BOHEMIAN GROVE GATHERS AGAIN
ADAIR LARA, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - On Saturday, some 2,000 CEOs and politicos and arty types arrived at the cool redwoods and lily-choked lake of the Grove, the famous Russian River playground of the powerful Bohemian Club. . . [Those] who have "given a Lakeside" include Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, George H.W. Bush and Michel Rocard, former prime minister of France.
Nelson Rockefeller gave up a run for the presidency after his speech failed to move his fellow campers. And this is where, according to van der Zee and many other published sources, Bush asked Cheney to be his running mate in 2000, where Nixon advised Ronald Reagan to stay out of the coming presidential race in 1967, where Edward Teller and others in the Manhattan Project mapped out the atomic bomb in the autumn of 1942.
On Saturday, some 2,000 CEOs and politicos and arty types arrived at the cool redwoods and lily-choked lake of the Grove, the famous Russian River playground of the powerful Bohemian Club. . . The Bohemian Club, a beguiling mix of ultra-power hangout and high school play, is one of several elite private clubs in San Francisco, curious islands of conservatism amid a forest of Kerry for President signs. . .
There are 125 different camps -- Toyland, Dog House, Sons of Toil, etc. George H.W. Bush will be in Hill Billies, along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. . .
Every year at the Grove, a freshly written play with a cast of hundreds is performed the last Sunday of the retreat. "We know in advance that the hero will be a king or commander adored by his men, and that he will see his duty and do it," said Healdsburg author van der Zee of what he calls "these lumbering pageants."
One year, San Francisco novelist Herb Gold said he was offered an associate membership if he would help write the Grove play. Gold took fellow writer Earnest Gaines ("A Lesson Before Dying"), an African American, to a Wednesday night entertainment at the six-story downtown club. Five members, he said, were in blackface. One member clapped Gaines on the back. "Looks like you've played a little football," Gold heard him say. Shortly thereafter, the writers took their leave. "I guess I'm not clubbable," Gold said wryly. . .
Privately, [Richard Nixon] said to John Ehrlichman and Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman (and the hidden tape recorder) in the Oval Office that May: "The Bohemian Grove, which I attend from time to time -- it is the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine, with that San Francisco crowd. I can't shake hands with anybody from San Francisco.". . .
Nelson Rockefeller gave up a run for the presidency after his speech failed to move his fellow campers. And this is where, according to van der Zee and many other published sources, Bush asked Cheney to be his running mate in 2000, where Nixon advised Ronald Reagan to stay out of the coming presidential race in 1967, where Edward Teller and others in the Manhattan Project mapped out the atomic bomb in the autumn of 1942. . .
The late John Ehrlichman, domestic affairs adviser under Nixon and a guest at the Grove, once told a reporter, "Once you've spent three days with someone in an informal situation, you have a relationship -- a relationship that opens doors and makes it easier to pick up the phone."
(This is reportedly called the "Mandalay effect," after the camp where the Bechtels stay, along with Kissinger, Colin Powell and our own George Shultz.)
Women don't get to experience the Mandalay effect because they aren't allowed in, except on certain family weekends, and then they must be off the grounds by dusk. It's not clear what will happen to them if they're not. Maybe it has never happened. "Periodically a wife makes noise, and then it dies down," Hoffman said.
Membership: 2,700 (1 member per acre)
Waiting list: 3,000
Average number of years on waiting list: 15 to 20
Slogan: "Weaving Spiders Come Not Here."
Books to read about it: "The Bohemian Grove" by G. William Domhoff and "The Greatest Men's Party on Earth" by John van der Zee.
Accept minorities: Yes, especially if they can play an instrument.
Best place to spy: Put your canoe in the Russian River at Northwood, just west of Johnson's Beach in Guerneville, and head downstream past their floating boathouse. The Bohemians couldn't buy the whole river. One suspects they are irked by this fact.
THE SOCIOLOGY OF BOHEMIAN GROVE
PETER PHILLIPS, COUNTERPUNCH, 2003 - The collective corporate stock ownership by members and guests conservatively exceeds $100 billion.
During the summer of 2003 the men at the Bohemian Grove heard off-the-record presentations -no media is allowed - from William F. Buckley Jr., William Safire, Charles Murray, George Shultz, Michael York and Charlie Rose. Additionally, there were daily lectures from world-class experts on global warming, war policy, school vouchers, mad deer disease, horse racing, stem cell research, terrorism, American-Russian relations, and marine ecosystem. Concerts, plays, and daily parties rounded out the two-week session for 2003.
On June 4, 1994 a presentation at the Grove from a University of California Berkeley professor stressed that, elites are important and must set the values for society that are translated into "standards of authority," and that elites cannot allow the "unqualified masses" to carry out policy. The speech was given an enthusiastic standing ovation by the over 1,000 men present and seemed to represent the feelings of many club members.
PHILIPS DISSERTATION ON THE BOHEMIAN CLUB
INDEX OF BOHEMIAN GROVE REPORTING
BOHEMIAN GROVE SITE
In 1989, Malcolm Forbes and Caspar Weinberger traveled to the Grove on Forbes' jet, which had Forbes' motto, "Capitalist Tool" printed on its tail.
COUNTERPUNCH, 2001 - Some years ago a gay writer called Ron Bluestein described his stint waitering at the Grove in a very funny pamphlet, "A Waitress in Bohemia," in which he evoked the below-the-stairs homosexual culture fostered by a workforce mostly recruited from San Francisco. Some anthropologists of Boho culture even believe that the Grove is now encircled with gay residential suburbs that have inevitably sprung up to accommodate these migrants.
Informed sources discount these stories somewhat. Of course there are gay waiters and gay bohemians too, discreetly cruising River Road, but it seems that it was back in the 1970s things got somewhat out of hand. The Club took certain measures and things are now under control.
Along with its most definitely closet contingent, the club also has about 2,000 heterosexuals cooped up for the summer retreat, with no women officially on the premises except for a daily minibus of female cleaners -- the consequence of a lawsuit brought by feminists a few years ago -- which can go no farther into the Grove than the Camp Fire circle, 400 yards from the Main Gate. Randy members break bounds and head for such straight cruising spots as the Northwood Lodge and Country Club where vigorously bejeweled women in their thirties are to be found
A few years ago KGO radio, out of San Francisco, had an interesting talk show in which callers with first-hand Grove experience told their tales. A man from Monte Rio said he was only one of several towns-people renting cabins every year to prostitutes traveling from as far as Las Vegas to renew the Bohos' spiritual fibers. He said it was a big shot in the arm for Monte Rio's ailing economy. This same caller moved from shots in the arm to shots in another location. He said he stocked his cabins with plenty of booze as well as syringes of a potency drug recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration which furnishes four to six-hour erections.