change: The San Francisco Green Film Festival

Date: Wed, May 06, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Hear from tenacious, award-winning activist filmmakers.

Mark Decena, Founder, Kontent Films; Writer and Director, Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West
Leah Mahan, Producer and Director, Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek
Kevin White, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Filmmaker's Collaborative San Francisco
Rachel Caplan, Founder and CEO, San Francisco Green Film Festival – Moderator

Environmental action stories often struggle for coverage on major broadcast networks dominated by larger corporate interests. But if not on television, where are we supposed to find the stories that will inspire a new generation of activists? Documentary films are increasingly a powerful way to cut through the noise, connect with people, and build momentum for action on environmental causes.

The evocative documentary film has a purpose that compels its director to grapple with the essence of the art form. What is the magic of its storytelling? How do we reach a wide audience through the medium? Most critically, how can we use this kind of storytelling to change opinions and to effect new policies?

Hear from tenacious, award-winning activist filmmakers who are using this impactful medium to bring us the stories that motivate environmental progress. Panelists will share clips from their films, uncovering their approaches and successes in bringing their difference-making stories to the screen. Plus, get a sneak peek of the upcoming San Francisco Green Film Festival, running from May 28 through June 4.

Image - Willie Brown: Annual Commonwealth Club Lecture

Willie Brown: Annual Commonwealth Club Lecture

Date: Wed, May 06, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Former San Francisco Mayor

Willie Brown, Former Mayor, San Francisco; Former Speaker, California State Assembly

Former San Francisco Mayor Brown will give his annual lecture on national and regional political trends. A two-term mayor of San Francisco, legendary speaker of the California State Assembly and widely regarded as one of the most influential African-American politicians of the late 20th century, Brown has been at the center of California politics, government and civic life for an astonishing four decades.

Image - Is the Sky Falling? Asteroids and the Earth

Is the Sky Falling? Asteroids and the Earth

Date: Wed, May 06, 2015
Time: 7:45 PM
With Ed Lu, Astronaut

Ed Lu, Astronaut; Chairman, B612 Foundation
Brian Hackney, News and Weather Anchor, CBS5 San Francisco - Moderator

Sponsored by Relevant Wealth Advisors

Dangerous collisions between asteroids and our planet, which occur at least twice every year, are the only natural disaster that we have means of stopping. However, despite our advanced solutions to preventing catastrophic impacts, we face a more basic problem: We don’t know where in our solar system most asteroids are, or, more important, when they will hit Earth. Lucky for us, Astronaut Ed Lu and the B612 Foundation are committed to meeting this challenge. The foundation’s Sentinel Mission, the first privately funded interplanetary venture, will map and catalogue near-Earth asteroids, helping to ensure that we are aware of potential asteroid strikes. Join Lu to hear more about why the mission matters and what technological innovations will make it possible. 

Thu 5/7

Image - Unretirement: Changing the Way We Think About Work,

Unretirement: Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community and the Good Life

Date: Thu, May 07, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With author Chris Farrell.

Chris Farrell, Author; Senior Economics Contributor, Marketplace; Economics Commentator, Minnesota Public Radio; Columnist, Bloomberg Businessweek, Next Avenue and Star Tribune

The United States is on the verge of a broad, positive transformation of its economy and society. The old idea of “retirement” – not working – is going away. The boomer generation is increasing embracing “unretirement,” continuing to do some kind of work during the traditional retirement years. Many aging boomers are looking for part-time and contract work or flexible jobs, and starting new entrepreneurial ventures. When done right, their experience, wisdom and continued earnings will benefit the American workplace, dramatically ease financial worries, and enrich our communities and society. Farrell will offer key insights into the economic and social forces behind the unretirement trend, and offer practical advice for navigating this exciting, but unsettled, frontier.

Image - Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley

Date: Thu, May 07, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A journey through mid-century America.

Jane Smiley, Novelist; Author, Early Warning

Pulitzer Prize winner Smiley has written about a journey through mid-century America, as lived by the extraordinary Langdon family. Early Warning opens in 1953 with the Langdons at a crossroads. Their stalwart patriarch Walter, who with his wife had sustained their Iowa farm for three decades, has suddenly died, leaving their five children looking to the future. Only one will remain to work the land, while the others scatter to Washington, DC, California, and everywhere in between. As the country moves out of postwar optimism through the Cold War, the social and sexual revolutions of the 1960s and '70s, and then into the unprecedented wealth – for some – of the early '80s, the Langdon children will have children of their own: twin boys who are best friends and vicious rivals; a girl whose rebellious spirit takes her to the notorious Peoples Temple in San Francisco; and a golden boy who drops out of college to fight in Vietnam – leaving behind a secret legacy that will send shockwaves through the Langdon family into the next generation. Capturing an indelible period in America through the lens of richly drawn characters, Early Warning is an engrossing story of the challenges – and rich rewards – of family and home, even in the most turbulent of times.

Fri 5/8

Image - Hacking the Climate

Hacking the Climate

Date: Fri, May 08, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With Ken Caldeira, Atmospheric Scientist

Ken Caldeira, Atmospheric Scientist, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford
Albert Lin, Professor, UC Davis School of Law

Could the world get so hot that humanity is tempted to break the glass and spray heat-deflecting gases into the sky? The National Academy of Sciences recently issues a report cautiously endorsing research into such techniques known as geoengineering. But big questions remain about who would oversee experiments such as tinkering with clouds so they reflect more of the Sun’s heat and cool the Earth. What group of humans could be trusted with such God-like powers?

Join us for a discussion of hacking the climate to buy some time for humanity.

