Upcoming Events

Mon 2/9

Image - Book Discussion: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (MLF)

Book Discussion: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (MLF)

Date: Mon, February 09, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
The freedom of the spirit in an unfree world.

The Master and Margarita is woven around a visit by the devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union. In part, it is angled against a suffocatingly bureaucratic social order. The novel alternates between two settings. The first is 1930s Moscow, and the second setting is the Jerusalem of Pontius Pilate. Ultimately, the novel deals with the interplay of good and evil, innocence and guilt, courage and cowardice, love and sensuality, exploring such issues as the responsibility toward truth when authority would deny it, and the freedom of the spirit in an unfree world.

We’ll be discussing Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.

Image - A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California's Indians by the Spanis

A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California's Indians by the Spanish Missions

Date: Mon, February 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Elias Castillo 

Elias Castillo, Author, A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California's Indians by the Spanish Missions

Monday Night Philosophy refutes the myth that the 21 Franciscan missions in California were idyllic sites where Franciscan padres and Native Americans lovingly commingled. In reality, the missions were death camps in which the Catholic missionaries, guided by mission founder Junípero Serra’s direction that the “savage” Indians be controlled through "blows,” practiced unremitting violence against their charges. Drawing on exhaustive archival research, Castillo details the dark secrets that the missions have tried to keep under wraps for over 100 years. 

Tue 2/10

Image - Transforming California's State Parks: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Fut

Transforming California's State Parks: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Future

Date: Tue, February 10, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Christine Kehoe of the California Parks Forward Commission 

Christine Kehoe, Co-Chair, California Parks Forward Commission

California's magnificent 280-unit park system faces significant challenges. Declining budgets have led to scaled-back services and a long list of maintenance needs, while outdated administrative systems, technology and processes impede park staff’s ability to effectively manage and protect the parks’ natural and cultural resources. Hear about a just-released report by the Parks Forward Commission, which recommends sweeping changes to tackle these issues and ensure the sustainability of our state parks for future generations.

Kehoe is the executive director of the California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative. During 25 years of public service, including 19 years in elected office, Kehoe has focused on developing policies and programs over a range of issues at the city and state level. From 2000 to 2012, Ms. Kehoe served in the California state legislature as a member of the Assembly and the state Senate, where she distinguished herself as a consensus-minded leader and an advocate for strong energy and environmental policy.

Image - Half the Sky: China's Women Prisoners

Half the Sky: China's Women Prisoners

Date: Tue, February 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
John Kamm, Executive Director of the Dui Hua Foundation 

John Kamm, Founder and Executive Director, Dui Hua Foundation

Ever since 1997, the number of women in China’s prisons has risen at a rate far outstripping the increase in its general population. This recent surge in the prison population has necessitated a critical look at issues ranging from why it is happening (women’s helplessness in cases of domestic violence plays a large role) to how to better manage and care for the incarcerated. The Chinese government itself has begun addressing the problem and is considering adopting United Nations-mandated protocols for women prisoners. Kamm, of San Francisco’s humanitarian Dui Hau Foundation, lends us his considerable understanding and experience in exploring this burgeoning human rights issue.

Image - Particle Fever: A Special Film Screening

Particle Fever: A Special Film Screening

Date: Tue, February 10, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

David Kaplan Producer, Physicist, Co-Star

Imagine being able to watch as Edison turned on the first light bulb, or as Franklin received his first jolt of electricity. Particle Fever follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet, pushing the edge of human innovation.

As they seek to unravel the mysteries of the universe, 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries joined forces in pursuit of a single goal: to recreate conditions that existed just moments after the Big Bang and find the Higgs boson, potentially completing our understanding of ordinary matter. Join producer David Kaplan for a discussion of this far-reaching work.

Wed 2/11

Image - Scoble on Startups 2015: Context, Cloud and Bleeding-Edge Tech

Scoble on Startups 2015: Context, Cloud and Bleeding Edge Tech

Date: Wed, February 11, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Robert Scoble, Author and Chief Startup Liaison at Rackspace 

Robert Scoble, Chief Startup Liaison, Rackspace; Author, Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy
In conversation with Kevin O’Malley, President TechTalk / Studio

Top tech evangelist Robert Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology. He's interviewed thousands of executives and innovators, and continues to report on what he learns in books like The Age of Context and through social media, where he has a huge following. Join Scoble to learn about the latest and greatest startups, trends and devices he’s uncovering for 2015 and beyond.

