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The JCCSF Announces Events For Its Arts & Ideas 2019-20 Season

The JCCSF Announces Events For Its Arts & Ideas 2019-20 Season

Today, the JCCSF announced a collection of events for the Arts & Ideas 2019-20 season, which will feature music icons, world class authors and poets, and inspiring entrepreneurs.

To kick off the Arts & Ideas lineup, the JCCSF will welcome Ben Folds as he takes to the stage to share stories from his prolific career in the music industry. Other highlights include author Heather Morris, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, New York Times' "The Daily" host Michael Barbaro, "Shrill" creator Lindy West, and U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. The lineup will continue to expand as additional events are announced.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 30 at 12 p.m. and may be purchased online at, by phone at 415.292.1233, or in person at 3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94118.

Ben Folds

A Dream About Lightning Bugs
Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $35, $65*
*includes a copy of "A Dream About Lightning Bugs"
Ben Folds is widely considered one of the major music influencers today. From cult hits like "Brick" and "You Don't Know Me," he's created a body of genre-bending music that includes pop albums with Ben Folds Five, solo albums, and collaborative records. In his new book, "A Dream About Lightning Bugs," he reflects on his life so far, imparting hard-earned wisdom about art and life. Audiences will hear how he found his inimitable voice as a musician and about the experiences that shaped him to become a modern rock anti-hero.

A New Year of Jewish Flavors
With Einat Admony, Leah Koenig, and Adeena Sussman
Thursday, September 19 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: To be announced
Get inspired for the Jewish New Year as we celebrate the tableau of flavors that Israeli and Jewish food in the diaspora have to offer with Einat Admony, Leah Koenig and Adeena Sussman. Einat, an Israeli living in New York, is the author of "Shuk: From Market to Table, the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking." Leah is the author of "The Jewish Cookbook," a celebration of the diversity and breadth of contemporary global Jewish cuisine. Adeena, an American living in Israel, is the author of "Sababa: Fresh Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen." They'll discuss the complex nuances of Jewish food and culture, with roots in Persia, Yemen, Libya, the Balkans, the Levant and all the regions that contribute to the evolving food scene in Israel and the diaspora. Rabbi Zac Kamenetz moderates this lively conversation.

A Survival Kit for 21st Century Jews
An Unorthodox Live Podcast Recording with Bari Weiss
Monday, September 23, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $20
Since its debut in 2015, Tablet magazine's "Unorthodox" has become one of the most popular and beloved Jewish podcasts in the world. Join hosts Stephanie Butnick, Liel Leibovitz and Mark Oppenheimer, co-authors of "The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia," for a special live recording that focuses on anti-Semitism today and what Jews-and their friends-need to know about it. Special guests include Bari Weiss, New York Times Op-Ed staff editor and writer, and author of "How to Fight Anti-Semitism."

An Evening with Graciela Iturbide
Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $20
Throughout her long and varied career, photographer Graciela Iturbide has focused on capturing and understanding the beauty, rituals, challenges and contradictions of her native Mexico. Her photographs tell a visual story of Mexico since the late 1970s-a country in constant transition, defined by the coexistence of the historical and modern, and its rich amalgamation of cultures. For Iturbide, photography is a way of life and a way of revealing Mexico's complexities through her personal explorations. Join us for this special evening with one of the most influential photographers active in Latin America as she reflects on her career and how she makes visible what, to many, is invisible.

Carl Zimmer on Heredity
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $30-$40
Heredity isn't just about genes that pass from parent to child, argues acclaimed science journalist Carl Zimmer. We also inherit other things that matter as much-or more-to our lives, from microbes to technologies we use to make life more comfortable. Weaving original reporting with historical context and his own experiences as the father of two daughters, Zimmer calls for a radically new definition of heredity. For one night only, the original thinker takes audiences on a journey of discovery about who we are, where we came from, and what we can pass on to future generations.

Gail Collins on Women of a Certain Age
Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $30-$40
Women and aging: as subjects go, it's a combination akin to oil and water-or maybe oil and a lit match. The JCCSF welcomes celebrated New York Times columnist Gail Collins as she explores how attitudes toward older women have shifted in America over the centuries - from the Plymouth Colony view that women were marriageable if "civil and under fifty years of age," to quiet dismissal of post-reproductive females, to woman's role as perpetual caretaker (even when she might need caretaking herself), to the first female nominee for president. Guests will hear why women can, and should, expect the best of their golden years.

The Daily's Michael Barbaro
Monday, October 28, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $35-$55
State surveillance in China. The bitter power struggle within the NRA. Using genealogy websites to fight crime. "The Daily"-a five-days-a-week podcast from the New York Times, hosted by Michael Barbaro - delves deeply into a fresh topic each episode, and listeners can't get enough. In 2018, "The Daily" became the most-downloaded show on Apple Podcasts and was named a top podcast of the year by New York Magazine and the Atlantic. In 2017, the show won a DuPont-Columbia University Award for audio excellence and in early 2019 was nominated for a Peabody Award. The JCCSF will welcome Barbaro for one-night-only, to share behind-the-scenes insight and how he and his team create "The Daily."

Anand Giridharadas
Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $45-$55
Today's elites are some of the more socially concerned individuals in history. Yet, according to journalist and writer Anand Giridharadas ("Winners Take All"), while their philanthropic missions may attempt to reform the root causes of unjust systems, many elite initiatives serve only to maintain the very power structures they claim they want to fix. So, who really benefits? To what extent are the elite working to create real progress and systemic change for people and communities? The JCCSF welcomes Giridharadas for an in-depth discussion on elite leaders and how communities might work together to create a more participatory democracy.

