San Francisco Events

POSTPONED: Heather Grzych - The Ayurvedic Guide to Fertility (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 6:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

To be or not to be a mother is a question that increasing numbers of women postpone answering until their fertility has diminished. Heather Grzych knows this firsthand. As someone who spent most of her adult life trying not to get pregnant, she grappled with conception in her midthirties but faced many challenges. In the midst of this reckoning, she left her successful corporate life and became one of only a few people in the United States with an advanced degree in Ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurveda, she found a gentle, holistic approach to understanding the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of fertility. She shares that understanding—which led to the birth of her son—in The Ayurvedic Guide to Fertility. She describes optimum health practices, which include diet and lifestyle choices, engagement with the environment, and recognition of one's life history. With insight and personal understanding, she helps women address the fears, blockages, and conflicts that affect reproductive health so that they can activate channels that have been dormant or blocked. In this empathic woman-to-woman guide, Grzych helps readers create the best possible circumstances for conception naturally, holistically, and joyfully.

Heather Grzych is a board-certified Ayurvedic practitioner who bridges the worlds of conventional and alternative medicine to help women and men heal their physical and emotional lives. She is on the board of directors for the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and has consulted with doctors, governments, and insurance companies. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

POSTPONED: Michael Arceneaux - I Don't Want to Die Poor (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - 6:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Ever since Oprah Winfrey told the 2007 graduating class of Howard University, “Don’t be afraid,” Michael Arceneaux has been scared to death. You should never do the opposite of what Oprah instructs you to do, but when you don’t have her pocket change, how can you not be terrified of the consequences of pursuing your dreams?

Michael has never shied away from discussing his struggles with debt, but in I Don’t Want to Die Poor, he reveals the extent to which it has an impact on every facet of his life—how he dates; how he seeks medical care (or in some cases, is unable to); how he wrestles with the question of whether or not he should have chosen a more financially secure path; and finally, how he has dealt with his “dream” turning into an ongoing nightmare as he realizes one bad decision could unravel all that he’s earned. You know, actual “economic anxiety.”

I Don’t Want to Die Poor is an unforgettable and relatable examination about what it’s like leading a life that often feels out of your control. But in Michael’s voice that’s “as joyful as he is shrewd” (BuzzFeed), these razor-sharp essays will still manage to make you laugh and remind you that you’re not alone in this often intimidating journey.

Michael Arceneaux is the New York Times bestselling author of I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Esquire, Ebony, Elle, Rolling Stone, and many other publications on and off Al Gore’s internet. He’s ran his mouth on MSNBC, NPR, VH1, Viceland, Comedy Central, SiriusXM, and elsewhere. His second book is I Don’t Want to Die Poor. He’s working very hard to avoid such a fate. 

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

POSTPONED: Sam Lansky - Broken People (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - 6:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

"He fixes everything that's wrong with you in three days."

This is what hooks Sam when he first overhears it at a fancy dinner party in the Hollywood hills: the story of a globe-trotting shaman who claims to perform "open-soul surgery" on emotionally damaged people. For neurotic, depressed Sam, new to Los Angeles after his life in New York imploded, the possibility of total transformation is utterly tantalizing. He's desperate for something to believe in, and the shaman—who promises ancient rituals, plant medicine and encounters with the divine—seems convincing, enough for Sam to sign up for a weekend under his care.

But are the great spirits the shaman says he's summoning real at all? Or are the ghosts in Sam's memory more powerful than any magic?

At turns tender and acidic, funny and wise, Broken People is a journey into the nature of truth and fiction--a story of discovering hope amid cynicism, intimacy within chaos and peace in our own skin.

Sam Lansky is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir The Gilded Razor and the West Coast editor at Time magazine. He’s written for New York magazine, The Atlantic, Esquire, and Out. He lives in Los Angeles, California. Read more at samlansky.com.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

POSTPONED: Jennie Englund - Taylor Before and After (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 6:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Before, Taylor Harper is finally popular, sitting with the cool kids at lunch, and maybe, just maybe, getting invited to the biggest, most exclusive party of the year.

After, no one talks to her.

Before, she’s friends with Brielle Branson, the coolest girl in school.

After, Brielle has become a bully, and Taylor’s her favorite target.

Before, home isn’t perfect, but at least her family is together.

After, Mom won’t get out of bed, Dad won’t stop yelling, and Eli...Eli’s gone.

Through everything, Taylor has her notebook, a diary of the year that one fatal accident tears her life apart. In entries alternating between the first and second semester of her eighth-grade year, she navigates joy and grief, gain and loss, hope and depression. How can Taylor pick up the pieces of what used to be her social life? How can her house ever feel like home again after everything that’s happened? And how can she move forward if she can’t stop looking back?

