On the sunny porch of his Santa Monica cottage, a scruffy-looking Harry Shearer, Los Angeles' preeminent satirist, is describing his fascination with an all-male power retreat called the Bohemian Grove. It began about nine years ago when the caustic, 58-year-old humorist started interviewing Grove guests -- and hookers -- about the super-exclusive Northern California resort. The interviews eradicated every conspiracy theory he'd had about the place: "These guys aren't micromanaging the world," says Shearer, best known for voicing myriad "Simpsons" characters and for his National Public Radio program, "Le Show."
These days, Third and Fairfax is pure traffic mayhem. Bulldozers, big rigs and construction workers jam the city streets and block available driveways. Trying to park at Farmers Market, the historical market and eatery that has drawn locals and tourists for 68 years, is like entering a revolving door and not stopping. Not only is the Market going through a $45-million revival, but a new outdoor shopping mall, The Grove at Farmers Market, is being erected, for a projected March 15 opening, amidst a flurry of dissension and exhilaration.