Sunday, September 4, 2011
The Bohemian Club
Hampton Sides has a very interesting chapter on the Bohemian Club. It was a San Francisco club that started in 1872 and included such early luminaries like John Muir, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, and Jack London, but became supplanted by local conservative tycoons who turned it into a redoubt for the Republican Party.
According to this amusing Vanity Fair article, dated 2009, it has essentially become a pissing contest, although the question now is whether the club is leasing logging rights to the old growth redwoods on their 2700-acre private reserve known as Bohemian Grove. It wouldn't be much of a surprise, given the disregard conservatives have for the environment. What is amazing is their need for a pristine retreat like this, but I suppose it gives them a sequestered place to go through male bonding rituals like the "Cremation of Care."
At the center of the Grove is a huge concrete statue of an owl, which judging by this picture has seen better days. I suppose it gives some sense of age to the place, if the 3000 year-old Redwoods weren't enough. The Grove appears relatively easy to infiltrate. There have been any number of accounts written up over the years, with Kerry Richardson being the most obsessed tracker of the many distinguished visitors in his ongoing journal.