Upcoming Events

Mon 2/23

Image - Gary Wenk: Your Brain on Food

Gary Wenk: Your Brain on Food

Date: Mon, February 23, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Author and Professor

Gary Wenk, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics, Ohio State University and Medical Center; Author, Your Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings
Lisa Krieger, Science/Medicine Reporter, San Jose Mercury News - Moderator

What is it about fat, sugar and salt that makes them so irresistible? Do so-called nutritional supplements help us live longer and healthier, or are they just another risky fad? What happens in our brains when we take a sip of coffee or a drag on a cigarette? We’ve all heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Now we find out how true it really is. Drawing on the latest scientific research, Dr. Wenk investigates the effects of specific foods on our bodies and brains, illuminating why everything we consume affects the way we think, feel and act.

Tue 2/24

Image - New Member Reception

New Member Reception

Date: Tue, February 24, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Come take a peek! 

Are you new to the Club? Just want to explore and check it out? Come take a peek, meet other members and staff and learn about all The Commonwealth Club offers. Experience first-hand how The Commonwealth Club has become the nation’s leading public forum. Bring a friend and explore the Club together!

Wed 2/25

Go to Lessons from the Rim Fire: What It Means

Lessons from the Rim Fire: What It Means

Date: Wed, February 25, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Stories of enormous destruction, damage, protection and renewal

Jeanne Wade Evans, Deputy Regional Forester, Pacific Southwest Region, U.S. Forest Service
Joe Amodio, Member, Tuolumne River Trust Advisory Committee
Michael Carlin, Deputy General Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Larry Cope, Director of Economic Development, Tuolumne Economic Development Authority
Joe Litehiser, Ph.D.; Senior Scientist, Bechtel Corp; President, Friends of Camp Mather

With California drought conditions building, 2013 and 2014 saw some of the worst fires in Yosemite and Sierra history. The Rim Fire and subsequent fires affected incredible amounts of acreage and economies in both the U.S. national forests and California's forests and parks. The recovery efforts and lessons learned involve stories of enormous destruction, damage, protection and renewal. Learn what has happened to people's lives, homes, businesses, recreational opportunities and about the ecological and habitat impact. Learn how people, rivers, communities, organizations and businesses coped, and explore the work they are doing to protect and restore Yosemite and the Sierras.

Image - Larry Kramer, Hewlett Foundation President

Larry Kramer, Hewlett Foundation President: The Threat to American Democracy

Date: Wed, February 25, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Larry Kramer, President, The Hewlett Foundation

About the only thing conservatives and liberals agree upon is that the American political system is dysfunctional. But what are the causes and what might be the cure? Larry Kramer, currently president of the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation and formerly a constitutional law scholar, will discuss the origins of the problem and efforts being undertaken by the foundation to address the issue. 

Thu 2/26

Image -  Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

Date: Thu, February 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Author Dianne Hales 

Dianne Hales, Author, Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

Why does Mona Lisa's smile still enchant us? Little is known about the world's most recognized face, most revered artist and most praised and parodied painting. Join Hales as she reveals Da Vinci’s muse, Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, and explores Giocondo’s colorful family history and the neighborhoods where she lived as a girl, a wife and a mother.

Fri 2/27

Image - Restructuring Health Care: The Massive, Disruptive Integration of Care D

Restructuring Health Care: The Massive, Disruptive Integration of Care Delivery and Financing

Date: Fri, February 27, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Mark Zitter, CEO, Zitter Health Insights
Terry Stone, Managing Partner, Health & Life Sciences Practice, Oliver Wyman
Paul Markovich, President and CEO, Blue Shield of California

We all want more health care and to pay less for it. Obamacare increased coverage but did little to stem rising costs. What is being done? There is a growing movement to integrate the accountability for treating and financing care. Hospital systems and large medical groups are assuming increasing financial risk for the populations they serve, while health insurers are partnering with or even purchasing provider organizations to deliver care to their members. This interactive panel will explore what’s working, what barriers remain, and what we can expect from these major changes in the U.S. health-care system.

Mon 3/2

Go to Book Discussion: The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why it Endures by Nicholas Wade

Book Discussion: The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why it Endures by Nicholas Wade

Date: Mon, March 02, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
How our innate piety has adapted to changing needs and conditions.

