Upcoming Events

Thu 12/4

Image - John A. Amster: Patents in the Boardroom – The Truth Behind the Headline

John A. Amster: Patents in the Boardroom – The Truth Behind the Headlines

Date: Thu, December 04, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

John A. AmsterCEO and Co-founder, RPX Corporation

Patents have been big news in recent years. Large electronics rivals have made headlines by waging high-stakes legal battles over infringement of smartphone patents. Bankrupt companies have auctioned off their patent portfolios for hundreds of millions – or even billions – of dollars. The most significant development affecting patents, however, has been the rise of non-practicing entities (NPEs), also known as “patent trolls.” NPEs acquire patents and litigate them to extract license payments or legal settlements from an allegedly infringing company. Operating companies spent nearly $11 billion dealing with NPE litigation in 2012 alone.

RPX CEO and Co-founder Amster will describe how patents have been transformed from legal protection of a novel invention into a major source of operating risk. Today, owners of patents are monetizing their value through costly and inefficient legal processes. The discussion will focus on a different perspective: how patents can and should be transacted using market mechanisms instead, and in the process, save operating companies billions of dollars every year.

Mon 12/8

Go to Middle East Discussion Group

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, December 08, 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.

The Ten Best Ethical Destinations Awards: Voting with Our Wings

Date: Mon, December 08, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A discussion with Jeff Greenwald and Malia Everette

Jeff Greenwald, Executive Director, Ethical Traveler
Malia Everette, Founder, Altruvistas

One of the best things mindful travelers can do is spend their tourist dollars in countries that uphold core values like human rights, civil society and environmental protection. Every December, Bay Area-based Ethical Traveler (a project of the Earth Island Institute) lists “The World’s Best Ethical Destinations.” The independent non-profit honors 10 countries – all in the developing world – that are protecting their environments and promoting a socially just, sustainable tourism economy. Join the architects of this list, and representatives from the award-winning countries, for a discussion about which countries made the 2015 list and why.

Image - Grapes of Wrath at 75: Retracing the Joads’ Journey

Grapes of Wrath at 75: Retracing the Joads’ Journey

Date: Mon, December 08, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Exploring the central themes of struggle and hope.

P.J. Palmer, Filmmaker; Videographer
Octavio Solis, Playwright; Director
Patricia Wakida, Writer; Linoleum Block-Print Artist

Monday Night Philosophy celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the publication of John Steinbeck’s seminal novel, The Grapes of Wrath. Its central themes of struggle and hope are still relevant today.

Hear the three artists who were commissioned by The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas to retrace the Joad family’s journey from Oklahoma to California, and to gather stories from people they met along their route. Together they created a living portrait of everyday Americans facing the same challenges as the Joads – poverty, joblessness, environmental change – and responding with strength and resilience.

Tue 12/9

Image - An Evening with Jared Diamond

An Evening with Jared Diamond

Date: Tue, December 09, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Join a discussion with one of the world's most celebrated polymaths.

Jared Diamond, Professor, UCLA; Author, Guns, Germs and Steel, Collapse and The World Until Yesterday

Jared Diamond is a scientist known for drawing from a variety of fields, from anthropology to evolutionary biology. He has published several popular science books, including Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs and Steel and, most recently, The World Until Yesterday. Diamond’s conclusions are critical and provocative, exploring concepts like how humans evolved to be so different from animals, despite sharing over 98 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees, and why Eurasian peoples conquered Native Americans and Africans instead of vice versa. Diamond yet again challenges the way our brains think in The World Until Yesterday as he chronicles tribal peoples and what they can teach us about the shortcomings of modern society. Join us for a night of intellectual stimulation with one of the world’s most celebrated polymaths.

Wed 12/10

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

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

Date: Wed, December 10, 2014
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.

Thu 12/11

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Thu, December 11, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Explore the neighborhood surrounding the Club's future home.

Join Rick Evans for his new walking tour exploring the historic sites of the waterfront neighborhood that surrounds the location of the future Commonwealth Club headquarters. Hear the dynamic stories of the entrepreneurs, controversial artists and labor organizers who created this recently revitalized neighborhood. This two-hour tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Mon 12/15

Go to Middle East Discussion Group
This event is Canceled

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, December 15, 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.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Members Holiday Social 12/15/14

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Members Holiday Social 12/15/14

Date: Mon, December 15, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Commentary on political and other major news.

Joe Garofoli, Political Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter @joegarofoli
Melissa Griffin Caen, Contributor, CBS SF (“Mornings with Melissa”) and San Francisco Magazine; Attorney; Twitter @melgriffincaen
Bill Whalen, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Political Blogger, adayattheracesblog.com; Twitter @hooverwhalen

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).

