Upcoming Events

Thu 10/22

Arts Forum Planning Meeting

Date: Thu, October 22, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Our meeting is open to all members who have an interest in the visual and performing arts. We welcome your ideas and your energy. This is a chance for you to take a more active role in planning the Club’s calendar of events.

Image - Civil Saints and Civic Pride in the Renaissance City-State

Civil Saints and Civic Pride in the Renaissance City-State

Date: Thu, October 22, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With assistant professor Mary Doyno

Mary Harvey Doyno, Assistant Professor, Humanities and Religious Studies, CSU Sacramento

Campanilismo is the Italian term for civic pride, something that was a quintessential part of life in Italian city-states during the Renaissance. During this time, the city-state provided a crucial piece of identity: a person was a Sienese, Florentine or Venetian above all else, and the veneration of a city’s patron saint was key when creating this all-encompassing civic identity. Join us as Doyno explains how the Italian Renaissance society was championing a return to an ancient, pre-Christian worldview, while at the same time creating complex civil religions steeped in devotion to Christian saints.

China and The U.S.: Can Conflict Be Avoided?

Date: Thu, October 22, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
The world is watching

Zhang Weiwei, Professor and Director, Centre for China Development Model Research, Fudan University; Director, SASS Institute of China Studies
Gary Roughead, Admiral USN (Ret.), Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution; Former Commander, U.S. Pacific and Atlantic Fleets

News headlines frequently present China in a less than positive light, with reports of government-sponsored computer hacking, worsening bilateral trade and an unprecedented military buildup. The world is watching to see if China and the U.S. can avoid falling into Thucydides’ trap, a popular empirical observation from history that a rising power and a reigning power inevitably end up in bitter conflict. Join us to hear nuanced Chinese and American perspectives on what each side needs to do to avoid a disastrous war.

Image - The Food Lab: Cooking with Science

The Food Lab: Cooking with Science

Date: Thu, October 22, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Managing Culinary Director, Serious Eats; Author, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science 
In conversation with Joanna Pearlstein, Deputy Managing Editor, Wired

Food Lit event underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Ever wondered how to pan-fry the perfect medium-rare steak, or roast a succulent, moist turkey? In The Food Lab, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt explores the science of cooking, delving into the interactions between heat, energy and molecules that create the dishes we all know and love. The managing culinary director of Serious Eats and author of the James Beard Award-nominated column “The Food Lab,” Kenji shows how to achieve better food using new, simple techniques in hundreds of easy-to-make recipes. Join Kenji as he reveals his best tricks and tips in the kitchen and become the master of the two-minute Hollandaise sauce, the creamiest potato casserole and much more.

Fri 10/23

Image - U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood Randall

U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood Randall

Date: Fri, October 23, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood Randall, Deputy Energy Secretary; Former White House Coordinator for Defense Policy
Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club—Moderator

Protecting America’s Energy Infrastructure

Deputy Energy Secretary Sherwood Randall will discuss resiliency in the energy sector related to natural and man-made threats, including those in the cyber domain. She will focus on the Department of Energy’s diverse initiatives to strengthen and protect the nation&;s energy infrastructure, and how the department partners with the private sector to support shared resiliency goals.

Dr. Sherwood-Randall has served as second in command at the Energy Department since October 2014. She joined the Obama administration on day one, serving from 2009 to 2013 as special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council, and from 2013 to 2014 as White House coordinator for defense policy, countering weapons of mass destruction, and arms control. Before joining President Obama’s team, Dr. Sherwood-Randall worked at Stanford University, Harvard University, and the Council on Foreign Relations. In the Clinton Administration, she served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia from 1994 to 1996. Dr. Sherwood-Randall attended college at Harvard and then went on to graduate school at Oxford University, where she was among the very early ranks of female Rhodes Scholars. After finishing her education, she began her career working for then-Senator Joe Biden as his chief advisor on foreign and defense policy.


Image - Lebanon


Date: Fri, October 23, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Eddy Simonian, Masters in International Studies

Maher Kalaji, Ph.D. Chemistry — Moderator

Lebanon has been plagued by war, political instability and refugee crises since its inception as a country in 1920. Simonian, an Assyrian Christian who was raised in Lebanon, will discuss the complicated ethnic and religious history of Lebanon and the sectarian conflict, which was the topic of his 2011 master’s thesis.

Mon 10/26

Humanities West Book Discussion: Dante’s Divine Comedy (Book 3)

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM

Join us to discuss paradise within Dante’s Divine Comedy with discussion leader Lynn Harris. The Clive James’s translation will be used, which took decades to finish and renders the entire epic as a coherent and compulsively readable lyric poem. The translation reproduces the same wonderful momentum of the original Italian, propelling the reader along the pilgrim’s path, from hell to heaven, from despair to revelation.