In The Faith Instinct, Wade investigates humanity’s transforming propensity for religion, showing how our innate piety has adapted to changing needs and conditions. Beginning as hunter-gatherers, humans were able to experience independent and personal access to the divine. But with the rise of organized agriculture and the growth of cities, religion became hierarchical: Unwritten rules and intimate gods were turned into opaque instruments of power by religious bureaucracies that shaped social institutions but also suppressed more ecstatic forms of worship. Wade, seeking the answer to religion’s ubiquity, posits that faith, acting as a catalyst of social cohesion, became effectively written into our genetic code – along with a periodic urge to rebel against the institutionalization of worship. 

Image - Week to Week

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 3/2/15

Date: Mon, March 02, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Smart and civil — and sometimes funny — political insight.

Panelists 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, an 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 3/3

Image - Nob Hill Walking Tour

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, March 03, 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 - A Sense-ational Wine Experience

A Sense-ational Wine Experience

Date: Tue, March 03, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With culinary specialist Annette McDonnell

Annette McDonnell, Culinary Specialist; Tasting Room Manager, Paradise Ridge Winery

Indulge yourself in a sense-ational wine experience. Paradise Ridge Winery will be presenting its unique wine and herb tasting, a passionate collaboration between Paradise Ridge’s culinary expert Annette McDonnell and Swede’s Feeds Nursery in Kenwood. Using your senses, discover the remarkable flavors you find in wine using herbs you can grow in a garden or kitchen window. 

Wed 3/4

Go to Humanities West Book Discussion: The Song of Roland

Humanities West Book Discussion: The Song of Roland

Date: Wed, March 04, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
A classical epic that glorifies the heroism of Charlemagne.

Join us to discuss The Song of Roland, the anonymous classical epic that glorifies the heroism of Charlemagne in the 778 battle between the Franks and the Moors. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Image - Who is Putin?

Who is Putin?

Date: Wed, March 04, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Ilya Ponomarev, Former Member of the Russian State Duma

Ilya Ponomarev, Former Opposition Member, Russian State Duma; Former Chair, Innovations Subcommittee of Duma; Technology Entrepreneur

Who is Vladimir Putin: powerful tyrant or cornered ex-KGB officer who became Russian President? What is the end game for him? How should the White House handle the crisis between Russia and the West? Join our discussion with a leader of the Russian opposition. Hon. Illya Ponomarev was the only State Duma member to vote against the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation. In August he learned that the Kremlin had banned him from returning to Russia.

Thu 3/5

Image - Elder Financial Abuse and Blessing Scams

Elder Financial Abuse and Blessing Scams

Date: Thu, March 05, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With San Francisco District Attorney, George Gascón

George Gascón, San Francisco District Attorney

In 2012 there were 47 reported cases of blessing scams, a type of fraud that preys on elderly Chinese women and takes advantage of their love and commitment to their families. Blessing scam perpetrators tell victims that someone in their family is in potential danger. Fearful victims immediately jump into action to collect their cash and jewelry to be “blessed” by the scammers. During the “blessing” they switch out the bags, leaving victims to later find out that their valuables are gone forever. The San Francisco District Attorney’s office is the first jurisdiction in the United States to successfully prosecute blessing scam cases and secure the highest sentence. Come hear District Attorney Gascón discuss his office’s blessing scam public education campaign and how they successfully reduced scams from 47 cases in 2012. Learn how you can protect your friends, family and community from falling victim to elder financial abuse and scams.

Go to Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Date: Thu, March 05, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Discuss international issues and plan programs.

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 2015.

Image - In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural

In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China

Date: Thu, March 05, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Michael Meyer

Michael Meyer, Author, In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and The Transformation of Rural China and The Last Days of Old Beijing

Meyer draws on his three-year residence in his wife’s hometown of Wasteland, Manchuria, to bring to life a sweeping view of a rapidly changing China. Once a commune, the rice-farming village was transformed in a process that has been repeated across rural China: A privately owned company moved in, paved new roads, introduced organic farming, and provided workers apartments in new high-rise buildings – in exchange for their land rights. Using Wasteland as a fulcrum, Meyer weaves in Manchuria’s rich past – from the last Chinese emperor through Japanese occupation to communist victory – to help make sense of variegated contemporary China.

