Glitz and Glamor on Circuit Ave: Oscar night at the Ritz

Josee Beauregard and Brian Carmo. Photo by Ralph Stewart
Josee Beauregard (left) and Brian Carmo met at the Ritz and are now married. The couple came to the Oscar party last Sunday night. Photo by Ralph Stewart

By Ken Goldberg - March 9, 2006

In Tinseltown, they call it "Hollywood's biggest night." On Martha's Vineyard, they call it "Oscar Night at the Ritz." While Hollywood stars may have had the opportunity to walk on the famous red carpet Sunday night, they certainly did not have chance to feast on the Italian artichoke fritters prepared by the mysterious women in the white mink coat who casually strolled in during the awards.

We found Ritz Café owner Janet King in the kitchen, preparing several tasty hors d'oeuvres, including a delightful goat cheese with balsam and vinaigrette. She had decided not to make any Oscar-shaped sandwiches this year.

Ms. King hosts an Oscar Night party at her Circuit Ave. establishment for two reasons. "It gives people something to do on a Sunday night, and any money we make benefits the Arthur Pachico Scholarship fund," she said. The scholarship is awarded annually to a deserving music student at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.

While last week 's press release in The Times did not reveal the nature of the special statuette to be awarded to the best Island characters, Ms. King allowed me the first public view of the magnificent golden toilet plunger. She broke out a second plunger and would have liked to have several more, but she claimed she couldn't find any more over the weekend on the Island. The Times will investigate this toilet plunger shortage and its health and safety ramifications at a later date.

The gaily decorated Ritz, complete with shiny tinsel and lights, attracted the crowd to the large television set holding court to the movie fans. Even the veteran Ritz pool players paused as the78th annual Oscar Awards began. There was near-unanimous approval when George Clooney received the Oscar for the best supporting actor, but only two people admitted to actually having seen "Syrianna." Most everyone enjoyed Jon Stewart's humor and delivery, but the first true highlight of the evening at the Ritz occurred with the appearance of Dolly Parton. Ms. Parton proved to be a real eye-opener, displaying a remarkably powerful set of lungs as she sang the first Oscar-nominated song.

Suddenly all heads turned to the entrance at the Ritz, as a well-dressed couple confidently strolled in from the cold Oak Bluffs' evening. By far, this was the fashion and style we were waiting to see at Oscar Night at the Ritz. Elbowing my way past the paparazzi, I had the chance to meet local celebrities Josee Beauregard and Brian Carmo.

They had much to celebrate. Josee, a native of Quebec City, met Brian at the Ritz on her first visit to the Vineyard. At the time, Brian was the Ritz's security professional.

Josee, wearing a lovely outfit for Oscar night, confided, "I met Brian here at the Ritz and now we are married." Nattily attired in black tie and suit, Brian had the honeymoon smile. We wish the newlyweds good luck.

Our attention returned to the tube. People were talking about the movies. More Ritz patrons saw "King Kong" than "Memoirs of a Geisha." No one had a clue what the "March of the Penguin" winners said. I asked Sheri Thomas about her favorite movies. She replied, "Rebel Without A Cause," "The Wizard of Oz," and "Casablanca." She had a valid point.

Oscars were awarded. Winners thanked everyone. The night drew to a close. And the winner of the Ritz Golden Plunger award goes to.... We'll let you know next year.

Ken Goldberg is the announcer for Martha's Vineyard Regional High School sports events on Channel 10.