Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Thu 7/7

Image - Chinatown

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, July 07, 2016
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.

Mon 7/11

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour 7/11/16

Date: Mon, July 11, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Smart and lively political discussion

Panelists TBA

There's no such thing as the mid-summer doldrums when it comes to politics, and this year that's really the case!

We'll 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).

Tue 7/12

Images - Mary Elizabeth Williams

A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles

Date: Tue, July 12, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Mary Elizabeth Williams, Journalist; Author, A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles: A True Story of Love, Science, and Cancer
In conversation with Peggy Orenstein, Author

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

Journalist Mary Elizabeth Williams was one of the first people in the world to get a new form of treatment for her stage 4 cancer diagnosis that’s revolutionizing cancer care: immunotherapy. In October of 2015, her treatment protocol became the first immunotherapy combination approved by the FDA; it's the same treatment that former President Jimmy Carter underwent.

In her witty, wry, and deeply moving new memoir, A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles: A True Story of Love, Science, and Cancer, Williams shares her personal journey with malignant melanoma in her early forties and how—thanks to cutting-edge science—she was restored back to health with no signs of disease.

Wed 7/13

Image - The Brazen Age

The Brazen Age

Date: Wed, July 13, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

David Reid, Author, The Brazen Age

The Brazen Age is a sweeping look at the rich culture and turbulent politics of New York City between 1945 and 1950. But David Reid also reaches back to the early 1900s to explore the city’s progressive politics, radical artistic experimentation and burgeoning bohemian culture, to the quickly growing media, movie and radio businesses in the 1920s, and to the influx of talented Europeans in the 1930s, vastly enriching the sciences and the arts. Reid also delves into the city's influence on the Dewey-Truman election, as he captures a complex and powerful moment in the post-war history of New York City.

Thu 7/14

Image - Matt Cohen

Off the Grid: The Disruptive, Japan-inspired Food Truck Revolution

Date: Thu, July 14, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Matt Cohen, Founder of Off the Grid Services, LLC

Off the Grid, curator of gatherings of street food and other amenities at Fort Mason Center, the Presidio, and 38 other locations, began in San Francisco six years ago and is a uniquely Bay Area re-creation of Asia’s vibrant night markets. Founder Matt Cohen developed the concept from his time living in Japan, and he added modern elements to build community spaces through temporary events in underused urban spaces using social media and partnerships with small businesses. Cohen will discuss how his experience living in Japan inspired and continues to influence the evolution of Off the Grid’s various businesses.

Image - Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

Date: Thu, July 14, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Brian Christian, Author, The Most Human Human; Co-author, Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions
Tom Griffiths, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, UC Berkeley; Co-author, Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These might seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not. Computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such issues for decades. The solutions they've found have much to teach us.

In this interdisciplinary work, author Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths show how the algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one's inbox to understanding the workings of memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.

Mon 7/18

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, July 18, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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 - Kevin Kelly

Wired's Kevin Kelly: The Future of Tech

Date: Mon, July 18, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick, Wired; Author, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that Will Shape Our Future; Twitter

Much of what will happen in the next 30 years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion. In his provocative new book, Kevin Kelly provides an optimistic road map for the future, showing how the coming changes in our lives—from virtual reality in the home to an on-demand economy to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture—can be understood as the result of a few long-term, accelerating forces.

Kelly describes these deep trends—flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking and questioning—and demonstrates how they overlap and are codependent on one another. He says that these larger forces will revolutionize the way people buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other. By understanding and embracing them, says Kelly, it will be easier to remain on top of the coming wave of changes and to arrange our day-to-day relationships with technology in ways that bring forth maximum benefits.

Kelly engages people who seek guidance on where their business, industry, or life is heading—what to invent, where to work, in what to invest, how to better reach customers, and what to begin to put into place—as this new world emerges.

Tue 7/19

Image - National Parks

Redefining National Parks and Family Farms in a Changing Climate

Date: Tue, July 19, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Jordan Fisher Smith, Author, Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight over Controlling Nature
John Hart, Author, Farming on the Edge: Saving Family Farms in Marin County and An Island in Time: 50 Years as Point Reyes National Seashore

How will national parks adapt to volatile climate? Jordan Fisher Smith, a former park and wilderness ranger in the American West, writes about the futile, sometimes fatal, attempts to remake wilderness in the name of preserving it. Tracing a course from the founding of the national parks through the tangled 20th-century growth of the conservationist movement, Smith gives the lie to the portrayal of national parks as Edenic wonderlands unspoiled until the arrival of Europeans, and shows how virtually every attempt to manage nature in the parks has only created cascading effects that require even more management. Now climate change is presenting a new set of challenges to America’s best idea.

Family farms face a comparable and different challenge as they struggle to cope with a changing climate. Can farmers, ranchers and environmentalists come together to protect the environment and food supply as species migrate and weather changes? Join a conversation with two writers about how farms and parks are adapting to their new reality. 

Wed 7/20

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Wed, July 20, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM

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 Commonwealth Club of California

OMG: I Forgot to Plan for a Good Death!

