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The ultra-elite Bohemian Grove encampment kicks off in a magnificent, private retreat just outside Monte Rio late next week.

Well-connected and generally quite well-off men from business, government, entertainment and many other fields of endeavor will arrive in Sonoma County by private jet or spiffy car to savor a respite beneath the Russian River redwoods.

Some years, protesters gather to taunt members of the 145-year-old Bohemian Club and their guests as they enter the guarded gate. There’s not much on tap in terms of demonstrations this year.

As he’s done for several years, Sean Ackley of Contra Costa County is inviting any and all who are leery of what 2,000-some men of influence might do in secrecy to gather at the gate July 15.

“When you get that kind of power congregated in one place, I think it should raise alarms,” said Ackley, creator of the website resisttyranny.com.

In years past he prepared a protest sign for his annual visit to the Bohemian Gate, but not this time.

“I don’t have time to put a banner together this year,” he said.

MARY MOORE of Camp Meeker, just a few miles down Bohemian Highway, has mounted many demonstrations to highlight what she sees as the potential for serious abuses by those who gather at the Grove.

Mary, one of the region’s most steadfast advocates of peace and human rights, will step back this year and celebrate her 82nd birthday with family and friends and fellow activists.

Still, she’ll be watching for news of who attends the Bohemian Grove and she urges that people pay attention to lessons derived from the elite camp on issues of “class, gender, race and power.”

ON TO THE SHOW: This makes 106 years that one of the great, beneficial local impacts of the Bohemian Grove will be the benefit variety show in downtown Monte Rio.

Every year, entertainers from the encampment take the stage at the town’s amphitheater for a night of truly top-notch music and comedy. Ticket proceeds boost the work of the Monte Rio Fire Services Foundation, St. Catherine of Siena Church and the Monte Rio School Foundation.

Always a great show, it happens this year on July 27. Tickets are available here.

Normally, it’s a big secret which entertainers will leave the Grove to perform at the show. The biggest stars to appear at the Monte Rio Variety Show have included Bing Crosby, Art Linkletter, Merv Griffin and, more recently, Clint Black, Zac Brown and Roy Rogers.

NEVER BEFORE were the names of performers announced prior to the show. But Monte Rio’s Michele McDonnel, the prime mover behind the production, says this year she can confirm some of the names who’ll play on the 27th.

There’s Ray Benson of the nine-time Grammy-winning Western swing band, Asleep at the Wheel.

Also Kix Brooks, half of the country duo of Brooks & Dunn.

Finally, Michele can tell all the world the lineup in Monte Rio will include singer/songwriter Tim Nichols, who earned a Best Country Song Grammy for a tune he co-wrote with Craig Wiseman for Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dying.”

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