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He seemed out of place at the Grove

Writer/environmental warrior Alex Shoumatoff booked his wife and kids into a Russian River motel Saturday, then drove off to join the merry men inside the Bohemian Grove.

But the New Yorker wasn't invited, not hardly. Shoumatoff is working on a Vanity Fair story critical of attempts by the Bohemian Club to clear some trees from the gorgeous, 2,700-acre camp near Monte Rio alive right now with the midsummer gathering often called the greatest men's party on Earth.

At about 8 p.m., he sneaked into the tightly guarded Grove. When security men confronted him about 90 minutes later, he was asking questions that made Bohemians wonder if he was truly one of them.

Shoumatoff was straight-up with the Sonoma County deputies who arrested him on suspicion of trespassing. He told them he entered the Grove to investigate "how the redwood trees are impacted by the members in the Bohemian Grove."

Deputies contacted his wife to say he was out of the grove and in the county jail. She wasn't surprised.

A NIBBLE OF HORSE: Back home in Sebastopol, famed artist Jack Stuppin stops to think about what he liked best about his VIP trip to Kazahkstan. But not about his most memorable meal.

"The big, gourmet dish was horsemeat and noodles, the national dish," he said. "You had to be polite and taste a little of it."

Jack went as one of several world artists invited by the government to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the new capital, Astana. He quickly adored the Kazakhs.

As he toured, accomplished documentary filmmaker Robert Hillmann, also of Sebastopol, shot footage.

A highlight was the dinner -- no horse -- with U.S. Ambassador John Ordway and the embassy's cultural affairs officer, Natasha Franceschi, formerly of Bodega.


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