Jennie Englund began Taylor Before and After, her first book, during her time as a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow in Hawaii. She lives in Oregon, where she works as a teacher.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

POSTPONED: Sasha Abramsky - Little Wonder: The Fabulous Story of Lottie Dod, the World's First Female Sports Superstar (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - 6:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Little Wonder: The Fabulous Story of Lottie Dod, the World's First Female Sports Superstar is a biography of a truly extraordinary sports figure who blazed trails of glory in the last decades of the nineteenth and first decade of the twentieth centuries. Dod was the third woman to win the Ladies' Championships at the Wimbledon tennis tournament. She did so for the first time in 1887, at the ludicrously young age of fifteen. She remains today the youngest person ever to have won a singles trophy in what would come to be known as the big-four Grand Slam tennis tournaments.

Dod won Wimbledon five times, grew bored with competitive tennis, and moved on to myriad other sports. She became the world's leading female ice skater and tobogganist, perfecting her talents in St. Moritz, Switzerland; befriended Elizabeth Main, the most skilled female mountaineer of the age, and joined her in summiting many of Switzerland's and Norway's most difficult mountains; became an endurance bicyclist; played hockey for England; won the British ladies' golf championship in 1904; and finally, in 1908, took the Olympic silver medal in archery in the London Olympics.

In her time, she had a huge following, with fans coming out by the thousands to cheer her on. She was feted by the media, and repeatedly profiled by the top sports journals of the day. Had Dod lived in a different age, this fame would have followed her throughout her life. But Dod's years of glory occurred just before the rise of cinema, radio, and other electronic media. By the outset of World War I, she was largely a forgotten figure; she died alone and without fanfare in 1960.

Little Wonder brings this remarkable woman's story to life, contextualizing it against a backdrop of rapid social change and tectonic shifts in the status of women in society. Dod was born into a world in which even upper-class women such as herself could not vote, were restricted in owning property, and were assumed to be fragile and delicate. True, the monarch was a queen, Victoria; but Victoria's reign was hardly a bastion of feminist progress. Women of Lottie Dod's class were expected not to work and to definitely get married. Dod turned that equation on its head; she never married and never had children, instead putting heart and soul into training to be the best athlete she could possibly be.

Dod was one of the pioneers who paved the way for the likes of Billie Jean King, Serena Williams, and the top female athletes of today. She accepted no limits, no glass ceilings, believed she could compete with the top men in whatever sport she set her sights on, and always refused to compromise.

Sasha Abramsky is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared over the past twenty-five years in major newspapers and magazines in the United States and United Kingdom. These include the Nation, the Atlantic, the New Yorker online, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Independent, the Observer, and the New Statesman. He has written widely about poverty and inequality; hunger; mass incarceration; the treatment of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers; along with book reviews, cultural essays, and travel writing. Little Wonder is Abramsky’s ninth book. He teaches writing part-time at the University of California, Davis, and lives in Sacramento with his wife and two children.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

POSTPONED: Anne Evers Hitz - Lost Department Stores of San Francisco (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Saturday, April 18, 2020 - 3:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

In the late nineteenth century, San Francisco's merchant princes built grand stores for a booming city, each with its own niche. For the eager clientele, a trip downtown meant dressing up—hats, gloves and stockings required—and going to Blum's for Coffee Crunch cake or Townsend's for creamed spinach. The I. Magnin empire catered to a selective upper-class clientele, while middle-class shoppers loved the Emporium department store with its Bargain Basement and Santa for the kids. Gump's defined good taste, the City of Paris satisfied desires for anything French and edgy, youth-oriented Joseph Magnin ensnared the younger shoppers with the latest trends. Lost Department Stores of San Francisco looks back at the colorful personalities that created six major stores and defined shopping in San Francisco.

Anne Evers Hitz is a fifth-generation San Franciscan and a great-great-granddaughter of one of the Emporium department store's founders, F.W. Dohrmann. She is the author of Emporium Department Store and San Francisco's Ferry Building. A graduate of UC-Berkeley, Hitz is a writer, editor and project manager who has had her own communications consulting firm in San Francisco for more than twenty-five years. She is a guide for SF City Guides, a group of local volunteers who give free walking tours of San Francisco.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

POSTPONED: Breanne Fahs with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Burn It Down! (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Friday, April 10, 2020 - 12:30pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

In coversation with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

In this landmark collection spanning three centuries and four waves of feminist activism and writing, Burn It Down! is a testament to what is possible when women are driven to the edge. The manifesto—raging and wanting, quarreling and provoking—has always played a central role in feminism, and it’s the angry, brash feminism we need now.

Collecting over seventy-five manifestos from around the world, Burn It Down! is a rallying cry and a call to action. Among this confrontational sisterhood, you’ll find

  • “Dyke Manifesto” by the Lesbian Avengers
  • “The Ax Tampax Poem Feministo” by the Bloodsisters Project
  • “The Manifesto of Apocalyptic Witchcraft” by Peter Grey
  • Simone de Beauvoir’s pro-abortion Manifesto of the 343
  • “Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female” by Frances M. Beal
  • “The Futurist Manifesto of Lust” by Valentine de Saint-Point
  • “Zapatista Women’s Revolutionary Laws”
  • “Riot Grrrl Manifesto” by Bikini Kill
  • “Anarchy and the Sex Question” by Emma Goldman

Breanne Fahs argues that we need manifestos in all their urgent rawness—their insistence that we have to act now, that we must face this, that the bleeding edge of rage and defiance ignites new and revolutionary possibilities is where new ideas are born.

