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Secrecy surrounds 102nd Monte Rio Variety Show, again

Bohemian Club members will stage the 102nd edition of the Monte Rio Variety Show Thursday night in Monte Rio, making the sole public appearance of their 18-day summer encampment.

The entertainment lineup, like everything else about the Bohemian Grove retreat for rich and powerful men, is so secret that even people working on the annual fund-raiser don't know the details.

Country musicians Clint Black and Zac Brown, Grammy Award-winning saxophone player Tom Scott and rocker Steve Miller have hit the stage in recent years at the redwood tree-lined Monte Rio Amphitheater, about a mile from the gate to the 2,700-acre grove.

About 2,500 Bohemians and their guests were expected to attend the 18-day, male-only encampment for corporate and political titans that wraps up on Sunday.

Every year since 1911, they've emerged for the variety show that has raised more than $150,000 in the past three years with equal amounts going to St. Catherine Catholic Church, the Monte Rio School Foundation and the Monte Rio Fire Services Foundation.

Michele McDonell, one of the organizers, said tickets will be available today at two outlets, Bartlett's General Store and Northwood Restaurant, both in Monte Rio.

The show is expected to sell out, but any remaining tickets would be available at 7 a.m. Thursday when the amphitheater lawn opens for audience chair placement.

The event begins with a chicken, rib and veggie burger barbecue and dessert bar at 4:30 p.m. A 7 p.m. pre-show features the Bohemian Big Band on stage for an hour, followed by the main show from 8 p.m. until about 10:30 p.m.

McDonell, a St. Catherine's church member, said her sons, nephews and nieces are the fifth generation of her family involved in putting on the show, a longtime boon to the small river community of 1,152 inhabitants.

The show began as an effort by the Bohemians to build a church close to their wooded enclave, and St. Catherine's was built in 1912 after the first two fund-raisers.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $5 for ages 13 to 17 when accompanied by a paying adult and free for children 12 and under with an adult.


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