Image - Living Planet Report 2014: Global Footprint Network

Living Planet Report 2014: Global Footprint Network

Date: Wed, February 11, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Mathis Wackernagel, Ph.D., President, Global Footprint Network 

Mathis Wackernagel, Ph.D., President, Global Footprint Network

Dr. Wackernagel will discuss the Living Planet Report, 2014 and the Global Footprint Network's ecological footprint. The Living Planet Report is a science-based analysis of the health of our planet and the impact of human activity. Wackernagel has worked on sustainability on six continents and lectured at more than 100 universities. Join us as he speaks about current science and the health of our planet and the serious challenges ahead to ensure healthy, safe environments worldwide at the global, national and local levels. Dr. Wackernagel is co-creator of the concept of the ecological footprint. His awards include the 2013 Prix Nature Swisscanto, the 2012 Blue Planet Award and the 2011 Zayed International Prize for the Environment.

Image - Cli-Fi 2015

Cli-Fi 2015

Date: Wed, February 11, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
With Jason Mark, editor of Earth Island Journal

Jason Mark, Editor, Earth Island Journal
Other Speakers TBA

The notion that humans can fundamentally alter the biochemistry of something as big as the Earth’s atmosphere seems like science fiction to some. While politicians debate whether or not climate change is real, authors and filmmakers are tackling the far-out implications in a new genre called Climate Fiction or Cli-Fi. How wild could a hot and crowded world get? Join us for a conversation about literature and film that explores what may be ahead.

Thu 2/12

Image - The Patient Will See You Now; The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands

The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands

Date: Thu, February 12, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With author Eric Topol 

Eric Topol, MD, Scripps Health Chief Academic Officer, Scripps Clinic; Author, The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands

In The Patient Will See You Now, Eric Topol, one of the nation’s top physicians, examines what he calls medicine’s “Gutenberg moment.” Much as the printing press liberated knowledge from the control of an elite class, new technology – from the smartphone to machine learning – is poised to democratize medicine.

In this new era, patients will control their data and be emancipated from a paternalistic medical regime in which “the doctor knows best.” Mobile phones, apps, and attachments would figuratively put the lab and the ICU in our pockets. Computers will replace physicians for many diagnostic tasks, and enormous data sets will give us new means to attack conditions that have long been incurable. In spite of these benefits, the path forward will be complicated: Some in the medical establishment will resist these changes, and digitized medicine will raise serious issues surrounding privacy. Nevertheless, the result – better, cheaper, and more humane health care for all – could be worth it. The Patient Will See You Now is essential reading for anyone who thinks they deserve better health care. That is, for all of us.

Image - Chinatown Walking Tour
This event is Sold Out

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, February 12, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

Enjoy a Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure. Join Rick Evans for a memorable midday walk and discover the history and mysteries of Chinatown. Explore colorful alleys and side streets. Visit a Taoist temple, an herbal store, the site of the first public school in the state, and the famous Fortune Cookie Factory.

Image - Sex and Dating for Nerds

Sex and Dating for Nerds

Date: Thu, February 12, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Lessons you need to win at dating!

What better way to ring in Valentine’s Day than with some good old fashioned sex ed? Join INFORUM the Thursday before Valentine’s Day for a two-hour event that will be part-party, part-sexy-tutorials. Three experts will unleash the academic and intellectual, the practical and the tactical lessons you need to win at dating, whether it’s online or in the bedroom. Afterwards join us for a party with not-so-awkward-social-prompts, Cards Against Humanity, booze, food, and booze – did we say that twice? So whether you’re a serial dater, swinger, or on your own and loving it, swing on by to enjoy a night of sex and dating.

Fri 2/13

Image - Bay Area: Ground Zero for the Reinvention of America

Bay Area: Ground Zero for the Reinvention of America

Date: Fri, February 13, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With Peter Leyden, Former Managing Editor of Wired 

Peter Leyden, Former Managing Editor, Wired; Founder and CEO, Reinventors; Co-author, The Long Boom

There is no place on the planet better positioned than the Bay Area to drive the creation of a digital, global, sustainable civilization for the 21st century. Leyden, former managing editor of Wired magazine, presents a dazzling multimedia presentation covering the many tech, economic, social and political transformations that will unfold right here in the coming decades.

Tue 2/17

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 2/17/15

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 2/17/15

Date: Tue, February 17, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Talk and learn politics in a friendly, social setting.

Debra J. Saunders, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; "Token Conservative" Blogger, SFGate.com; Twitter @debrajsaunders
Carla Marinucci, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Political Blogger, "Spin Cycle," SFGate.com; Twitter @cmarinucci
Bill Whalen, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Political Blogger, adayattheracesblog.com; Twitter @hooverwhalen

It's the third anniversary of Week to Week, the political roundtable from The Commonwealth Club. 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).

Wed 2/18

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, February 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues

The Humanities Forum brings Socrates Café to The Commonwealth Club. It will be held every third Wednesday evening for the discussion of philosophical issues. At each monthly meeting the group's facilitator, Bob Enteen, will invite participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic will briefly explain why she or he considers the subject interesting and important. An open discussion will follow, ending with a summary. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Image - Get Fit, Lean and Keep Your Day Job

Get Fit, Lean and Keep Your Day Job

Date: Wed, February 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
How to get into the best shape of your life.

