Upcoming Events

Mon 8/11

Week to Week Political Roundtable at The Commonwealth Club of California

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 8/11/14

Date: Mon, August 11, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Political discussion with brains and wit

Bill Whalen, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Twitter @hooverwhalen

Additional panelists TBA

At Week to Week, we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the oddest 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 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).

Image - The NBA’s Jason Collins: Pro Sports’ First Out Athlete

The NBA’s Jason Collins: First Out Athlete in Major American Pro Sports

Date: Mon, August 11, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
The man who made it okay to be gay in sports.

Jason Collins, Professional NBA player
In Conversation with Jose Antonio Vargas, Director, Producer, Actor, Documented; Founder, Define American

The pro’s pro. The ultimate teammate. The consummate professional. These are terms that have defined 35-year-old NBA player Jason Collins throughout his 14-year career. In April 2013, Collins came out as gay, becoming the first publicly gay athlete to play in any of the four major American pro sports leagues. Since coming out, Collins has been prominently featured in the public spotlight and has had to endure both the best and the worst of the sports world. Join us at the Castro Theatre to hear the unique and courageous story of the man who made it okay to be gay in sports.

Tue 8/12

Image - Long Journey to Stonewall: An Illustrated History

Long Journey to Stonewall: An Illustrated History

Date: Tue, August 12, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Nancy C. Unger, Ph.D., Professor of History, Santa Clara University

Though tremendous gains are being made in revealing the long, rich, colorful, heartbreaking and inspiring history of LGBT people in the United States, often that history is reduced to the Stonewall Riots or, especially here in California, the life and martyrdom of Harvey Milk. This illustrated presentation highlights the documented presence of people acting on same-sex desires as early as the 1600s, actions surprisingly well-tolerated within their communities. We’ll follow the transformation of women’s “romantic friendships” into “Boston Marriages,” before the medicalization of homosexuality and the widespread “Beware the Lesbian!” campaign made loving relationships between women suspect.

Image - John Dean: The Nixon Defense

John Dean: The Nixon Defense

Date: Tue, August 12, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
What did Nixon know and when did he know it?

John Dean, Author, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It

This month marks 40 years since the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Dean, one of the last major surviving figures of Watergate, connects the dots between what we’ve come to believe about Watergate and what actually happened. Watergate forever changed American politics, and in light of the revelations about the NSA’s widespread surveillance program, the scandal has taken on new significance. Dean draws on his own transcripts of almost a thousand conversations, a wealth of Nixon’s secretly recorded information, and documents in the National Archives and Nixon Library to provide the definitive answer to the question: What did President Nixon know and when did he know it?

Wed 8/13

Image - Madness and Memory
This event is Postponed

Madness and Memory

Date: Wed, August 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Nobel laureate's oddysey to cure the toughest diseases of the brain

Stanley B. Prusiner, MD, Director, Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases; Professor, Department of Neurology, UCSF; Winner, Nobel Prize for Medicine

In his book, Prusiner tells the remarkable story of his discovery of prions – infectious proteins that replicate and cause disease but surprisingly contain no genetic material – and reveals how superb and meticulous science is actually practiced with talented teams of researchers who persevere. He recounts the frustrations and rewards of years of research and offers fascinating portraits of his peers as they raced to discover the causes of fatal brain diseases. Prusiner's hypothesis, once considered heresy, now stands as accepted science and the basis for developing diagnoses and eventual cures. He closes with a meditation on the legacy of his discovery: What will it take to cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's and other devastating diseases of the brain?

Image - Water Underfoot

Water Underfoot

Date: Wed, August 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
How will California's historic drought change water policy?

Debbie Davis, Community & Rural Affairs Advisor, Office of Planning and Research, State of California
Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board
Barton Thompson, Jr., Professor of Natural Resources Law, Stanford Law School

The historic drought is driving farmers and communities to suck more water out of the ground. That can lead to salt water leaking into aquifers and the creation of sinkholes. California manages and monitors its groundwater much more loosely than other Western states. The new fracking law and other measures are gradually changing that, but the Golden State still needs to improve how it handles a precious economic resource. Will the drought finally drive California to improve the way it uses the water under our feet? Join us for an update on keeping the water flowing in dry times.

Climate One Connect
Audience members are invited to engage in breakout group conversations led by speakers for 20 minutes following the program. We hope you’ll take part in this unique opportunity to delve deeper into today's water concerns.

Image - Closing the Gap: Crucial Transgender Issues Today
This event is Cancelled

Closing the Gap: Crucial Transgender Issues Today

Date: Wed, August 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Come explore the challenges facing the transgender community.

