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Erick Yee as Cloneno from Makeshift Monsters poses with Alexandria one of the producer of this new event
Gilded Serpent presents...'s
Carnival of Stars
Holiday Dance Festival and
Comic Book Convention

Nov 14, 2004
Centennial Hall, Hayward, California

Photos by Monica, Lynette, Susie & more,
Photo prep by Karen & Lynette, Report by Shira

The Carnival of Stars co-sponsored by Alexandria and Latifa wasn’t a typical belly dance festival. Held on Sunday, November 14, 2004, it brought together two art forms that Alexandria feels a passion for: belly dancing and comic books. This event, which was held in Hayward, California (near San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland), brought some of the elements of the world of comic book conventions to belly dancing.

Using a concept that is common in science fiction and comic conventions, the day opened with a panel discussion on the topic “The Future of Belly Dance”. The moderator, Heather, asked questions of the panel which had been prepared in advance, but also allowed an opportunity for the audience to contribute questions of its own. Panelists Monica Berini, Shira, Debbie Lammam, Amina Goodyear, and Barbara Bolan took turns responding. Monica and Shira shared observations on changing dance trends from their recent trips to Egypt, Amina brought the perspective of a long-time Oriental dance artist, Debbie offered the view from her work in the mainstream dance world with Dance Mission Theater, and Barbara Bolan represented the Bellydance Superstars. Gilded Serpent videotaped the panel discussion posted the transcript online so the ideas discussed could be preserved and shared with the worldwide belly dance community.

Following the panel discussion, a folk singer with delicate fairy wings opened the show, accompanying herself on guitar. She graciously played an extra song or two beyond what she had originally intended, filling some extra time caused by a problem with the scheduling of the dancers who followed her. From here, the dancing began. The performers were chosen by Alexandria through invitation, ensuring that the audience would have an excellent line-up of dancers to enjoy. Although nearly all dancers were varying styles of belly dance, the program included a bharat natyam performance by Nitya Venateswaran.

Late in the afternoon, Alexandria introduced another innovation borrowed from the world of comic book conventions: a costume contest. This, however, was not a contest for dancers to show off their sparklies. Instead, it was a contest for character costumes. Some children wore science fiction oriented costumes such as characters from Star Wars. Prizes were awarded in several categories.

Following the costume, the event resumed with more dance performances, extending on into the evening.

Alexandria had recruited a number of vendors to offer shopping opportunities for attendees. Many were belly dance related, but there were also several tables set up featuring comic book artists showcasing their work.

Alexandria has scheduled another Carnival of the Stars festival for November 2005. This one too will feature a panel discussion. See for more details.

Judges for the costume contest were: Davina, George Powell (from the SF Chronicle), and Spain, (goofing with Alexandria)

Luna as MC
Several talented women took turns as Mistress of Ceremonies including: Malia, Latifa and Luna. Malia (left) MC'd while staying in the character of Violetta from Juliette of the Spirits, a Fellini film.

Alexandria giving out prizes to winner of the raffle drawing

Celebrity Comic Artist, Hal Robins is an entertaining MC for the costume contest

Contestants of the costume contest await their turn on stage

Adam, the pirate parades (Aziza!'s son!)

Anisa plays a bird

Medusa has very snaky arms with her double jointed elbows. She came representing Greg Angelo's Velocity Circus accompanied by a troll.

Martunez is an ork, not shown is his equally impressive woman

This character was played by
Phillipe from San Francisco

Michel Harris gets to play too.

Marsha awards a trophy to Phillipe
Sabiba wins a trophy in the costume contest
Now on with the dancers!

Adry from Hayward

Crecent Moon led by Siwa


Andrea does cabaret style as well as joining Alexandria's Ghawazee troupe.

Near Eastern Dance Company performing Ghawazi
Alyson, Heather, Monifa, Alexandria, Andrea, Birute, Kathy

of Oakland, Ca

of San Jose


La Linda

Hala's troupe


Nitya, an Indian dancer and also a drummer for Near Eastern Dance Co

Malia & troupe

of San Rafael, Ca

of Sausalito, CA, also a producer of this event

is from the South Bay

Lulu, (Yolanda's daughter)

Suhaila's troupe
Berkeley, CA

is from the South Bay

of Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations

Nanna Candelaria
lives in Oakland, CA



of Arcata, CA



Little Girl

The Aswan Dancers dancing to Ya Omda
Zulya, Nabila, Shara, Kien and Maya el Omery

John and Paula of Hahbi'Ru






Honolulu, HI

Sandra of San Leandro, Ca

of Oakland, Ca

Vendors- Helen(?) in back to left, Zelina almost hidden beind the clothes rack wearing black, seated- Zemira, ?, Layla Lanty

Spain draws dancers for $30
(Such a deal, wish I had caught that one!)
Alexandria and James behind Spain

Don't miss next years
Carnival of Stars!
Sunday, November 13, 2005, 10 am - 9pm
Centennial Hall
Hayward, California

Featured cartoonists and artists in attendance will include:
Spain, Dan O’Neill, Hal Robbins, Paul Mavride,
George Powell, Randy Vogel, Bob Levin,
Erick Yee, Jim White (The Clones ® Rock Group),
and Dawn Devine Brown

Have a comment? Send us a letter!
Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

Ready for more?
The Panel Discussion at Carnivals of Stars Festival "Initiating Dance Dialogue: Current Trends"
transcribed from video by Andrea

4-3-05 The London Belly Beat! by Alexandria
They have nothing against tribal or fusion styles and seem to enjoy all belly dance.

1-11-05 Romancing the Stonewall Comic by Alexandria
"Hi, dear, can you send me a payment?"

4-29-05 Bargaining for Injeers by Kayla Summers
Bargaining is not just about the money, although that is a qualifier. Bargaining is a medium in which two strangers can have a conversation. Turks love to bargain, and it may be how they get to know you...

4-29-05 Power Failure Halts Troupes & Finals Categories, The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition, Part 1, Sunday Evening, held February 19-20, 2005, in Long Beach, California report by Amy Bonham, photos by GS staff
Willow Street outside the Grand Willow Street Center was a raging river on Saturday morning and the rain continued through the weekend with intermittent dry spells.

4-22-05 Auditioning for the Belly Dance Super Stars: Two Personal Experiences
The Cattle Call by Layla Katrina - "I knew I was not what they were looking for."
My Experience with the BDSS Audition in Paris by Dazzel -
"He wanted me to believe that his troupe was too good for me."

9-12-04 Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 5 of 9 by Edwina Nearing
Begun in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi" were first published under the title "The Mystery of the Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued demand for these articles by making them available to our readers worldwide.

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