Upcoming Events

Mon 10/6

Image - Thomas McNaughton

Flour + Water’s Chef Thomas McNaughton in Conversation with Adam Savage

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Chef and Partner, flour + water

Thomas McNaughton, Chef and Partner, flour + water, central kitchen and salumeria; Author, flour + water: pasta
In conversation with Adam Savage, Host, “Mythbusters”

In 2009, Chef Thomas McNaughton started his San Francisco solo career with only a $500 stove and a fairly traditional concept. Just five short years later, flour + water has a cult-like local following and an award-driven national reputation, and McNaughton is on every short list of rising star chefs to watch. With a passion for artisanship and community agriculture, his handmade pasta dishes and creative regional Italian combinations have blown away diners and critics, inspiring McNaughton to launch other successful eateries such as central kitchen and salumeria. Now his new book, flour + water: pasta, takes you behind the scenes of San Francisco’s hottest Italian restaurant and shows all of you weekend warriors how to make the perfect bowl of pasta.

After the interview, 20 lucky guests can join us for an intimate meal with the speakers at flour + water, in its private dining space. Dinner tickets include priority seating tickets to the interview and the pre-program cocktail reception, as well as a deluxe five-course meal with wine pairings and pasta-making demos by the chef after the program. Tickets are limited and will sell out soon, so be sure to get your Early Bird Dinner Package quickly!

Image - John Lahr, New Yorker Drama Critic

John Lahr, New Yorker Drama Critic

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
The first Tony award-winning critic

John Lahr, Author, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh; Drama critic, The New Yorker
In conversation with Carey Perloff, Artistic Director, A.C.T.

John Lahr will discuss his new book on Tennessee Williams, which provides intimate access to the mind of the writer whose plays reshaped the American theater and our nation’s sense of self.

A regular contributor to The New Yorker, Mr. Lahr has written 17 books and two novels. Previously, Lahr has written for the Nation, the Village Voice, and British Vogue. Some of his work has been included in volumes of The Best American Essays, and he is the first critic ever to win a Tony Award.

Tue 10/7

Image - An Evening with Nicholas Kristof

An Evening with Nicholas Kristof

Date: Tue, October 07, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Nicholas Kristof, Columnist, New York Times; Co-author, A Path Appears; Two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner

Nick is on tour for his latest book, A Path Appears

Kristof is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, awarded first in 1990 for his coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement and later in 2006 for his reporting on genocide in Darfur. His columns unpack the hidden and often shocking side of global issues, from poverty to human trafficking. Nick’s latest book, A Path Appears, champions stories of individuals, organizations, and research breakthroughs that took small steps to make not-so-small differences in the world. A 9-year-old asked friends and family to donate to a charity water campaign as her birthday present, raising $220 – six weeks later she tragically died, spurring $1.2 million in donations and providing clean water to 37,000 Ethiopians. Parasites in the bellies of schoolchildren account for a quarter of absenteeism in Africa—and deworming costs 2 cents at scale. Kristof reminds us that you don’t have to devote your life or give away millions to have a profound impact on the lives of the suffering.

Wed 10/8

Image - Peace Corps in Ukraine

Peace Corps in Ukraine

Date: Wed, October 08, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Put a human face on the people living in a country facing an uncertain future.

Julia Lee, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2011-2013
Jing Li, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2010-2012
Kyle Borley, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2010-2012
Morgan Roth, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2011-2013
Kayla Trunecek, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2013-2014

Five recently returned Peace Corps volunteers who served in diverse regions around Ukraine discuss the lives they shared with the people in their communities. In big cities and small towns, east and west, the daily interactions of these volunteers put a human face on the peoples, young and old, living in a country facing an uncertain future.

Image - Nick Carr: An Automated World

Nick Carr: An Automated World

Date: Wed, October 08, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
What is the deep psychological impact of technology?

Nicholas Carr, Author, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
In conversation with Andrew Leonard, Staff Writer, Salon

Google Glass lets you take a picture with the blink of an eye. Your Fitbit wristband counts your calories and tracks your sleep. Soon even our cars will drive themselves. Technology is increasingly automating our lives, but is it for better or worse? In The Glass Cage, Nicholas Carr suggests that the transition to a technologically dependent and screen-dominated world makes people disengaged and unhappy. Join us and be faced with Carr’s thesis: Silicon Valley’s fascination with wearable technology and augmented reality will only serve to narrow our horizons instead of expand them.

Nicholas Carr, the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, is the former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review. He has written for The New York Times, Wired and famously for The Atlantic with his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Image - Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker

Date: Wed, October 08, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; Author, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century; Twitter: @sapinker

LOL and CU L8R – is technology corrupting the English language? With our daily lives bombarded by texts and tweets, are etiquette, writing, and grammar going out of style? Noted linguist and cognitive scientist Pinker will discuss the science of language as well as the challenges of crafting clear, coherent and stylish prose.

