Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:
We answer a question from a listener about stories called urban legends…
Play music by groups taking part in worldwide Live Earth concerts to fight global warming…
And report about some movie sequels being released this summer.
A sequel is a movie that continues a story begun in an earlier movie or tells another story using the same characters. This summer, there are a lot of them. Barbara Klein explains.
Movie studio officials say they expect sequels this summer to earn a huge amount of money. They say three such movies released in May earned more than one hundred million dollars each in ticket sales in just one month. The three movies are "Shrek Three," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and "Spider-Man Three."
"Spider-Man Three" continues the story of the superhero who fights evil in New York City. The movie earned more than one hundred fifty million dollars in its first three days of release. Reports say movie officials expect it to earn about nine hundred million dollars around the world.
"Shrek the Third" continues the story of the green cartoon creature and his wife, Princess Fiona. It has earned more than three hundred million dollars in the United States since it opened in May.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" is the third story about pirate Captain Jack Sparrow. He was captured by the evil Davy Jones in the earlier movie. In the latest one, his friends rescue him from death on the high seas. The latest "Pirates" movie earned one hundred fifty million dollars in the United States on its opening weekend. And it earned more than two hundred forty million dollars outside the United States during that same period.
But movie officials are disappointed that the third movies in these series are not doing as well in the United States as the second movies did. They say one reason for this may be that the three movies opened very close to each other. Still, they expect all three movies to do extremely well around the world.
Several other movie sequels were released recently. They include "Ocean's Thirteen," "The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," and "Live Free or Die Hard." Still to come this summer: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and "The Bourne Ultimatum."
Our VOA listener question this week comes from Taiwan. Sandra wants to know if urban legends are true.
An urban legend is a story that many people believe to be true. Some of these stories may have had some truth to them at one time. But they usually change over time and many are not true anymore. In the past, people read such stories in magazines and newspapers. Today, the Internet spreads them around the world much faster.
Many urban legends warn about something. One very old one is about a woman who tied up her long hair and never washed it. Spiders were said to have made a nest in her hair and killed her by eating her head. Other examples include warnings about eating two different foods or medicines at the same time, like taking an aspirin with Coca Cola.
One urban legend is about ships and planes that mysteriously disappear in an area of the Atlantic Ocean called the Bermuda Triangle. Another is about people in New York City who got rid of their small pet alligators by flushing them down the toilet. These alligators lived in New York's underground waste water system and grew to be huge. Other urban legends involve famous movie stars.
Some urban legends are false, yet are extremely difficult to stop. For example, one story said a major American company gave some of its money to the Church of Satan that worships the devil. Many people who believed this story stopped buying the company's products even though the story was false.
Some Internet sites investigate the truth of urban legends. One is called Snopes dot com. It lists the twenty-five most popular urban legends. Many are spread through the Internet. The top one is about plastic bottles you can buy that contain water. An urban legend says that these bottles release cancer-causing substances when they are re-used. Snopes says this urban legend is false.
On Saturday, musicians around the world will perform a series of concerts to raise attention to global warming. The twenty-four hours of music will take place in New York, London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Johannesburg; also Hamburg, Germany, and Sydney, Australia. On Thursday a Brazilian judge ruled that the concert in Rio de Janeiro could go on as planned. She accepted security guarantees from organizers, but the decision may not have been final. The Live Earth shows will be broadcast on television, radio and the Internet in more than one hundred countries. Faith Lapidus tells us more about the events.
They are being called "the concerts for a climate in crisis." Producer Kevin Wall, working with former Vice President Al Gore, came up with the idea for Live Earth. Wall has produced concerts for many famous performers including Bob Dylan. He founded SOS, Save Our Selves, to develop events to influence people to fight climate crisis. Wall was also the man behind Live Eight, a series of concerts last year to fight poverty.
Live Earth is taking place on the seventh day of the seventh month of two thousand seven. It represents all seven continents. More than one hundred famous musicians will perform. They include the Police, Madonna and Bon Jovi.
Lenny Kravitz will be the lead act at the concert in Rio de Janeiro. His hits include "American Woman" and "Let Love Rule." Here Kravitz sings "Are You Gonna' Go My Way."
The Black Eyed Peas will be among the performers at the show in London. Here lead singer Fergie performs a song from her solo album, "The Dutchess." "Big Girls Don't Cry" is one of the top songs on Billboard Magazine's Hot One Hundred List.
If you are near Hamburg, Germany you can see Shakira perform at the Live Earth show there. We leave you with Shakira singing "Illegal."
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
Nancy Steinbach and Caty Weaver wrote the program. Mario Ritter was our producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.
Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.