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November 7, 2007 > Carnival of Stars

Carnival of Stars

A Holiday Gift Festival with a Twist

By Anuja Seith

Experience a different kind of entertainment this holiday season at Carnival of Stars, a festival that brings together an eclectic mix of holiday shopping, comic book artists and belly dancers. A presentation of, dedicated to an Egyptian Folkloric form of belly dancing, Carnival of Stars celebrates its fourth dance and comic book festival on the weekend of November 10 and 11. "It's a multimedia convention comprised of belly dance and comic books," says Pepper Alexandria, co-producer of the show.

Alexandria, an adroit costume maker, belly dancer, instructor and head of Near Eastern Dance Company which emphasizes research and performance of the Ghawazee tradition of Egypt, finds humor in everyday lives of belly dancers. She and her close friend and co-producer, Latifa, wanted to create a venue that would combine belly dancers and comic books. Their desire sparked the birth of this festival which features the unlikely combination of renowned belly dancers, seasoned cartoonists and artists. The lineup this year includes renowned creators, illustrators, writers and personalities such as Mark Bode, Spain Rodriguez, Dan O Neill, Hal Robins, Paul Mavride, George Powell, Randy Vogel, Bob Levin and Jim White (The Clones, Rock Group) and Mr. Lobo.

This year's star guest - Saturday only - will be John Stanley, author and host of Creature Features, a well-known television show that began as a creation of Bob Wilkins who hosted the show in a self-depreciatory style beginning in the late 50s. Wilkins left in 1978, but the show continued with Mr. Stanley as host for and six years until its demise in 1984. This campy show featured science fiction/horror films of the day in a unique style that made it one of the most watched shows of Channel 2, KTVU.

Festival goers can have a dexterous artist work wonders in sketched portraits, watch exotic dance performances, learn a few toe-taping steps in dance classes during the festival and indulge in a unique shopping experience at an international market featuring arts and crafts, belly dance costumes, jewelry, comic books, and an eclectic assortment of gifts.

Visitors are also invited to participate in a character costume competition, and enjoy a bite of authentic Moroccan cuisine from Tanjia, a local restaurant. As night, a 1 1/2 hour horror showing will offer a thrilling experience as well. For a decidedly different experience and a unique kick-off to the holiday season, Carnival of Stars will not disappoint. For those who enjoy belly dancing, comics or simply want to go shopping for unusual gifts, Carnival of Stars is a don't miss experience.

Carnival of Stars
Saturday, Nov 10 - Sunday, Nov 11
9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Centennial Hall
22292 Foothill Blvd., Hayward
(510) 548-4260

Tickets: $12.00 for adults and $5.00 for children under 12.

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