Aug. 7, 1933
Unique among U. S. clubs is San Francisco's talented and hilarious Bohemian, unique its famed camp 80 mi. north of San Francisco, a 30,000-acre grove of virgin redwoods on the banks of the Russian River. Founded 50 years ago by western artists and art-patrons, it has" about 1,500 members throughout the world, meets every week. The Bohemian is the only club in the world to exchange with New York's Lambs, includes such famed artists as Ignace Jan Paderewski, Fritz Kreisler, Lawrence Tibbett. Artist members pay no dues, contribute their artistic efforts instead. Last fortnight the Bohemians began their annual midsummer encampment and festival, called the "Jinks," at their redwood camp, Bohemian Grove.
Unlike its regular musicales, the "Jinks" are held in secret and the guest list is limited. The festival is a series of musical entertainments, beginning with the ceremonious "Burial of Dull Care," ending with the "High Jinks" a musical play composed, staged, sung by members. Though the "High Jinks" are the climax of the festival, many members consider the "Burial of Dull Care" the most impressively beautiful ceremony. While the moon splashes ghostly shadows through the grove, a funeral procession moves under redwood branches huge as an oaktree's bole, carrying along the effigy of "Dull Care," playing slow music. Hidden voices chant from the shadowy hillsides. The procession halts before the sacrificial "Altar of the Owl," solemnly buries the effigy as the music dies away.
Last week-end Bohemian Grove celebrated its "High Jinks." The 32nd annual play, The Legend of Hani, based on an Indian myth, was written by Playwright Julius Cravens, set to music by Henry Hadley, onetime conductor of the Manhattan Symphony Orchestra. It relates the efforts of the first man, Hani, after creation of the world by the Sun-Father and Moon-Mother, to subdue the other creatures of earth and find Tala, his predestined mate.
Under the redwoods 1,200 Bohemians (including Herbert Clark Hoover) & guests sat on rough-hewn logs for the first & last production of The Legend of Hani in one of the Grove's two open air theatres. While Composer Hadley conducted the orchestra through his own score, Bohemians heard Baritone John Charles Thomas of the Metropolitan Opera sing the title role.
Origin of the Grove plays goes back to one Joseph D. Redding, San Francisco attorney who died last year. He proposed and wrote the first play, The Man of the Forest. In 1911 his Natoma was set to music by Victor Herbert, produced in Philadelphia with Mary Garden and John McCormack.' The best western composers have contributed scores for the Grove plays and Bohemians aver that much beautiful music is thereby lost to the world, as the plays are seldom given public performance.