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan. Each month, the Middle East Member-Led Forum hosts an informal roundtable discussion on a topic frequently suggested by recent headlines. After a brief introduction, the floor will be open for discussion. All interested members are encouraged to attend. There will also be a brief planning session.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.
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.
Image - Flame Out

Flame Out

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Arlene Blum, Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute
Mark Leno, California State Senator
James Redford, Director, Toxic Hot Seat
John Olech, Director of Global Partner Operations, Crate and Barrel 
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One—Moderator

What chemicals might be migrating into your body when you are vegging on the couch watching TV? A new California law allows furniture manufacturers to meet fire safety standards without toxic chemicals. But labels are often confusing, and even the most conscientious retailers and consumers can be misled. Join us for a program to explain what might be lurking in your couch or your closet and what to look for as an informed consumer.

Image - Andrew Fraknoi: The Revenge of the Dwarf Planet

Andrew Fraknoi: The Revenge of the Dwarf Planet

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Andrew Fraknoi, Chair of the Astronomy Department, Foothill College

The Revenge of the Dwarf Planet: What Really Happened to Pluto and What We Are Now Learning about this Intriguing World

Bay Area astronomer Fraknoi takes us behind the scenes of how Pluto got demoted and why its story might still turn out OK. In July, the New Horizons spacecraft flew by the double planet Pluto-Charon and gave us close-up views of both worlds (plus the smaller moons) for the first time. Though New Horizons data will keep coming to us for a whole year, Fraknoi will give an update on what we now know about these icy worlds at the outskirts of our solar system.

Tue 10/27

Image - The Most Famous Grizzly Bear

The Most Famous Grizzly Bear: How Will She and Other Grizzlies Survive U.S. Trophy Shootings?

Date: Tue, October 27, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Todd Wilkinson, Journalist; Author
Thomas D. Mangelsen, American Wildlife Photographer
Bruce Hamilton, Deputy Executive Director, Sierra Club

Since 1975, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the grizzly bear as “threatened,” with the goal of recovering the animal’s range and helping populations recover. Today, the federal government may soon remove grizzly bears’ protection under the Endangered Species Act, allowing people again to trophy hunt grizzly bears across the United States. Join in a discussion with Wilkinson, Mangelsen and Hamilton about what will happen to the iconic animals if the destructive and threatening sport of trophy hunting is revived.

Image - Steven Lee Myers

New York Times' Steven Lee Myers: What Makes Vladimir Putin Tick?

Date: Tue, October 27, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
What makes Vladimir Putin tick?

Steven Lee Myers, Correspondent, The New York Times; Author, The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin; Twitter  

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

In a gripping narrative of Putin’s rise to power as Russia’s president, New York Times columnist Steven Lee Myers recounts Putin’s origins—from his childhood of abject poverty in Leningrad, to his ascension through the ranks of the KGB, and to his eventual consolidation of rule.
Myers shares his thoughts on Putin as well as what a newly assertive Russia might mean for our future.

Wed 10/28

Image - Diana Nyad: Never Give Up

Diana Nyad: Never Give Up

Date: Wed, October 28, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Diana Nyad, Long Distance Swimmer; Author, Find a Way; Twitter
Alison van Diggelen, Host, “Fresh Dialogues”; Contributor, BBC – Moderator

Good Lit event underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

Never, ever give up. You’re never too old to chase your dreams. It takes a team. That became Nyad’s mantra after four failed attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida. Nyad finally accomplished her life-long dream in 2013, at the age of 64, welcomed by hundreds of people lining the beach at her destination in Key West.

How can repeated failures contribute to success? Nyad shares some of the important physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological lessons she learned when facing her fears and striving to live life with no regrets. Hear more about her inspiring story and record-breaking 110-mile swim. 

Image - Understanding Digital Video and the Future of Social Media

Understanding Digital Video and the Future of Social Media

Date: Wed, October 28, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Jon Leland, Founding Director of Creative Services, USA Network; Author, Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts Every Business MUST Know

Social media, mobile marketing and cloud-based computing are the most widely understood mega-trends that are revolutionizing online communications. In this eye-opening presentation, media innovator and pioneer Jon Leland goes a step further to illuminate how these new forms of multimedia—and digital video in particular—are creating revolutionary new channels that are democratizing media consumption and creation. Consumers are more empowered, but so are businesses and organizations as well as content creators. Anyone can now reach customers, audiences and constituencies in entirely new ways.

Surprisingly, in Leland's view, the real power is fueled by humanistic values, such as authentic engagement. Leland will explain the long-term implications of these fresh new digital video and social media ecosystems, including the veritable explosion in video-based pay-per-click advertising (via Facebook and YouTube), new content sponsorship trends (via Kickstarter and Patreon) and the latest music offering from Apple.

Image - Joe Klein: Time Columnist

Joe Klein: Time Columnist

Date: Wed, October 28, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
War heroes' stories of inspiration and leadership.

