Photo from The Truth about the Bohemian Grove
Bohemian Club convenes tonight in Monte Rio
By MARY CALLAHAN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Friday, July 11, 2008 at 4:30 a.m.
Some of the nation's most powerful men are gathering for the annual two-week encampment at the Bohemian Grove, which opens tonight.
The super-secret Bohemian Club and its all-male entourage meets each summer in the 2,700-acre Monte Rio grove for what they describe as fellowship and good-natured high jinks -- a break from the grueling grind of leadership.
Critics, who in years past have mounted protests outside the club's gates, say the gatherings serve as strategy sessions for barons of business and politics operating outside democratic institutions.
The Bohemian Club did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Founded in 1872 by five San Francisco men seeking to connect "gentlemen" with art, literature, music and drama, the club's invitation list has included a variety of political, financial, military and industrial leaders.
Among them: Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and both Bushes; former Cabinet members Colin Powell, George Schultz and Henry Kissinger; and industrialists Stephen David Bechtel, Leonard Firestone and David Rockefeller.
Most critics object to the notion of national policy with global implications being discussed behind the gates of an exclusive, closed-door gathering of largely conservative, wealthy white men.
This year's encampment runs through July 27. The traditional Cremation of Care ritual, in which a human effigy representing "dull care" is burned beneath a massive form said to represent the club's owl mascot, will be Saturday night.
Private jet traffic already has picked up at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, said Glenn Barrett, general manager of KaiserAir Santa Rosa Jet Center.
Barrett, who is new to the center, said, "My understanding is that basically these three weeks are pretty much the busiest three weeks of the year."
You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.