Thu 10/9

Image - Former President of Latvia Vaira Vike-Freiberga: Security in Eastern Eur

Former President of Latvia Vaira Vike-Freiberga: Security in Eastern Europe and Beyond

Date: Thu, October 09, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Ph.D., Former President of Latvia; President, Madrid Club

The current conflict between Russia and the Ukraine has called attention to Eastern European security. Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga was the president of the Republic of Latvia from 1999 to 2007. She played an instrumental role for her country in achieving membership in the European Union and NATO. She also raised the world's recognition of Latvia through her international activities, such as assuming the role of special envoy on United Nations reform. Hear Dr. Vike-Freiberga as she discusses recent events related to Ukraine, the Baltic States and NATO.

Image - No More Heart Attacks

No More Heart Attacks

Date: Thu, October 09, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Steve Blake, ScD, Faculty Nutritional Biochemist, Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience LLC; Author, Vitamins and Minerals Demystified

Heart attacks are the number-one killer in the United States, but that doesn’t have to be true. The latest research shows that diet is strongly linked to heart attacks. Steve Blake suggests that there are plenty of fun, healthy foods that you can add to your diet to reduce your risk of a heart attack. He’ll also discuss how vitamin D deficiency is linked to heart attachs, and how certain oils can reduce risk and certain fats can increase risk. Through this inspiring discussion, you can learn how to implement heart-safe lifestyle options.

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion: Livy's The Dawn of the Roman Empire, Books 31-40

Humanities West Book Discussion: Livy's The Dawn of the Roman Empire, Books 31-40

Date: Thu, October 09, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Rome's emergence as an imperial nation and tempestuous involvement with Greece.

The Roman commander T.Q. Flamininus proclaimed the freedom of Greece at the Isthmian games near Corinth in 196 BC. Half a century later, Greece was annexed as a province by the Romans, who burned the ancient city of Corinth to the ground. Join us to discuss Books 31 to 40 of Livy's history, which charts Rome's emergence as an imperial nation and the Romans' tempestuous involvement with Greece, Macedonia and the near East. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Image - Kevin Roe: The Ultimate Robot Challenge at Fukushima

Kevin Roe: The Ultimate Robot Challenge at Fukushima

Date: Thu, October 09, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Kevin Roe, Patent Attorney 

The triple meltdowns at Fukushima could be the greatest industrial disaster in history. But the disaster is not over, it has only just begun. Without repair at the reactors, endless radionuclide contamination from Fukushima will poison the Pacific Ocean. Kevin is a patent attorney in Silicon Valley and was formerly an electrical engineer specializing in computers and integrated circuits at companies such as IBM and Xerox PARC.  He has written several patent applications for robotics and artificial intelligence for all environments, including very high radiation environments. He explains the reasons why neither humans nor conventional robots can repair the reactors, the potential consequences if cleanup efforts fail, and a possible alternative approach to conventional robot technology. 

Fri 10/10

Image - Tony Serra: The Green, Yellow, and Purple Years in the Life of a Radical

Tony Serra: The Green, Yellow, and Purple Years in the Life of a Radical Lawyer

Date: Fri, October 10, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Hear Serra's quest for "confinement escapism"

J. Tony Serra, Criminal Defense Attorney; Author, The Green, Yellow, and Purple Years in the Life of a Radical Lawyer

Serra will speak and read from his book The Green, Yellow, and Purple Years in the Life of a Radical Lawyer, a chromatic, metaphoric account of Serra’s defense of groups such as the Black Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the New World Liberation Front, Nuestra Familia, Earth First!, the Hells Angels, and the Mafia. He wrote it while in federal prison for refusing to pay taxes. Serra explains in his foreword, “Forgive my romanticized and self-indulgent propositions in the forthcoming pages. Recall that such were written at Lompoc Federal Prison camp during my incarceration for U.S. tax resistance. I was not purporting to document case histories. You can find those references on the internet. Mine is not a quest for accuracy. Mine is a flight into whimsy and caprice, a retrospective twinkle in the eyes of memory: In short, confinement escapism.”

Mon 10/13

Image - Retired US General Wesley Clark

Retired U.S.General Wesley Clark

Date: Mon, October 13, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Wesley Clark, Ret. U.S. Army General; Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander; Author, Don’t Wait for the Next War: A Strategy for American Growth and Global Leadership

In conversation with Kori Schake, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Former Distinguished Chair in International Security Studies, The United States Military Academy at West Point

Can the U.S. have a real national strategy and move forward without the focus of war? In the 20th century, the U.S. became the "arsenal of democracy" and emerged from WWII as the greatest power in the world. After losing its adversary, the Soviet Union, critics complained that U.S. leaders failed to replace the Cold War strategic vision with something appropriate for a postwar role.

Modern global challenges, immune to military solutions, require intricate interdependence between government and the private sector. Terrorism, cybersecurity, financial system vulnerabilities, the rise of China, and accelerating climate change constitute a new class of national security challenges. Clark says that meeting these will require the U.S. to revisit hallowed mythologies and concert domestic and foreign policies in a way that has never before been achieved. Based on his experience at the highest levels in the military, politics and business, Wesley Clark offers a possible path forward.