Saeed Jones
How We Fight for Our Lives
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $25
The JCCSF hosts poet Saeed Jones, author of the celebrated Prelude to a Bruise, as he reads from his new memoir, "How We Fight for Our Lives," an unforgettable coming-of-age story of a bookish, black, gay teen from Texas as he learns to see himself and his dreams-and learns how his world sees him. Blending poetry and prose, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence-into tumultuous relationships with his mother and grandmother, into passing flings with lovers, friends and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another-and to one another-as we fight to become ourselves.

Heather Morris
Cilka's Journey
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $30
New Zealand-born Heather Morris wrote her debut novel, "The Tattooist of Auschwitz," after meeting Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who survived the Holocaust as a prisoner at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he served as a tattooist. The novel became one of last year's biggest bestsellers, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller and international bestseller lists, selling millions of copies worldwide and becoming one of the most commercially successful Holocaust stories in recent memory. Now Morris returns with "Cilka's Journey," based on a real-life character introduced to readers of "Tattooist." "Cilka's Journey" follows the story of Cilka, who became the Commandant's concubine and was later sent to a Siberian Gulag where she was sentenced to years of hard labor. Guests will hear what inspired Morris to return to this world, however painful, and learn how she approaches writing fiction about one of the most difficult chapters of human history.

Acid for the Children
Friday, November 8 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $75-$95
The JCCSF will welcome Los Angeles street rat turned world-famous rock star Flea, the iconic bassist and co-founder of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as he tells his fascinating origin story, complete with dizzying highs and gutter lows. In his new book, "Acid for the Children," Flea offers a deeply personal and revealing tour of his formative years, spanning Australia, the New York City suburbs and, finally, Los Angeles. Hear about the experiences that forged him as an artist, a musician and a young man, and explore the gritty, glorious life of LA in the 1970s and '80s, bursting with potential for fun, danger, mayhem and inspiration around every corner. It is here that young Flea, hoping to escape a turbulent home, found family in a community of musicians, artists and junkies who also lived on the fringe. He spent most of his time partying and committing petty crimes. But it was in music where he found a place to channel his frustration, loneliness and love. This left him open to the life-changing moment when he and his soul brother and partner-in-mischief came up with the idea to start their own band.

Portland Cello Project Presents
Purple Reign
Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $35
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the genius and power of Prince. Portland's premier alt-classical group Portland Cello Project returns to the JCCSF to pay tribute to one of the most talented rock stars of all time. The cellists marry their deep textures to the harmonic landscape of Prince's catalog, while also paying tribute to music influenced by The Purple One. An undertaking of this kind is hardly surprising from a group that can bounce from Bach to Beck without missing a beat. This one-of-a-kind performance also features special guest artists and the unique adaptations that have made Portland Cello Project so beloved.

Dr. Azra Raza
Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $30-$40
We have lost the war on cancer. We spend $150 billion each year treating it, yet a patient with cancer is as likely to die of it today as one was fifty years ago. Why has so little progress been made in diagnosing and treating cancer over the past few decades? How can physicians, researchers and patients advocate for more effective research and humane treatments? The JCCSF presents a conversation with Dr. Azra Raza, world-class oncologist and author of "The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last." She will share her deeply personal examination of cancer and learn how we can - and must - do better.

"Shrill's" Lindy West
The Witches are Coming
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $40
Firebrand New York Times columnist and author of the critically acclaimed memoir and Hulu TV series "Shrill," Lindy West comes to the JCCSF to provide an incisive, laugh-out-loud cultural critique that answers the fundamental question of this hellish political moment-how did we get here?-by dissecting the films, television series, internet phenomena and lifestyle gurus that have taught us who we are. In order to build a just and livable future, West says, we need to break apart the myths we've been telling ourselves about ourselves (and each other) for generations, then reckon with all the dark truths we've long left unexamined. At once side-splittingly funny and irresistibly thought-provoking, West's latest book of essays "The Witches Are Coming" gives us all the kindling we need to burn our restrictive and outdated social norms to the ground.

Abby Stein
From Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 12 p.m.
Tickets: FREE
A direct descendant of the Baal Shem Tov-regarded as the founder of Hasidic Judaism-Abby Stein was born and raised in a Hasidic enclave in Williamsburg, where she also attended yeshiva and completed a rabbinical degree in 2011. The following year, she left the Hasidic world when she came out as a woman of trans experience. The JCCSF welcomes Stein as she shares her personal journey as a Jewish educator, writer, speaker and activist. Audiences will learn how she works to build awareness and support of trans rights and those leaving ultra-orthodoxy.

Girls Who Run the World
With Diana Kapp, Robyn Sue Fisher, Jane Marie Chen and Tina Sharkey
Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 5 p.m.
Tickets: $20
In a special event for future entrepreneurs (ages 12 and up), the JCCSF welcomes three bold businesswomen who are changing the rules and shaping a supportive business environment for women entrepreneurs. Robyn Sue Fisher (Smitten Ice Cream), Jane Marie Chen (Embrace) and Tina Sharkey (Brandless) offer an engaging look at how they turned their creative ideas into winning companies while breaking down barriers. The discussion will be moderated by Diana Kapp, author of the new woman-to-woman playbook "Girls Who Run the World: 31 CEOs Who Mean Business."

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $25
The JCCSF presents U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, a member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation, who made history this year when she became the first Native American poet to hold the honor. Harjo has championed the art of poetry-"soul talk," as she calls it-for over four decades. To her, poems are "carriers of dreams, knowledge and wisdom," and through them, she tells an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.

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