Every year the Academy Awards draws thousands of fans, an abundance of media, and every big name in show business. The excitement in Hollywood is highlighted by the bumper to bumper traffic, fleet of limousines, and complicated city street closures that tend to drive both residents and visitors alike crazy. Nevertheless, Hollywood loves its movies and Oscar night is a much-anticipated annual event, virtually rivaling the holidays to some hard-core movie enthusiasts. Indeed, after the Golden Globes, the Grammys, and the plethora of other shows that honor those in the entertainment industry, the Oscars are seen as the last grand, exciting night for a red carpet extravaganza.
Oscar night is, of course, heralded in with a multitude of “Oscar parties” around the city ranging from the strictly private to the more elaborate. The Elton John AIDS Benefit and Vanity Fair is just a couple of key places to spot the stars. In the past, while the show in Kodak Theater (now Dolby) has transpired, one group of Hollywood celebrities and entertainment industry professionals has annually gathered across the street from the Theater to watch the celebration LIVE on plasma screen televisions at the world famous Magic Castle. Each year, John Carvalho, a West Hollywood advocate for the arts, music and entertainment, collaborates with Latin recording artist Ben Roman to invite to the Castle independent filmmakers, musicians, actors, directors, producers and others that have an interest in the movies. The Oscars viewing party has been one way that the Magic Castle establishment has rewarded its members. This year was no different, save for the fact that the once private party has now become more and more popular as the years have gone by. The elegant evening at the Castle features a media covered red carpet, endless buffet dinner, viewing party of the Oscars, raffle prizes, giveaways, and, once the Oscars are over, the opportunity to travel upstairs in the venue and watch captivating magic shows well into the night.
“The enchanting performances put on display here during Oscars night have been some of the best the Magic Castle has to offer and have made the Oscars viewing party all the more enjoyable,” says John Carvalho. “I always tell the guests to stick around and catch the magic shows because they totally elevate the Oscar experience here at the Castle.”
Indeed, the full package of benefits for Castle members have made the Academy Awards Party at the Magic Castle the place to be on Oscars night for a fun, yet elegant, evening. In addition, there is the possibility for a little media exposure as well. Last year’s “group Oscars photo” of some of the guests at the event, including John Carvalho and the Honorary Mayor of Beverly Hills David Harrison Levi, taken by celebrity photographer Carlos Pena, went viral on social media websites and was seen by tens of thousands of people. “The Artist” (starring Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, and John Goodman) won Best Picture last year, and among the guests were actor/producer Tom Tangen and movie director Michael Donahue, both friends of the legendary silent film actress Carla Laemmle (Dracula, 1931; Phantom of the Opera, 1925), who also starred in their motion picture “Pooltime” (2010) and is co-starring with actor Gary Busey in their upcoming horror flick “Mansion of Blood”.
Al Bowman, Founder of the Los Angeles Music Awards and Hollywood F.A.M.E. Awards, is a veteran of two of the Magic Castle events. "With so many viewing parties going on all over Los Angeles on Oscar night, none of them are as close to the action as the event at the Magic Castle, located directly behind the Dolby Theater. For the second straight year, I attended this event at the behest of its eloquent hosts, John Carvalho and recording artist Ben Roman. What a fabulous food spread with a beautiful environment to go with it. 4 large screen HD TV's placed inside the large main room at the venue made for a memorable viewing experience for all the 200 or so attendees who were there," said Bowman.
Guests of the Magic Castle Oscars Party have also included the Peoples’ Mayor of Hollywood Tony Boldi, actress Rebecca Whitman, fashion designer Eugene Sidney, actress Wendy Lynn Adams, stuntman Raynald La Rochelle, photographer Raul Esparza III, actor Shane Demers, singer Eric Rowland, author and civil rights activist Ben Patrick Johnson, comedienne Shawn Pelofsky, Inspire U Records President Rich Williams, and numerous award winning recording artists and Grammy members such as Tom Slack and Kris Searle. Even some of the hottest “Andrew Christian” beauty boys from West Hollywood have stepped foot into this venue on Oscar night in the past. Among this year’s guests were Mikey Jayy, Executive Producer of the Artists in Music Awards, Hollywood personality Nic Creznic, the Guinness Book of World Records actor Bill Blair (who starred in this year’s Best Picture “ARGO”), actress Marlenne Castaneda, model Lucy Serrano, actor Said Faraj, gourmet chef and events promoter Jeff Kawakami, movie producer Mike Quiroga, actor Jimmy Dux, radio host and celebrity photographer Gus Summers, LAMA winning recording artist Willie Ames, and publicists Favi Jaime and Carlos Rojas.