Dryden Liddle

Emperor Augustus: A Force for Civilization

Date: Mon, October 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
The man who made empire from republican disarray

Dryden Liddle, Ph.D.

Monday Night Philosophy remembers Emperor Augustus, who died 2,000 years ago on August 19, 14 A.D. This gifted and successful politician seized power ruthlessly and was declared the savior of the Roman Republic even as he was abolishing it. He ruled as an autocrat but maintained the fiction that he was no more than the Republic’s First Citizen. His 40-year reign was Rome’s Golden Age, when a new imperial government inspired institutions to be established, and art, architecture and literature to flourish, creating a prosperous civilization that lasted for centuries.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 10/13/14

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 10/13/14

Date: Mon, October 13, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Joe Garofoli, Political Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter @joegarofoli
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).

Tue 10/14

Image - From Hobby to Thriving Business: The Story of Della Fattoria

From Hobby to Thriving Business: The Story of Della Fattoria

Date: Tue, October 14, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Kathleen Weber, Owner, Della Fattoria Bakery; Author, Della Fattoria Bread

Tori Ritchie, Cookbook Author; Food Writer; Culinary Teacher

A self-taught home baker who went on to supply bread for The French Laundry, Weber is now proprietor of the much-loved Della Fattoria Bakery in Petaluma, named one of America’s 10 best bread bakeries by Bon Appétit. Long cherished for her artisan loaves, including favorites like the Meyer Lemon-Rosemary Campagne, Country Wheat and Sausage-Sage Levain, Weber shares the secrets to her breads in her first book, Della Fattoria Bread. Join Weber and Ritchie for a conversation about her bakery, her ranch, baking for some of the region’s top restaurants, and why we should all have more courage in the kitchen.

Image - John Lanchester in conversation with Michael Lewis

John Lanchester in conversation with Michael Lewis

Date: Tue, October 14, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
The language of money and how the world of finance and economics really works.

John Lanchester, Author, How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say – And What It Really Means
In Conversation with Michael Lewis, Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair; Author, MoneyballLiar’s Poker and Flash Boys

Join us for a special pairing and a witty, engaging dialogue about the language of money and how the world of finance and economics really works.

Lanchester is the author of three novels, including The Debt to Pleasure, Capital and IOU. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. He has covered a wide range of money matters, from the terms and conditions of personal checking accounts to the evasions of bankers appearing before Congress. See him in conversation with noted author Lewis, who has covered three decades of endemic global corruption since his debut, Liar’s Poker, which transformed him from a disillusioned bond salesman to the best-selling literary icon he is today.

Image - Susan RoAne

How to Work a Room and Enjoy Networking in Our Digital Age

Date: Tue, October 14, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Become better at meeting people and deepening relationships.

Susan RoAne, Author, How to Work a Room®: The Ultimate Guide to Making Lasting Connections in Person and Online

How do you introduce yourself to someone? What do you say next? In a world that seems isolated behind emoticons and quick transactions, how can you create and nurture warm, engaged relationships? One way is to join us for a session with best-selling author and keynote speaker Susan RoAne.

Susan's warm and practical style can help people become better at meeting others and deepening relationships. Accept this invitation and discover how surprisingly easy it is to become comfortable and effective at networking. You'll have a great time, and most likely you'll leave the session with three new contacts and a few new tools that really work. Your future self will thank you for coming to the Club!

Wed 10/15

Image - Ace the Interview: Critical Skills for Midlife Applicants

Ace the Interview: Critical Skills for Midlife Applicants

Date: Wed, October 15, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM
Mary Eileen Williams, Career/Life Transition Counselor; Writer

Mary Eileen Williams, M.A., NCCC; Job Search Specialist; Career/Life Transition Counselor; Writer

Williams will discuss how to present yourself in the job interview, and how it can make or break your chances for success. Too many applicants miss out because they don’t understand how best to prepare for this all-important meeting. In this program, you will learn what to expect – the interviewer’s agenda and a typical interview format; the critical nonverbal messages you’ll need to send; how to anticipate and respond to questions so that you’ll highlight your skills. Williams also offers insider tips for acing event-specific questions; using examples that accentuate your strengths; and how to leave the interview on a high note.

Image - The Tech Boom: Good or Bad for San Francisco?

The Tech Boom: Good or Bad for San Francisco?

Date: Wed, October 15, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
In association with the San Francisco Chronicle.

Panelists TBA
John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor, San Francisco Chronicle – Moderator

Economic and social disruption is nothing new for San Francisco. From the Gold Rush to the Summer of Love, the city has often been at the vanguard of change. The tech boom has brought an unprecedented wave of riches and stresses to the city. We bring together some of the city’s thought leaders for a provocative discussion of how the city must nurture and/or temper this dramatic period of change.

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, October 15, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A 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.