Date: Wed, July 20, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM

Regina Sneed, Advocate, The California End of Life Option Act

The California End of Life Option Act will be effective on June 9, 2016. The speaker will discuss the options people have for dying based on their choices, including the new option of medical aid in dying. People will also have time to discuss what each of us can do to ensure our wishes can be fulfilled for a death with dignity. The audience will be provided with helpful supplemental material and afforded the opportunity to better understand the choices and protections inherent in this important legislation.

Mon 7/25

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, July 25, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM

The Middle East Forum discussion group, which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan, has been meeting for more than eight years. We do not debate; we exchange ideas and opinions. The discussion is considered a perk of membership, but those interested especially, students are welcome to attend.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour 7/25/16

Date: Mon, July 25, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Smart and lively political discussion

Panelists TBA

It's time for a mid-summer night's political dream.

We'll 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).

Thu 7/28

Image - Dr Denise Davis

Race and Relationships in Health Care: Basic Psychology I Didn't Learn in Med School (But Wish I Had)

Date: Thu, July 28, 2016
Time: 5:15 PM

Denise L. Davis, M.D., Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California San Francisco; Fellow, American Academy on Communication in Healthcare

In 2014, health professions students around the country staged White Coats for Black Lives protests, which focused the attention of UCSF and other medical schools on issues of race, power and health. Dr. Davis will discuss the art and science of improving doctor-patient communication that could change the culture of medicine, helping doctors to move beyond "White Coat Silence" on race and power.

Tue 8/2

Image - Paulette Brown

Paulette Brown, President, American Bar Association: Making the Justice System Just

Date: Tue, August 02, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Paulette Brown, President, American Bar Association; Partner/co-chair, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Locke Lord LLP

Paulette Brown is the first woman of color to become president of the ABA and has been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the “50 most influential minority lawyers in America.” She has been a municipal court judge, in addition to focusing on all facets of labor and employment litigation. Brown has devoted her presidency to “rebuilding the nation’s confidence in our justice system” by “working to eliminate bias and enhance diversity and inclusion” and offer “tangible, sustainable solutions that will have a positive impact on the perception of our justice system.”

Join an important discussion of what’s being done to ensure that the legal system can better represent the under-represented across the United States.

Thu 8/4

Image - Waterfront Walking Tour

Waterfront Walking Tour

Date: Thu, August 04, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM

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 tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Wed 8/10

Image - Lorraine Bannai

Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice

Date: Wed, August 10, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Lorraine Bannai, Professor of Lawyering Skills and Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, Seattle University School of Law; Author, Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice

The vulnerability of minority communities has always been a big problem, but it is particularly so when fear exacerbates ignorance. Not long ago, it was Japanese Americans; now it is Muslims. Professor Bannai illuminates this theme through the story of Fred Korematsu, a 22-year-old Oakland welder who refused to comply with orders that led to the incarceration of more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry during World War II. In Korematsu v. United States­, the wartime Supreme Court rejected his challenge to the government in one of its most infamous cases. More than 40 years later, Professor Bannai was part of the legal team that successfully challenged Korematsu's conviction based on proof that the government had falsified the record.

For Korematsu’s courage and for his work warning of the dangers of prejudice, President Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.

Thu 8/11

Is There a Safe Way to Use Geo-Engineering to Address Climate Change?

Date: Thu, August 11, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Learn about the prospects for a dealing with climate disruption

Leslie Field, Ph.D., Founder and President, Ice911 Research; Founder, SmallTech Consulting
Armand Neukermans, Ph.D., Founder, Xros; Author; Inventor

Can geo-engineering help us stave off even more dramatic climate disruption? Dr. Field and Dr. Neudermans will be interviewed by Gerald Harris, chair of The Commonwealth Club's Science & Technology member-led forum. He will inquire about the latest approaches to geo-engineering to address climate change, the need for such work, the risks involved and the potential benefits. Mr. Harris has been consulting to the electric power industry on long-term planning for more 25 years and has been an executive at both Bechtel Engineers and Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

Mon 8/15

Image - Bobby Kennedy

Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon

Date: Mon, August 15, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Larry Tye, Author, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon

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

Nobody was better, half a century ago, at thinking about the biggest solutions for the problems of his age than Bobby, whether that be race riots roiling in cities across America, and especially in California; the war raging in Vietnam; or the general issue of inequality that was dividing people along lines of class, race, gender and generation.

Those issues, of course, are a mirror of those facing the country today, when RFK's message is more resonant than ever. He predicted we'd have a black president almost to the day, when no white politician dreamed of it. He talked about how our problems made us ripe for demagogues, though he'd never met Donald P. Trump but did know George Wallace better than anyone. And he offered ways out of all of that, in compelling enough terms to win the California primary and seem poised for the presidency.

Fri 8/19

Image - Nob Hill

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Fri, August 19, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM

Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills”. Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the west coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford, and other members of the Big Four. Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Stanford Court, and Huntington Hotel. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral, and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.