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The Bohemian Club

The Bohemian Club is a prominent private club in San Francisco, California, USA.

Its clubhouse is located at 624 Taylor Street in San Francisco. Today, the club has a diverse membership of many prominent local and global leaders, ranging from artists and musicians to leading businessmen. Founded in 1872, it was modeled on New York's prominent Century Club.

The club originally was formed exclusively by and for journalists, who lamented the lack of art and culture in post-gold rush San Francisco and wanted to capture something of la vie bohème which had become popularized among the avant garde of the United States at the time. It quickly was apparent that the group needed to relax its rules for membership and permit some people to join who had no artistic talent, but had major financial resources. Pretty soon, the "bohemian" writers were on their way out and the wealthy and powerful were in control of the club - something which remains true today. The membership lists are private, and only a few people outside of the club ever have seen them. Some prominent figures are given honorary membership only, such as Richard Nixon and William Randolph Hearst.

Members include some U.S. presidents (usually before they are elected to office), many cabinet officials, and CEOs of large corporations, including major financial institutions. Major military contractors, oil companies, banks (including the Federal Reserve), utilities, and national media have high-ranking officials as club members or guests. Many members are, or have been, on the board of directors of several of these corporations. However, artists and lovers of art are still among the most active members of the club, and the Club's bylaws still require that there be a certain number of artists, writers, and other academics.

Every year the club hosts an annual three week camp at Bohemian Grove, which is notable for its illustrious guest list and its eclectic Cremation of Care ceremony involving a mock human sacrifice at the feet of a forty-foot stone owl. In addition to that ritual, there are also two outdoor performances, often with elaborate set design and orchestral accompaniment. The more elaborate of the two is called the High Jinx, the less elaborate and expensive of the two is the Low Jinx. More often than not, the productions are original creations of the "Talent" members, and the stage crew is composed of the regular members; corporate CEOs, bank presidents, politicians, etc. The club's motto, "Weaving Spiders Come Not Here", is featured in the club's logo, around a stern-looking owl.


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