Unknown (except to those in-the-know) as the "greatest men's club in the world" (President Herbert Hoover's words), Bohemian Grove occupies 2,700 acres of Californian redwoods along the Russian River, sixty-five miles north of San Francisco.
The bigwigs come mostly for a good ol' time -- a fraternity party for men of middle-to-old-age from mid-July through early August.
To set the stage, they even enact an opening ritual for unburdening themselves of everyday concerns.
"Be-gone Dull Care!" grown men chant around a bonfire. "Midsummer sets us free!"
Then they toss an effigy named Dull Care upon the fire to symbolize their freedom.
After that, powerbrokers like David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger consider themselves free to quaff martinis at ten in the morning and walk around in pajamas or bath robes all day long.
If they need to take a whiz, they pee on a tree.
The grove is divided into 128 small camps of 20-30 members -- camps with names like Wild Oats, Woof, and Toyland.
One camp, Poison Oak, throws an annual bulls balls luncheon, courtesy of a cattle baron who brings a stash of choice testicles.
Those Bohemians who can still get it up "cross the river," a secret code for leaving the compound and taking their love to town.
There are two such nearby towns where lustful release from dull care awaits: Guerneville and Monte Rio.
The inns and motels of both swell with high-class hookers from Nevada for the midsummer trade.
Something about the air in the redwoods. Or the guarded privacy. Or the bulls balls. Or all three combined.
The Bohemian brotherhood is about bonding (especially for those who cross the river).
Even Tricky Dick Nixon, who couldn't bond with anyone, bonded with the Bohemians.
He, like every other Republican president of the 20th century, confided his up-coming candidacies to the Bohemians before going public.
Back to Ronald Reagan, who surrounded himself at the White House with the Brotherhood Boys: George Shultz, Caspar Weinberger, James Baker, Donald Regan, and Bill Casey.
These were scrappers. The turf battles began almost immediately.
Casey was a tough old bastard. He got himself, as Director of Central Intelligence, a cabinet position and didn't give a crap about the pant-loads in Congress.
With Reagan's blessing, and Casey's encouragement, the CIA picked up the broken pieces left behind by clergymen Carter and Turner, super-glued everything back together and dipped the whole shebang in gold.
They even started serving bulls balls in Langley's seventh floor executive dining room.