J.D. Griffin, MBA, Certified Nutrition Coach; Men’s Physique Competitor; Financial Markets Professional

So many nutrition and exercise plans promise great results, but their requirements suggest that becoming healthy is apparently a full-time job. What if you could lose fat, get fit, feel healthy and still keep your day job? You can!

J.D. Griffin wants to teach you how to get yourself into the best shape of your life. By breaking health and fitness down to their essentials, Griffin has developed a functional approach with three sections: nutrition, cardiovascular exercise and resistance training. He offers you a time-efficient, practical guide that he says anyone can follow and start seeing and feeling the results.

Thu 2/19

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, February 19, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

Explore San Francisco’s Financial District with historian Rick Evans and learn the history and stories behind some of our city’s remarkable structures, streets, and public squares. Hear about the famous architects that influenced the building of San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake. Discover hard-to-find rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, unique open spaces, and historic landmarks. This is a tour for locals, with hidden gems you can only find on foot!

Image - Parliament Members From Around The World: Democracy and The Digital Age

Parliament Members From Around The World: Democracy and The Digital Age

Date: Thu, February 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
How are women using technology to encourage inclusive leadership? 

Panelists TBA

Youth and women members of parliaments from around the world will discuss how they are harnessing opportunities presented by mobile, social media and new technologies to strengthen engagement between citizens and their elected representative. How are women and young politicians using social media and technology to promote deliberation and compromise, rather than political polarization? How are women and young politicians using technology to promote more inclusive political leadership? What opportunities and challenges does the rapid pace of technological change pose for democratic governance in different country contexts around the world?

The panel discussion is part of an exchange program supported by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for Development on Leadership in the Digital Economy. The program brings bring together members of parliaments – mostly women and young MPs – from around the world to Washington D.C. and the Bay Area.

Image - Lessons in Leadership and Success

Lessons in Leadership and Success

Date: Thu, February 19, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
With venture capitalist Heidi Roizen

Heidi Roizen, Operating Partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Alison van Diggelen, Host, “Fresh Dialogues”; Contributor, BBC – Moderator

Though women are continuing to close the gender gap in the workplace, female engineers, computer scientists and executives still remain minorities in U.S. companies. Nowhere is the disparity at the top as stark as in Silicon Valley. According to a recent survey published in The Wall Street Journal, tech firms there have half as many female directors and around two-thirds as many female executives as do America’s other largest companies. Roizen, a well-known Silicon Valley executive, venture capitalist and entrepreneur, will share her experiences in the industry and offer insights into how to overcome challenges and flourish in the tech world.

Fri 2/20

Image - The Invisible People: Syrian Refugees

The Invisible People: Syrian Refugees

Date: Fri, February 20, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Giles Duley, Photojournalist; Humanitarian
Jonathan Curiel, Journalist - Moderator

While on foot patrol in Afghanistan, Duley, an award-winning photojournalist, stepped on a land mine and became a triple amputee, losing his arm and both legs. He is noted for both his portraits of the rich and famous, and his work which focuses on humanitarian issues and the stark consequences of conflicts on civilians. Duley, who has been honored by Amnesty International, will show excerpts from his latest documentary, which encompasses Syrian refugees.

Mon 2/23

Image - San Francisco’s Pan-Pacific Exposition of 1915

The Panama-Pacific International Exposition: Its 100-Year Impact

Date: Mon, February 23, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Exploring the local legacy of this international fair.

James Ganz, Ph.D., Curator, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Kevin Starr, Ph.D., California State Librarian Emeritus
Laura Ackley, Author, San Francisco's Jewel City: The Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915
Lori Fogarty, Executive Director, Oakland Museum of California
Anthea Hartig, Ph.D., Executive Director, California Historical Society – Moderator

This year marks the centennial of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a world’s fair that historians say symbolized San Francisco’s transformation from a city devastated by earthquake and fire to an economic powerhouse poised to lead a social and cultural revolution.

Among the exhibits at the Exposition was the C. P. Huntington, the first steam locomotive purchased by Southern Pacific Railroad. A telephone line was also established to New York, so people across the continent could hear the Pacific Ocean. The Liberty Bell even traveled by train on a nationwide tour from Pennsylvania to attend the exposition. The centerpiece was the Tower of Jewels, which rose to 435 feet and was covered with over 100,000 cut glass Novagems.

Buildings that remain include The Palace of Fine Arts, what is now called the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium at Civic Center Plaza and the Japanese Tea House, which was barged down the Peninsula to Belmont.

This program is part of the opening weekend kickoff of PPIE100, a yearlong series of public events, exhibitions and activities presented by more than 35 Bay Area cultural, civic and business organizations to reflect on PPIE’s historical significance and celebrate the innovations of “Then, Now and Tomorrow.”