Mon 5/11

Image - The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice

The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice

Date: Mon, May 11, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author William Damon

William Damon, Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education; Co-author, The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice

The Power of Ideals thoroughly examines the full range of available research on moral choice and presents a compelling new theory. It takes into account current scientific claims and explores our undeniable capacity to act on noble ideals, to make principled moral choices, and to live lives of generosity, integrity and genuine human connection.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 5/11/15

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 5/11/15

Date: Mon, May 11, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Informative and engaging commentary.

Mark Z. Barabak, Political Writer, Los Angeles Times; Twitter @markzbarabak
Josh Richman, State and National Politics Reporter, Bay Area News Group; Political Blogger, ibabuzz.com/politics; Twitter @Josh_Richman
Additional panelist TBA

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 5/12

Image - Nob Hill Walking Tour

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, May 12, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

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.

Image - An Evening of Culinary Delight with Rebecca Katz & Mollie Katzen

An Evening of Culinary Delight with Rebecca Katz & Mollie Katzen

Date: Tue, May 12, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Science-based culinary delight!

Rebecca Katz, Chef; Educator; Author, The Healthy Mind Cookbook and The Longevity Kitchen
In conversation with Mollie Katzen, Author, The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation and the Moosewood Cookbook; Inductee, James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame

A Food Lit event, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

Healthy eating tends to focus on keeping our bodies physically fit, but what about improving the health of our minds? In The Healthy Mind Cookbook, Rebecca Katz takes cutting-edge brain research on improving cognition, memory and mood and applies it directly to the plate through recipes like cozy lentil soup with delicata squash and chocolate cherry walnut truffles. A nationally recognized culinary translator and nutrition expert, Rebecca Katz’s previous cookbooks include One Bite at a Time, the award-winning The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen and The Longevity Kitchen.

Mollie Katzen is listed by The New York Times as one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time and is a James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame inductee. The author of the iconic Moosewood Cookbook, Katzen is largely credited with having brought vegetarian cuisine into the mainstream.

Join Katz and Katzen for a conversation on science-based culinary delight and promoting happier, healthier minds through food.

Image - Climate Cognition

Climate Cognition

Date: Tue, May 12, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Are humans wired to deal with climate reality?

Kari Norgaard, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Oregon
Per Espen Stoknes, Economist; Psychologist; Author, What We Think About When We Try not to Think About Global Warming
Additional Speakers TBA

Signs of dangerous climate disruption are everywhere, and yet many people are going about business as usual. What’s up with that? Are humans wired to deal with climate reality?

Building a clean economy can be a positive and empowering story. The key lies at the intersection of economics, psychology and emotional intelligence.

Wed 5/13

Image - The State of California's Water: Now and In The Future

The State of California's Water: Now and In the Future

Date: Wed, May 13, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board

Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board

California is in the midst of a historic drought, with agriculture, communities, and fish and wildlife struggling with water shortages. At the same time, the state is looking at a future where these conflicts will be exacerbated by climate change, increased population, and other factors. Learn what California is doing at this point in the drought and the plans to prepare for an even more challenging future.

Image - Leonard Mlodinow: The Evolution of Science

Leonard Mlodinow: The Evolution of Science

Date: Wed, May 13, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Theoretical physicist and author

Leonard Mlodinow, Theoretical Physicist; Author, The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos; Twitter: @lmlodinow

As humans, we have a natural inclination to question how the world around us works. Whether it’s wondering how we stay firmly planted on the ground, or how we came to develop our own intellectual capabilities, this thirst for understanding has been the driving force behind scientific breakthroughs from antiquity through modernity. Mlodinow, himself a ground-breaking physicist, celebrates the curious nature that forms the cornerstone of scientific inquiry, and offers an in-depth look at the history of science from the birth of reasoning to the formation of the defined fields of physics, chemistry and biology. Hear about the great philosophers, scientists and thinkers who have shaped human thought and played integral roles in the evolution of science.

Thu 5/14

Image - Jack Welch

Jack Welch

Date: Thu, May 14, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Author of Winning and The Real-Life MBA

Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO, General Electric; Co-author, The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career; Twitter @jack_welch

In conversation with Adam Lashinsky, Assistant Managing Editor, Fortune; Editorial Director, Brainstorm Tech; Twitter @adamlashinsky 

In the decade since their blockbuster international bestseller Winning was published, Jack and Suzy Welch have dug deeper into business, traveling the world consulting for organizations of every size and in every industry, speaking before hundreds of audiences, and, in 2010, starting their own fully accredited online MBA program, which now has approximately 1,000 students enrolled.

Going beyond theories, concepts and ideologies, they tackle the real stuff of work today. When you get down to it, they argue, winning in business is all about mastering the gritty, inescapable, make-or-break, real-life dilemmas that define the new economy, the old economy, and everything in between. Welch’s knowledge infuses The Real Life MBA with fresh, immediately applicable, sometimes even counterintuitive lessons about how to create great organizations, build high-powered teams, and forge fulfilling careers in today’s new business environment.

Fri 5/15

Image - The Rise of Islamic Radicalism

The Rise of Islamic Radicalism

Date: Fri, May 15, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With a panel of consuls general

Stefan Schlueter, German Consul General in San Francisco
Andy David, Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest
Paulina Carmona, Consul General of France for San Francisco
Robert Rosenthal, Director, Center for Investigative Reporting - Moderator

The rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, beyond throwing an already destabilized region into deeper chaos, has also served to spread fear across the rest of the world. From North Africa to Western Europe and on to the United States, reactions to the terror militia’s advances have taken many forms, from a surge in violent attacks on Jews and Jewish sites by emboldened Islamic radicals, to a vicious countermovement of Islamophobic violence and rhetoric. Is there any way to reconcile deep-rooted religious, societal and political differences to stop the cycle of violence from spinning further out of control? A distinguished panel of consuls general will confront the polemical issue of growing Islamic radicalization and the increase of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in its wake.