Carnival thrills all over town

An end-of-Carnival celebration long weekend for all ages has been organized by the Athens municipality with an assortment of festive events at various locations around central Athens, from tomorrow to Monday. One of the major highlights, at the Technopolis complex in the district of Gazi (100 Pireos Street, tel 210.346.7322), will be the participation of 12 Chinese kite artists, here from Beijing especially for the occasion. Activities here, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, include a workshop demonstrating how to make Chinese kites, puppet theater by the Baruti group, jugglers and magic tricks, a clown, a shadow puppet theater performance by Karaghiozis artist Charidimos and a children’s party with music, cartoons and stilt-walkers. An exhibition of Chinese kites will also be on display from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. over the weekend. The 12 Chinese kite artists belong to the Chinese Federation of Literature and Art Circles (CFLAC), founded in 1949, which is involved in the organization of cultural events both in China and abroad. The kite has a long history in China, originating as a military device that eventually developed into a children’s toy. It became so popular that a special profession, that of kite-makers, was created. During the past two decades, kite flying has undergone a revival, both as a sport and as an extracurricular activity. Tomorrow’s agenda also includes a concert by the Athens Municipality Symphony Orchestra at Proskopon Square in Pangrati at 7.30 p.m., with a repertoire centered on film music by Manos Hadjidakis. Concurrently, at Syntagma Square, shadow puppet master Evgenios Spatharis and composer Dionysis Savvopoulos will present «Karaghiozis the Sponsor,» prepared by the two for Carnival season. They repeat their performance on Saturday and Sunday – same time, same place. Saturday’s celebrations begin early with the municipality’s big band accompanied by American percussionist Mark Smith, here from Chicago, as well as jugglers and stilt-walkers for a lively presentation of early 20th century jazz standards. The combo plays at two locations, Kolonaki Square at 12.30 p.m, followed by the Ermou Street mall at 1.45 p.m. Another jazz combo, the municipality’s Saxophone Quartet, will be at Tsakaloff Street in Kolonaki at 1 p.m. One of the country’s legendary musical figures, popular singer Poly Panou, who reigned throughout the 1960s and has maintained respect to this very day, will be the featured act at a concert with a nostalgic touch at Sotiris Petroulas Square in Kolonos on Saturday at 7.30 p.m. Panou’s delivery of old-school laika (Greek popular music) classics – tunes by Zambetas, Chiotis, Mitsakis, Akis Panou and others – will be given visual dimension with footage of period Greek film projected on walls of surrounding buildings. Coinciding with Panou, the younger artist Foivos Delivorias and his band will be performing a mobile show from a float along Alexandras Avenue. In another road show, on Sunday night, the municipality’s 100-member choir and mandolin ensemble will saunter through the Plaka and Psyrri neighborhoods, with candles in hand, performing old Athenian serenades and Carnival songs. Their musical stroll begins at Psyrri Square at 7.30 p.m. The municipality’s celebrations conclude on Monday at Philopappou. Events there open with a half-hour performance by the Athens Philharmonic at 10.30 a.m. Bouzouki virtuoso Thanassis Polykandriotis will take the baton for early morning bouzouki adventures between 11 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. The newly appointed mayor, Dora Bakoyianni, will intercede with a speech before Polykandriotis takes over again for the finale.

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