“Today’s Oscars Party at the Magic Castle is all the more memorable because one of our attendees just starred in ‘Argo’ that was directed by Ben Affleck and won the Oscar for Best Picture tonight,” says Carvalho, referring to actor and Guinness Book of World Records holder Bill Blair. Blair has played more special effect make-up characters in a career than any other professional in the entertainment industry, such as on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Star Trek: Voyager”, and “Alien Nation.” Both Bill Blair and his guest Meli Alexander were moved and highly congratulated when the Best Picture category was called for “Argo.”
“I am looking forward to many new projects that this group of industry professionals are working on, both within music and film,” continues Carvalho. Dream Cinema Productions is working on “Vampire Bloodcross”, Sky Pictures has a number of westerns it is producing, and Tangen and Donahue are expected to launch the much-anticipated “Mansion of Blood”. This past year a number of our recording artists in West Hollywood have produced some world-class music, and I expect many of them to include their songs in upcoming films and be submitted to the marquee awards shows.”
As an advocate for the arts, music and entertainment in the city of West Hollywood, John Carvalho has collaborated on the publicity for a number of the music awards shows around the city. After arriving on the West Coast in 2007, Carvalho began supporting both the independent film and music industries through the use of both social and mainstream media. He attended the “Local Celebrity Los Angeles” and “Shine On: Artists Meet Industry” in 2010, and has since been a promoter for the LGBT voice in the entertainment industry on the World Wide Web. He has lobbied GLAAD to aid LGBT recording artists, has been a long-standing member of the Human Rights Campaign, and has helped sponsor music on EPs and albums for numerous artists, many whom have furthered their careers in music and movies. Carvalho has been an ardent supporter of the Grammy Awards Pre-Party and the Los Angeles Music Awards. For his advocacy of the independent music world, Carvalho received an “Official Certificate of Appreciation” from The LAMAs and 6th Annual Hollywood F.A.M.E. Awards on June 14, 2012 at the world famous Whisky A Go-Go. In addition, he was honored with the “Artists in Music Awards LGBT Person of the Year” in 2013 at the Key Club in West Hollywood, and a “Certificate of Appreciation” from the Breast Cancer Awareness foundation in 2011 for his advocacy to the entertainment industry and charity fundraising. Carvalho’s collaborations on many red carpet promotions in West Hollywood have permitted artists within independent film and music to network and further their projects.
Of course, none of the night at the Magic Castle would be possible without the tireless efforts of Latin recording artist Ben Roman, who also leads up special events production at the establishment. Roman stormed onto the music scene in 2008 with an exciting and original Spanish-language pop EP produced by award-winning producer and composer Rye Randa. Since then, Roman's songs (originals and covers) have been a hit on MySpace and the World Wide Web, being featured as part of the musical selection of the NBA Playoffs, original motion picture soundtracks, and remixed by the hottest Hollywood DJs. In collaboration with choreographer/dancer Marisa Aquino, Roman and his dancers embarked on a promotional tour in 2008 that kicked off at Long Beach Pride and continued through Los Angeles and Southern California. Last year, he gave an electrifying performance at the Christopher Street West LA Pride. Roman’s work has appeared on daytime television, reality TV programming, Bravo, A&E, and The Disney Channel. In 2012, he debuted his first English album “Ben Roman” that is available on iTunes. He is presently working on additional music and videos. For more on Ben Roman’s music visit: http://www.benromanonline.com/
The world famous Magic Castle, built in 1908, is the private clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, Inc, and the organization devoted to the advancement of the ancient art of magic. The purpose of The Academy is to encourage and promote public interest in the art of magic with particular emphasis on preserving its history as an art form, entertainment medium, and hobby. Beginning with a charter membership of 150, the Academy has grown into a world-renowned fraternal organization with a membership of nearly 5,000. Each year, as a reward to its members, the Magic Castle hosts the Oscars Viewing Party.