Breanne Fahs is Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University. She is the author of Performing Sex, Valerie Solanas, Out for Blood, and Firebrand Feminism, and co-editor of The Moral Panics of Sexuality and Transforming Contagion. She is the founder and director of the Feminist Research on Gender and Sexuality Group at Arizona State University, and also works as a clinical psychologist.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a historian, writer, and professor emeritus in Ethic Studies at California State University. She is the author or editor of fifteen books, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico and the literary memoir trilogy: Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie; Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975; and Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, and her award winning 2014 book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. Her most recent book is Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. Forthcoming is a book on the US claim to be “a nation of immigrants.”

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

POSTPONED: Alka Joshi with Tom Barbash - The Henna Artist (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 6:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

In conversation with Tom Barbash

Escaping from an arranged and abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone from her 1950s rural village to the vibrant pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the henna artist—and confidante—most in demand to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own...

Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.

Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman's struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.

Alka Joshi is a graduate of Stanford University and received her M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts. She has worked as an advertising copywriter, a marketing consultant, and an illustrator. Alka was born in India, in the state of Rajasthan. Her family came to the United States when she was nine, and she now lives on California's Monterey Peninsula with her husband and two misbehaving pups. The Henna Artist is her first novel. Visit her website and blog at thehennaartist.com.

Tom Barbash is the author of three books as well as numerous reviews, stories, essays, and articles for publications. His short story collection, Stay Up With Me, was nominated for the Folio Prize, and was picked as a Best Book of the Year by NPR and the San Francisco Chronicle, and was a San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller and a New York Times Editor’s Choice. His novel, The Last Good Chance, was awarded The California Book Award, was a Publishers Weekly and Anniston Star Best Book of the Year, and was short listed for the Great Lakes Book Prize and the Saroyan International Prize. His most recent book is The Dakota Winters.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

POSTPONED: Dennis Portnoy - The Intrinsic Self (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 6:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

What if everything you’ve been telling yourself about being caring, successful and productive contributes to your unhappiness and self-defeating habits? 

In the Intrinsic Self: How Defining yourself and your Worth by your Achievements and Usefulness is Undermining your Happiness and Serenity, psychotherapist Dennis Portnoy discusses how the very qualities that have contributed to our success often lies at the heart of our emotional distress and struggles. 

Beyond simply increasing self-esteem, you learn to break free from a self-concept based primarily on performance and usefulness to others.

Dennis Portnoy is a psychotherapist in private practice for over thirty years. Dennis gives presentations and conducts workshops on the topic of self-care, burnout and compassion fatigue as it relates to people in helping roles. He has published articles in Hospital Magazine and Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care, and is also the author of Over-Extended and Undernourished: A Self-care Guide for People in Helping Roles.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

POSTPONED: Left Coast Writers®: Sheldon Greene - Waiting for the Messiah (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Monday, March 9, 2020 - 6:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Left Coast Writers® Event!

When the Bolton Jewish Community converts a disused retirement home into a boarding school and hires a Russian refugee to direct it and the retirees as staff, the small town of Bolton, Pennsylvania celebrates the change. But when the director admits a Palestinian boy, schedules Palestine National Day and a fundraiser for a Catholic homeless shelter, the family that endowed the retirement home fifty years earlier sues to regain their trust fund. This action sets in motion a series of events that results in the notion that the school director might be Jesus Christ himself. But is he? Waiting for the Messiah, the sequel to the critically-acclaimed novel Lost and Found, is a modern-day imagining of the second coming of Christ to a small Jewish community. Full of warmth, humor and the celebration of the extraordinary in the ordinary, it appeals to the faithful of all religions and iconoclasts alike.

Of Sheldon Greene's six novels, five draw strongly upon his experience with and knowledge of the Jewish faith. Ranging from fact-based history to flights of imagination, he uses his novels to explore such subjects as Jews in the American Revolution, Jewish influence on pre-Colombian culture, the Israeli War of Independence, and the impact of the Holocaust on creativity. Greene was appointed Warden of Insurance of the State of Ohio at age 23. A public interest lawyer, he pursued seminal issues—such as the United States' flawed health delivery system, the impact of illegal immigration on the economy, renewable energy, and public land policies—decades before they achieved national attention. He was a participant in the first Obama national policy team for both immigration and energy. He was one of the founders of the New Israel Fund and helped formulate its unique structure, drawing on his experience as General Counsel of California Rural Legal Assistance. He is an executive in a wind energy development company and has been actively engaged in renewable energy for over 25 years. He advocates the formulation of a God concept derived from the life process, stripped of anachronistic anthropomorphic characteristics. He has developed personal guidelines for a balanced, seamless life with spiritual, intellectual, social, and creative dimensions.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

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