Tue 12/16

Image - The Rise and Fall of a Jewish American Princess

The Rise and Fall of a Jewish American Princess

Date: Tue, December 16, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM
Barbara Rose Brooker, Author; Columnist; Performer; Teacher

Barbara Rose Brooker, Author; Columnist; Performer; Teacher

This talented author will speak from her latest book in which a woman rises above all obstacles to live a life on her own terms as a successful artist. The book focuses on deception and redemption. It is a novel about Dianne Roseman, a woman programmed to be a “Jewish American Princess” and define herself by a successful marriage. The reader is invited into the brutal art world through Roseman’s disastrous affair with a famous dealer of contemporary art and her persevering effort to become a known artist. The novel explores women of all cultures who are inhibited by old generations and fight to thrive.

Wed 12/17

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, December 17, 2014
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.

Thu 12/18

Image - Russian Hill Walking Tour

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Date: Thu, December 18, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
An active Commonwealth Club 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.

Thu 1/8

Image - North Beach Walking Tour

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Thu, January 08, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
Explore vibrant North Beach with Rick Evans!

Join another Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Explore vibrant North Beach with Rick Evans during a two-hour walk through this neighborhood with a colorful past, where food, culture, history and unexpected views all intersect in an Italian “urban village.” In addition to learning about Beat generation hangouts, you’ll discover authentic Italian cathedrals and coffee shops. 

Image - The Home that Watches Over Your Parents

The Home that Watches Over Your Parents

Date: Thu, January 08, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
The authors discuss this latest report.

Richard Caro, D.Phil., Scientist; Silicon Valley Entrepreneur
Mary Hulme, Gerontologist; Care Manager

With the emergence of low-cost sensors and ubiquitous wireless communications, it is now possible to embed sensors around the house that track whether or not a person is getting up when they normally do, eating when they normally do or moving around less than usual. These products are designed to observe these activities unobtrusively, sending alerts to other family members only if something is different than usual. This program is a discussion of Activity-tracking Home Sensor Systems, the first and only independent, objective report about these products. If you worry about an elderly relative or friend who spends a lot of time home alone, this program is designed with you in mind.

Mon 1/12

Image - Machtinger on Mercy in Mozart's Menuetto-Allegretto

Machtinger on Mercy in Mozart's Menuetto-Allegretto

Date: Mon, January 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Steven Machtinger, Attorney & Violinist

Steven Machtinger, Attorney; Violist; Independent Mozart Scholar

Monday Night Philosophy returns to the exploration of the philosophical concepts that are encoded into Mozart's chamber music. In this lecture-performance, we will hear how Mozart, through the use of symbolic motifs, touches on themes of judgment and mercy in the Menuetto-Allegretto movement of his String Quintet in G minor, K. 516.

Thu 1/15

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Thu, January 15, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
The waterfront neighborhood that surrounds the future Commonwealth Club headquarters!

Join Rick Evans for his new walking tour exploring the historic sites of the waterfront neighborhood that surrounds the location of the future Commonwealth Club headquarters. Hear the dynamic stories of the entrepreneurs, controversial artists and labor organizers who created this recently revitalized neighborhood. This two-hour tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development

Wed 1/21

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, January 21, 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.

Mon 1/26

Image - Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden

Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden

Date: Mon, January 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Join the filmmakers to discuss their new murder mystery movie.

Dayna Goldfine, Emmy-award winning filmmaker; Co-creator, Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden
Dan Geller, Emmy-award winning filmmaker; Co-creator, Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden

“The most irresistible film of 2014,” is what the San Francisco Chronicle calls Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden. The documentary presents a cache of home movies made by settlers who go off to live on a remote Galapagos Island in search of Eden. Their search for paradise turns dark when one of their own is killed. Come hear how Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller became interested in producing this engaging, Hitchcock-meets-Darwin mystery.

Wed 1/28

Go to Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

Date: Wed, January 28, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Katy Butler, Author

Katy Butler, Author, Knocking on Heaven's Door

When does death cease to be a curse and start to become a blessing? Where is the line between saving a life and prolonging a dying? When is the right time to say to a doctor, “Let my loved one go”? Science writer and essayist Katy Butler explores these questions through a blend of investigative reporting and memoir. When doctors refused to disable her aged, very ill father’s pacemaker, sentencing him to a protracted and agonizing death, Butler set out to understand why. Her quest had barely begun when her mother faced her own illness, refused open-heart surgery, and instead met death head-on. This story is the fruit of her family’s journey.

 

Thu 1/29

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, January 29, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
Hidden gems you can only find on foot!

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!