While you've been packing the RV for that cross-country drive with the in-laws, the world's power elite has been jetting off to more exclusive sleepovers. Last week Hollywood and Wall Street names trekked to Idaho for the Allen & Co. conference, one of a handful of camps at which ambition burns hotter than any campfire. Our guide:
WHEN HELD Early July each year.
FOUNDED New York investment banker Herb Allen, who specializes in media deals, organized the conference in 1983.
LOCATION The Sun Valley Lodge in the lush mountains of Sun Valley, Idaho, a winter ski resort about 6,000 ft. above sea level and accessible most easily by gas-guzzling private jet.
WHOM YOU'LL SEE About 300 of Wall Street's and Hollywood's most powerful and famous (and about 100 of their glittery offspring). This year: Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Andy Grove, Barry Diller, Michael Eisner, Diane Sawyer (a longtime friend of Allen's), John Malone, Geraldine Laybourne, Diane von Furstenberg and Jerry Levin.
DRESS Very casual. "Jeans are the dress of the day," says a spokesman. And an Armani T shirt perhaps.
RECREATION Hiking, fly-fishing, an annual raft trip, golf, tennis and hanging out are all popular, but the most pressing activity is dealmaking (and posing for the annual Annie Leibovitz photo). The Disney/ABC merger originated after Eisner and Buffett met on a Sun Valley golf course. Any new deals at this year's conference? Stay tuned for the next few months.
SEMINAR TOPICS Mornings are for presentations on different companies and panel discussions. This year's presentations are on Nokia, America Online, Loral Space & Communications, Comcast and Disney, NBC, Coca-Cola and Microsoft.
HOW TO GET INVITED Be a company president, chairman or CEO at a multinational media concern. And plan to do lots of expensive deals in the near future.
EXCLUSIVITY RATING: 9
WHEN HELD Annually in late spring or early summer.
FOUNDED The conference was named after the hotel in Oosterbeck, a town in the Netherlands where the first conference took place under the chairmanship of Dutch Prince Bernhard in May 1954.
LOCATION Usually held in one of a succession of very posh hotels in North America and Europe. This year in June it was held at the Turnberry Hotel in Scotland, across the street from a top golf course.
WHOM YOU'LL SEE The guest list--which is released--is a Who's Who of global bigwigs. In 1998, for example, attendees included Henry Kissinger, Fiat chief Giovanni Agnelli, NATO's secretary-general Javier Solana Madariaga and Tory party leader William Hague. In 1991, Clinton, then Governor, attended when it was held in Washington. In 1990, Dan Quayle was there when it was held in Glen Cove, N.Y.
DRESS Smart casual. Wearing decorations is not required at dinner.
RECREATION Depends on the location. Given the guest list, anything that involves heavy perspiration is probably out of the question.
SEMINAR TOPICS Very likely the most interesting of international questions.
HOW TO GET INVITED Be a Rockefeller, an heir to the throne of a small European country, or else be an indispensable figure in global economic and political circles. Big bucks properly refined can help get you in.
EXCLUSIVITY RATING: 10
WHEN HELD The last 17 days of July.
FOUNDED The Grove Encampment began in 1878 as a farewell party in Muir Woods, in Marin County, Calif., for an actor member of the private, all-male, San Francisco-based Bohemian Club.
LOCATION 2,700 pristine acres in the redwood forest of Sonoma County on the banks of the Russian River.
WHOM YOU'LL SEE Big-name politicians, business leaders, entertainers and other professionals with an interest in the arts. In 1992 former Presidents Reagan and Nixon attended, and virtually every Republican President in recent history has been a member. Other members (on a roster the club keeps secret) reportedly are Charlton Heston, Walter Cronkite, Alexander Haig.
DRESS CASUAL, although an opening-night ritual allegedly has high priests of the club wearing crimson robes.
RECREATION Boating, hiking, music and art, nature studies, skeet shooting, campfires, sing-alongs, drinking (supposedly there is a fabulous wine cellar stocked with 3,000 cases of the best wines) and, reportedly, a tradition of outdoor urinating. Also: no business allowed.
SEMINAR TOPICS Some educational programs and more than 100 entertainment events produced and performed by club members, including the annual Grove Play, an original musical that takes two years to prepare. The music may sometimes be forgettable; the reputed occasional nudity is not.