Joe Klein, Columnist, Time; Author, Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home
Holly Kernan, Executive Editor, KQED News—Moderator

A Good Lit program underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

To serve your country can mean more than shipping off overseas to fight a war. Navy SEAL veteran Eric Greitens and former Marine Sergeant Jake Wood prove that in their stories of inspiration and leadership. After returning from their tours, both Greitens and Wood had a sense of futility, and when they met with other veterans, they found that many wanted to continue to serve their country regardless of their injuries. So Greitens founded The Mission Continues program. He and fellow leader Wood, along with other determined veterans, have worked together to provide public services within their local communities.

Join us as author Joe Klein, who wrote about these two heroes’ stories, discusses how Greitens and Wood have saved the lives of those who gave everything they had for their country.

Thu 10/29

Image - Who Runs the World? Women with Power and Purpose

Who Runs the World? Women with Power and Purpose

Date: Thu, October 29, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Melanne Verveer, Kim Azzarelli and Andrea Jung

Melanne Verveer, Co-Founder, Seneca Point Global; Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security
Kim Azzarelli, Co-Founder, Seneca Point Global; Chair and Co-founder, Avon Global Center for Women and Justice
Andrea Jung, President and CEO, Grameen; Former CEO, Avon Products, Inc.

Today, women are fast emerging as one of the most powerful and influential demographics the world has ever seen. From 1997 to 2014, women-owned businesses in America grew one and half times faster than the national average. In 2012, it was estimated that as many as a billion women would enter the world economy over the following decade. Yet, the subject of women serving as the key role in today’s global economy still has not gained much traction. Recognizing the need for change, Verveer and Azzarelli co-founded Seneca Point Global, an organization dedicated to developing a global strategy to unlock opportunities for women across the globe. Now, they’re coming out with Fast Forward, a book unfolding how some of the world’s most powerful women, such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Salma Hayek, Christine Lagarde, Ursula Burns, and Diane von Furstenberg, are using their growing economic power to achieve success and how you can do the same.

Join us for a conversation with Melanne Vereer, Kim Azzarelli and Andrea Jung, the president and CEO of Grameen America, who is committed to supporting low-income women through microfinancing and financial education.

Fri 10/30

Image - Baseball Legend Dusty Baker

Baseball Legend Dusty Baker: Reflections on Rock Music, Baseball and Life

Date: Fri, October 30, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
The personal journey of this sports legend

Dusty Baker, Former Manager, San Francisco Giants; Author, Kiss The Sky: My Weekend in Monterey for the Greatest Rock Concert Ever
In conversation with Greg Dalton, Vice President, Climate One, The Commonwealth Club

Part of The Good Lit Series underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

Dusty Baker enjoyed a 19-year career as a hard-hitting outfielder, primarily with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers, and then 20 years as a manager with the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. He led the Giants to the 2002 National League pennant, and his 671 wins as a manager rank 16th all time. But that’s only part of his story.

For his 18th birthday, Dusty Baker's parents gave him a great present: Two tickets to the Monterey Pop Festival of June 1967, a three-day event featuring more than 30 bands. Baker's lifelong love of music was set in motion, from country to hip-hop to Jimi Hendrix, whom Baker calls the most exciting performer he's ever seen. He went on to years of friendship with musicians from B.B. King and John Lee Hooker to Elvin Bishop and Carlos Santana. Come hear the rockin’ personal journey of this sports legend.

Mon 11/2

Book Discussion: The Money Changers, by Upton Sinclair

Date: Mon, November 02, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
A tangled web of unscrupulous power brokers!

Sinclair’s novel about the 1907 stock panic explores the inner workings of Wall Street at the time. In the novel, a prosperous New York lawyer, Montague, tries to help an old friend from Mississippi, who’s just moved to the city, sell a block of stock. Lucy, whose beauty makes men's hearts skip a beat, is eager to move forward and establish herself in the right social circles. But with that one transaction, they unwittingly became tangled in a web of unscrupulous power brokers who’ve concocted a daring scheme to manipulate the stock market for personal gain. Could such greed and corruption have modern parallels?

Image - The 49ers Champion Levi’s® Stadium: The First LEED Gold New Stadiu
This event is Postponed

The 49ers Champion Levi’s® Stadium: The First LEED Gold New Stadium and Venue

Date: Mon, November 02, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Learn about sustainable management, design, function and construction

Jim Mercurio, Vice President of Stadium Management and General Manager of Levi's® Stadium
Pat Rogan, Director of Engineering Operations, 49ers Stadium Management Company

Achieving the LEED gold certification for the 49ers new home field is the first such championship achievement for a new stadium. Its builders hope it will serve as a model for sports leadership in environmental design and construction worldwide. Join us to learn about the sustainable management, design, function and construction of the Levi's Stadium — home to the 49ers and host of Super Bowl 50 in February 2016. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] gold rating is determined by the U.S. Green Building Council.