Cecilia Chung, Health Commissioner, City and County of San Francisco; Senior Strategist, Transgender Law Center; Former Chair, San Francisco Human Rights Commission

Despite incredible recent strides by the LGBT community in federal law, marriage equality and increased positive visibility in the media, the transgender community experiences a gap separating it from the rest of the LGBT community. Issues of violence, economic injustice and HIV in the transgender community are at a critical point today, demanding education, action and commitment. Join internationally renowned expert Cecilia Chung in exploring the challenges and solutions that will bring us all forward toward full equality.

Image - Mind Puzzles

Mind Puzzles

Date: Wed, August 13, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
What if our soundest, most reasonable judgments are beyond our control?

Robert Burton, M.D., Former Chief of Neurology, Mt. Zion, UCSF; Author, A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves
Tucker Hiatt, Founding Director, Wonderfest – Moderator

What if our soundest, most reasonable judgments are beyond our control? Are the feelings of being rational and having free will generated by conscious decisions or involuntary brain mechanisms? Is there a way to resolve the conflict between our innate biology and our traditional beliefs? Join Dr. Burton as he takes us on a journey into the mysteries of the brain and what makes us human.

Thu 8/14

Image - Shakespeare LGBT: The Bard and Gay and Transgender Roles
This event is Postponed

Shakespeare LGBT: The Bard and Gay and Transgender Roles

Date: Thu, August 14, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Explore California's theater companies' presentation of LGBT themes.

Jonathan Moscone, Artistic Director, California Shakespeare Company
Representative, San Francisco Shakespeare Company
Additional Panelists TBA

How have California’s long-established theater companies encountered, engaged and presented LGBT themes in Shakespeare – from cross-dressing to gender confusion to openly gay love – including one company led by an openly gay man who was recently married in a high-level ceremony? Live performances of classic scenes from Shakespeare will be presented.

Fri 8/15

Image - Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants: Authentic LGBT Marketing Success

Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants: Authentic LGBT Marketing Success

Date: Fri, August 15, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
One business harnessed LGBT support and engagement to great success.

Steve Pinetti, Senior Vice President, Inspiration & Creativity, Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group

One progressive boutique hotel chain changed the face of modern marketing by addressing an authentic and open outreach campaign to the LGBT community. Kimpton Hotel Group harnessed LGBT support and engagement – launching in San Francisco and then expanding around the country by transforming a social vision into solid financial results. Pinetti, one of the key minds behind this initiative, will discuss how to apply these lessons to today’s evolving marketplace.

Mon 8/18

Image - Gregory M. Herek: Beyond Homophobia

Gregory M. Herek: Beyond "Homophobia" - Thinking More Clearly About Sexual Stigma and Prejudice

Date: Mon, August 18, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D.; Professor of Psychology

Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D.; Professor of Psychology, University of California, Davis

The concept of homophobia – a word first coined in the 1960s – has played an important role in shifting society’s focus onto the problem of prejudice against people who aren’t heterosexual. But the word homophobia conveys a variety of assumptions that can actually limit our thinking. Drawing from social science research findings, including his own studies over the past 30 years, Herek will explain the value of looking beyond the usual conceptions of homophobia to develop a better understanding of stigma, discrimination and prejudice against sexual minorities, and to formulate effective strategies for changing attitudes.

Image - Traveling to the World’s Darker Countries

Traveling to the World’s Darker Countries

Date: Mon, August 18, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Lonely Planet founder takes us to places less traveled.

Tony Wheeler, Co-founder, Lonely Planet; Author, Tony Wheeler’s Dark Lands

Marc Casto, President and COO, Casto Travel  Moderator

Wheeler shares his experiences traveling through some of the world’s “darkest” regions, including North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and Cuba. With many of these countries in conflict and strife, Wheeler offers sensible tips and warnings for visitors curious to explore these areas. Hear more about his tales and misadventures from the “dark” side.

Wheeler and his wife co-founded Lonely Planet, one of the world’s most award-winning travel guidebook companies.

Tue 8/19

Image - It Was 50 Years Ago Today

It Was 50 Years Ago Today

Date: Tue, August 19, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
An interactive outline of the Beatles' history and influence.

Dulais Rhys, Professional Musician

The Beatles, their songs and their musical revolution arrived in the Bay Area 50 years ago today for a concert at the Cow Palace. The Beatles’ final public performance was at Candlestick Park two years and 10 days later. Paul McCartney commemorates that show at the last-ever event scheduled at Candlestick Park just a few days before this lecture at the Club. Come hear Rhys, a Welsh musician, outline the Beatles' history, songs, influences, form, stylistic development and legacy with musical examples, pictures and audience interaction. Singing along will not be discouraged!

Image - Augustus is Dead! Latin is Not!

Augustus is Dead! Latin is Not!

