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'Charity Stars' gala and Kunqu Opera on tap

SHANGHAI folks are rating celebrities according to their good hearts and charitable work ?? not their faces, figures, singing, acting, dancing and other talents and charms. They are voting for "Charity Stars."

How stars helped in Sichuan earthquake relief will be a major factor in the SMS vote organized by the Shanghai Media Group. Around 100 celebrities, from performers and sports figures to TV hosts, are being rated.

To vote, mobile users can send "828" to 106-6919-155 by mid-February.

The top 10 winners in the third annual "Charity Stars" event will be announced in a televised gala on February 28 at 7:30pm on Dragon TV.

A special award this year will be the "Children's Favorite Charity Star," based on the votes of 3.4 million children who survived the May 12 earthquake.

Candidates include Houston Rockets star Yao Ming, kung fu star Jackie Chan, actress Zhang Ziyi and pop singer Leehom Wong. All contributed generously to relief in Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces.

On February 27, a forum will feature scholars, actors and media experts to discuss the responsibilities of stars as models in society.

From tonight to Sunday at 7:15pm, the Shanghai Kunqu Opera House will present three charity performances of the classic "Story of the Purple Hairpin" at Shanghai Theater Academy (630 Huashan Rd).

The comic love story is pitch-perfect for the Lantern Festival, which falls next Monday this year.

Matchmaking is one aspect of the Lantern Festival. One legend has it that young women were allowed to walk unchaperoned on the night of the first full moon in the Lunar New Year so that eligible bachelors might see them.

In the opera story, a purple hairpin serves as a "matchmaker" when it is picked up by a young scholar during the Lantern Festival celebrations.

He eventually, after comic setbacks, marries the beautiful girl who owned the hairpin.

Young talents Li An and Shen Yili will star. Veteran performer Yue Meidi is the art director.

"The show will launch our series of shows on traditional Chinese festivals," says Guo Yu, opera house director. The Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival will also be featured.

A few free tickets have been allocated to World Expo volunteers, expats and retired workers from residential communities and universities.

Some tickets are still left for Kunqu Opera fans. For more details, please call 6437-7756.


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