HOW TO GET INVITED You have to be a man, and officially you have to be a member of the Bohemian Club or a guest of one. Past members have included Mark Twain, Jack London, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Herbert Hoover and Earl Warren.
EXCLUSIVITY RATING: 8
WHEN HELD At the end of January or beginning of February.
FOUNDED The conference was inaugurated in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, 60, a German-born business professor and consummate networker, as an intimate gathering at which business leaders could chew over world problems as they rode chairlifts to some of the Alps' finest skiing.
LOCATION Davos is in the eastern Swiss canton of Graubunden, an overflowing but still charming agglutination of hotels and pensions.
WHOM YOU'LL SEE The recognizable and important, and the important but unrecognizable. Among the Davos '98 attendees were Kofi Annan, Anatoli Chubais, Bill Gates, Newt Gingrich, George Soros.
DRESS The whole kit: business suits for the seminars, skiwear for the slopes and formal gear for a Saturday soiree that stretches into the wee hours.
RECREATION Skiing, naturally. The eating is also good, but guests come to talk business too.
SEMINAR TOPICS This year Davos was a marathon of meetings on such topics as "Governing Globalization" and "Islam in the 21st Century." Hillary Clinton brought the house down with a determined and charming closing speech, delivered as Monica Lewinsky was exploding onto the Washington scene back in the U.S.
HOW TO GET INVITED Being a CEO or a media maven helps; otherwise, have your people call Klaus' people, and if you have an interesting C.V., you can probably make it onto the final list.
EXCLUSIVITY RATING: 6
WHEN HELD Annually, on a mid-September weekend beginning on Thursday night.
FOUNDED Teddy Forstmann, philanthropist and leveraged-buyout genius, and his partners at Forstmann Little & Co. began this get-together several years ago.
LOCATION Those guests who don't have homes in the area check into one of Aspen's two top hotels.
WHOM YOU'LL SEE Bob Dole, Scott McNealy, Linda Wachner, Harvey Golub, Steve Case, Lou Gerstner, Richard Meier, Dr. Ian Wilmut and Colin Powell.
DRESS Casual. Just casual.
RECREATION Golf with Jack Nicklaus; hiking, horseback riding and bike riding. In the evenings guests appreciate entertainers like Jay Leno, Willy Nelson and Linda Ronstadt. This year James Taylor will sing.
SEMINAR TOPICS Current business, political, scientific and technological issues. Charlie Rose will moderate this year's panels, which will include "Managing a Crisis"--a serious crisis like a war or a tragedy on Mount Everest--and a George Shultz survey of the world.
HOW TO GET INVITED If you are not the CEO of a huge and successful company, be the best at something significant or, if you can, buy a jet from Gulfstream, one of Forstmann's holdings. Those attending could as easily be somewhere else. They come because they have a good time.
EXCLUSIVITY RATING: 9
WHEN HELD Originally held at New Year's, now there are Thanksgiving, Presidents' Day, Labor Day and spring weekends.
FOUNDED Seventeen years ago, Phil Lader (the current U.S. ambassador to Britain) and his wife Linda were bored by the thought of a quiet Dec. 31 so they invited 60 families to spend New Year's discussing the big issues of the day.
LOCATION The New Year's weekend is always held at Hilton Head, S.C. The others are around the country, in places like Santa Fe, N.M., and Kiawah Island, S.C.
WHOM YOU'LL SEE "Artists and scientists, astronauts and Olympic athletes, Presidents and Pulitzer prizewinners, singers and authors," says Linda Lader.
DRESS There is no dress code, but everyone, except heads of state, must wear a name tag on which the first name appears in large print and the last in small.
RECREATION Guests are expected to join fitness sessions, oyster roasts and beach walks along the shores of Hilton Head.
SEMINAR TOPICS Everything from the arts to (predictably) politics. One popular seminar: "Something's Been Bugging Me."
HOW TO GET INVITED If you're not a leader, a celebrity or a friend of the Laders, get to know someone they know. Linda Lader, who chooses the guests, says, "Some are friends, others are recommended. Then there are people we know about who we think are interesting."
EXCLUSIVITY RATING: 6
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Notice: TGS HiddenMysteries and/or the donor of this material may or may not agree with all the data or conclusions of this data. It is presented here 'as is' for your benefit and research. Material for these pages are sent from around the world. If by chance there is a copyrighted article posted which the author does not want read, email the webmaster and it will be removed. If proper credit for authorship is not noted please email the webmaster for corrections to be posted.