posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 02:46 PM
I have been waiting for this special time of year, when the Grove holds its annual meeting, to share with ATS what I know about the Bohemians. It
is not all-inclusive, and sadly not as tantalizing as some would hope. Really, it’s mostly an account of rich guys getting their drink on. I will
dispense with the history lesson and conspiracy review, and simply add what I know firsthand about the Grove.
To begin: I am not a member of the Bohemian Grove. I haven’t attended any grove functions. I was however, a contractor for the Bohemian Grove,
with full access to the entire grove during much of the year. This gave me plenty of time to snoop around. I have been inside the Bohemian Club in
San Francisco briefly as well. One of my coworkers was a member of the club (which is how we got the contract in the first place) and much of what I
relate to you is from discussions with him. I grilled the guy about a ton of things relating to the Grove…even got his views on past scandals and
conspiracies. This is the culmination of what I know to be true about the Bohemian Club.
How does one become a Bohemian?
It all starts with who you know.
In order to become a Bohemian, you must be recommended by an existing member. Once approved, your name sits on a waiting list for years (My friend
waited about 10 years), some report are even longer. There are also some memberships offered to outsiders as well. Generally they are artists and
singers and men who can contribute culturally to the Grove’s functions. For example, Jimmy Buffet & Clint Eastwood are Bohemians. Also regular
members can pay reduced dues if they regularly participate in plays and other formal entertainment.
Finally when your time comes there is an initiation fee in the neighborhood of $10,000, and a monthly recurring fee (sorry I can’t remember this
figure…something like $200 feels about right) until you die. Yes, this is nothing for the folks who frequent Bohemian Grove (Some golf club
memberships can run 100K!) but it’s not the money that keeps out the riff-raff anyway.
So now you’re a Bohemian, right? Not really. You have yet to join a camp. New members are encouraged to “sleep around” for a year or two at
the Grove. And yes, that is Grove speak! They stay with different camps, meeting the people and getting a feel for where they want to be. Once you
choose a camp, that’s your camp for life.
Within the Bohemian Grove there are something like 119 different camps. Each camp has it’s own flavor and style, as well as fees. A blueblood
old-money camp has private caterers & servants. These camps have cabins with all the amenities you could imagine. These camps cost thousands of
dollars a year to be a member…if they’ll have you. On the other end of the spectrum, there are camps that bring tents and eat at the common mess
area each meal. They might only cost you fifty or a hundred bucks each month (on top of your monthly general club dues).
Now you’re a Bohemian…What’s the point?
You are now a member of a very select and influential group that includes some of the men that run the world. This has some obvious perks. Being in a
lifetime fraternity with heads of state and corporate players can have some very favorable consequences after the encampment for sure. But to many of
these men, more than that, is the sense of inclusiveness and bonding that come with being a Bohemian. They revel in drinking and playing and
sarcastic banter. They take pride in pissing freely in the woods. They treasure the time in the grove with their brothers as sacred, really. It’s
an NC-17 lifetime Boy Scout club for men. No joke is too vulgar, no topic too taboo to make light of. It’s the one place these folks can truly let
go and be “regular guys”.
Club members also have year round access to the Grove for vacations. Only during the annual meeting and spring jinx are the Men Only rules in force.