Sun 3/8

Image - Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater

Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater

Date: Sun, March 08, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
With Carey Perlof, Artistic Director of the ACT

Carey Perlof, Artistic Director, American Conservatory Theater
In conversation with Michael Krasny, Host, KQED’s Forum

KQED’s Michael Krasny sits down with ACT Artistic Director Carey Perloff on the occasion of her lively and revealing new memoir, Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater. Besides serving as a provocative and impassioned manifesto for the role of live theater in today's technology-infused world, Perloff's personal and professional journey – her life as a woman in a male-dominated profession; as a wife and mother; and as a playwright, director, producer, arts advocate, and citizen in a city erupting with change – is a compelling story for anyone interested in how theater gets made. Join us as she reveals the arc of her career in theater, from falling in love with modern English theater as a Fulbright Fellow in London to her intimate working experiences with well-known actors, directors and writers, including Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, Robert Wilson, David Strathairn and Olympia Dukakis.

Reservations required and must be made at: http://www.act-sf.org/home/box_office/special_events.html

Mon 3/9

Image - Minimizing Fear

Minimizing Fear

Date: Mon, March 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

George Hammond, Author, Rational Idealism and Conversations With Socrates

Monday Night Philosophy understands that we have explained life to ourselves in ways that have scared us silly for so long that it has become an engrained habit. Ironically, it's a habit we rather enjoy because fear often keeps us more alert than we'd otherwise be. But there are other ways to remain intellectually alert to the nuances of life that are not so debilitating. So tonight we'll sort through those fears with the goal of understanding how unlikely it is that these fears are justified, eliminating those that are highly irrational, and minimizing those that are merely ridiculous.

Image - Brewster Kahle: Open Source Housing for Good

Brewster Kahle: Open Source Housing for Good

Date: Mon, March 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Digital Librarian and Founder of the Internet Archive

Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian and Founder, Internet Archive; Co-founder, Alexa Internet

Affordable housing increasingly is becoming an unattainable dream for many Americans living in cities – especially for those living in San Francisco. Might a proven tool from the digital open source software movement provide a solution? Public licenses for apartments would eliminate debt and allow people working for the common good to be able to live in high-rent cities. Brewster Kahle – internet entrepreneur, creative systems builder and leader of the Internet Archive – explores the potential of an open source housing model that could ease the housing squeeze across the country.

Tue 3/10

Image - International Careers: Explore the World As You Work

International Careers: Explore the World As You Work

Date: Tue, March 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A panel of worldly experts.

Terry Vogt, Managing Director, Terra Global Capital
Lisa Reinsberg, Executive Director, International Justice Resource Center
Vaido Vald, Superintendent, Skanska – Global Project Development and Construction Group
Nikki Sayres, Senior Director of Field Representation and Operations, The Asia Foundation

Have you ever thought of taking your sharply honed professional skill set overseas? Perhaps to use your management expertise to help shape the next green building complex in Denmark? Or your legal and human rights knowledge to push for the fair treatment of migrant workers in China? Our panel of international specialists from private industry and the nonprofit sphere will discuss opportunities for international work in various disciplines. Learn about the rewards and possible pitfalls of working abroad. Following the program you will have the opportunity to talk directly with the speakers.

Image - Bruce Schneier: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data

Bruce Schneier: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data

Date: Tue, March 10, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Author and Chief Technology Officer

Bruce Schneier, Chief Technology Officer, Co3 Systems; Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School; Author, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

Join us for a shocking look at the ways corporations and governments track and control people, and the ways we can fight back.

Data is everywhere. We create it every time we go online, turn our phone on (or off!) or pay with a credit card. This data is stored, studied and bought and sold by corporations and governments for surveillance, profit and control. “Foremost security expert” (Wired) and best-selling author Bruce Schneier shows how this data has led to a double-edged Internet: a Web that gives power to the people but is abused by the institutions on which those people depend.

In Data and Goliath, Schneier reveals the full extent of surveillance, censorship and propaganda in society today, examining the risks of cybercrime, cyberterrorism and cyberwar. He shares technological, legal and social solutions that can help shape a more equal, private and secure world.