Date: Tue, August 19, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Matt Davis, Latin Teacher, Miramonte High School

On this bimillennial anniversary of the death of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, we peer into the perennial popularity of a seemingly long-dead language. Davis heads the very popular (over 150 students) Latin program at Miramonte High School in Orinda, and he will share with us his passion for the classics that keeps his 21st-century students tapping out declensions of ancient verbs on their iPads. Who was Augustus? Was August named after him? Or vice versa? And why Latin? Why, indeed! Carpe diem and come hear why.

Wed 8/20

Image - Steve Forbes: Fighting Threats to Our Money

Steve Forbes: Fighting Threats to Our Money

Date: Wed, August 20, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Exploring the global effects of abandoning the gold standard.

Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor in Chief, Forbes Media; Publisher, Forbes Magazine

Forbes Media publishes Forbes magazine, with a circulation of nearly 1 million readers domestically and 5 million worldwide. Steve Forbes was a Republican candidate for president in the 1996 and 2000 primaries. Here’s a chance to hear him identify the current threats to the dollar and discuss how we can all increase our financial stability. As detailed in his new book Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy and What We Can Do About It, Forbes argues that since world governments took their currencies off the gold standard, money has gotten weaker and our wealth has been eroded. He predicts that this global devaluation of currencies could lead to a fiscal catastrophe as bad as the Great Depression or worse unless we do something about it now.

Thu 8/21

Image - Russian Hill Walking Tour
This event is Cancelled

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Date: Thu, August 21, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
A more active neighborhood adventure!

Join a more active Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Russian Hill is a magical area with secret gardens and amazing views. Join Rick Evans for a two-hour hike up hills and staircases and learn about the history of this neighborhood. See where great artists and architects lived and worked, and walk down residential streets where some of the most historically significant houses in the Bay Area are located.

Image - The Big Book of In-Your-Face Gay Etiquette

The Big Book of In-Your-Face Gay Etiquette

Date: Thu, August 21, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Daniel Curzon, Author; Social, Cultural and Environmental Holiness Critic

Join in Curzon’s tales from Halfway to the Stars in which the cable car driver says what you secretly agree with but are afraid to say out loud. Add in a mix of hilarious and informative guidelines for "proper gay behavior" in The Big Book of In-Your-Face Gay Etiquette. Better yet, bring your ideas and interpretations of your favorite Curzon books, poems and fiction. Toss together local fun, etiquette and taboo for an unforgettable evening!

Image - Keystone & Beyond

Keystone & Beyond

Date: Thu, August 21, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
The true impact of depending on the Keystone pipeline.

David Baker, Energy Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle
John Cushman, Author, Keystone & Beyond; Former Reporter, The New York Times
Additional panelist TBA

With American oil production increasing and domestic demand in decline, does it make sense to build the Keystone XL pipeline? The Keystone battle is one of the biggest political fights over energy in decades and could shape President Obama’s legacy. Supporters say it will provide reliable energy from a friendly neighbor, adding that if the oil doesn’t come here, it will go to Asia. Opponents say that building it will commit the U.S. to some of the dirtiest fuel on Earth and send a message that the country is not serious about stabilizing the climate.

Keystone is just one hunk of metal in a web of energy infrastructure. There are 2.5 million miles of pipeline that carry energy around the United States. As a recent accident in Lynchburg, Virginia, demonstrated, transporting the oil by rail is dangerous. Furthermore, other pipelines are in the works to get the oil to ports and global markets.

John Cushman’s book on Keystone tells the story of the country’s most discussed piece of pipe. He will tell that story and be joined by two other reporters for a discussion of how the U.S. can maintain its economy while getting off fossil fuels before frying the planet. Will divestment from fossil fuels have any impact on capital and energy markets? Is attacking supply an effective strategy for decarbonizing the economy? Join a conversation with leading energy journalists on powering this country’s future.

Mon 8/25

Image - Middle East Discussion Group

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, August 25, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East. 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.

Image - The San Francisco LGBT Struggle for Freedom Revisited: Catholic Power an

The San Francisco LGBT Struggle for Freedom Revisited: Catholic Power and the Right to the City

Date: Mon, August 25, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Bill Issel, Professor of History Emeritus, San Francisco State University

The LGBT movement of the 20th century became one of the challenges to Catholic power that Walter Lippmann called "the acids of modernity." Bill Issel's new book, Church and State in the City, describes how, in San Francisco, the church and laypeople worked to make it a Catholic city. They wanted to make their city a place where residents would be secure against modernity's incursions. By the 1940s, Catholic power reached its zenith just as LGBT newcomers began demanding equal rights to the city. This story helps explain the city's robust opposition to LGBT activists' call for broader American freedoms in the 1950s and beyond.