Arts and Entertainment

The red carpet beckons at Vashon’s Oscar Night show

One of the best annual Island costume parties is coming up.

It happens every year at just about this time, and it involves a splashy televised awards show, a red carpet, a limo that drives around and around the block downtown and some of the craziest get-ups you’ll see this side of Halloween.

I’m talking, of course, about Oscar Night at Vashon Theatre — a 14-year tradition that is put on by the Vashon Film Society, a group that works behind the scenes to support our beloved Island movie theater.

What makes Oscar Night so great isn’t the Oscar ceremony itself. We all know that’s a show that tends to drone on a bit.

But not when you see it on the big screen at Vashon Theatre, because there is so much going on during the commercial breaks. There’s yummy food, time to hobnob with friends and neighbors and, best of all, a chance for a bunch of grungy Islanders to dress up and act glamorous for one night.

For me, it’s all about the 10 different costume contests. Which Islander will capture this year’s coveted “Cher” award for the most outrageous outfit? That’s what I want to know.

I’ve already got my own costume figured out.

Despite the fact that “The Black Swan” is up for best picture, I’m going to resist the temptation to wear a tutu. Nor will I be dressed as the Queen of England, even if “The King’s Speech” has 12 nominations.

I’ll be going as Rooster Cogburn, in tribute to “True Grit,” the movie I liked best this year, and also as a nod to Eileen Wolcott, the owner of Vashon Theater.

She’s kept our Island movie theater open during hard times and given Islanders a ticket to take celluloid carpet rides to other worlds, where we can forget out troubles.

There are plenty of reasons independent small town movie theaters are vanishing, and Eileen knows them all by heart. But that hasn’t stopped her. She keeps booking the films, making the popcorn and opening the doors to all kinds of community events.

That’s what I call true grit.

So join me in saying thank you to Eileen at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, at Oscar Night at Vashon Theatre. Tickets are on sale now at the theater, Island bookstores and All proceeds will go to provide scholarships to Vashon high school students.

— Elizabeth Shepherd is the arts editor for The Beachcomber.

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