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How Green Day Has Redefined Punk Rock for a Wider Audience


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Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.

I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We listen to some music from the group Green Day …

Report about an art show by some very special young artists …

And explain why the day after Thanksgiving has a special name.

VSA arts

VSA arts is an organization that works to give people with disabilities a chance to learn about and enjoy the arts.  For six years, the group has partnered with the automobile company Volkswagen of America to create a competition to support artists with disabilities.  The artists are between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five. This year, over two hundred artists entered the contest. A group of art experts chose fifteen winners. The artists received a total of sixty thousand dollars in prize money. Steve Ember has more.

Every year, the VSA arts competition chooses a subject for its art competition. This year, the theme and name of the exhibition is "Driven." The artists were asked to make works that show what forces and ideas move them to create.

Twenty-one year old Jacolby Satterwhite from Baltimore, Maryland, won the twenty thousand dollar first prize for his painting "Remission and Resilience." This large and colorful painting shows six people doing different activities. Behind them is an expressive blue and orange sky.

Jacolby started making art at the age of three. But by age eleven, he developed bone cancer and had to have parts of his right arm removed. This disability did not stop him from creating his art. He says continuing to make art with these limits is a way of winning over a dark period in his life.

Laurel Ebenal from the state of Washington won second prize for her "Faun" photograph of a person wearing a theatrical face covering. Laurel is influenced by an imaginary world of dreams and stories. Although she has lost half of her hearing, she says her art permits her to express herself in ways that words cannot.

E. Brooke Lanier from Chicago, Illinois won third prize for her painting called "Staring." Her art expresses what it is like for an artist to go blind. The painting has a white background with bold black letters. It looks like the picture an eye doctor uses to test a person's eyesight. The letters start big, then get smaller towards the bottom. The letters say: "I cannot see you but I know you are staring at me."

Green Day

Our listener question this week comes from Russia. Viacheslav wants to know about the rock group Green Day. This band is considered to have brought punk rock style music to a wider audience of listeners.

Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt from Berkeley, California, formed the band in nineteen eighty-seven when they were fifteen years old. The two friends gave their first performance at the restaurant where Billie Joe's mother worked.

Billie Joe and Mike later asked Tré Cool to replace Green Day's first drummer who left the group to attend college. The band's first two full-length albums were called "1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours" and "Kerplunk." Their first album with a large record company came out in nineteen ninety-four. "Dookie" sold over ten million copies around the world. It also earned the group a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Group. Here is the hit song "Basket Case" from that album.

In nineteen ninety-five, Green Day released the album "Insomniac" which had a darker and more intense sound. Two years later, the group released "Nimrod."  The album "Warning" earned Green Day eight California Music awards, though it was not one of their best selling albums. Here is the song "Minority" from that album.

Green Day later began making a new album, but the recordings of the songs were stolen from the band's music studio. Green Day decided not to recreate the same album. They decided to do something different. In two thousand four they released "American Idiot" which became an international best seller. The songs criticize American policy over the war in Iraq.  Billie Joe Armstrong said that he knew the album could be a risky choice for the band. But he felt it was worth the risk to be able to honestly voice the band's political beliefs.

This year Green Day recorded a song for an album made by Amnesty International. The aim of the recording is to increase attention about the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan. We leave you with Green Day's version of "Working Class Hero" written by John Lennon.

Black Friday

Yesterday, November twenty-second, was Thanksgiving in the United States.  It was a day for family members to get together, share a meal and express thanks for the good things in the past year.  The day after Thanksgiving also has its own tradition. Barbara Klein explains.

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, is considered the first day of the holiday shopping season in the United States.  It even has a name -- "Black Friday."  The name comes from the idea that this is the day when store owners begin to show a profit for the year.

In the past, before calculators and computers, workers recorded the profits and losses of American businesses in special books.  They used red ink to record losses. They used black ink to record profits.  They used the term "in the red" to mean losing money. "In the black" meant making a profit.  So "Black Friday" was the day when the store owners moved from being "in the red" to "in the black."

Many people consider "Black Friday" to be the busiest shopping day of the year.  But that is probably false.  Researchers say it may be the day when the largest number of people go to stores. But it is not necessarily the day when shoppers spend the largest amount of money.  Some experts say Americans just want to get out of the house the day after Thanksgiving. And many stores reduce some of their prices on "Black Friday."

However, experts say that many people wait until much closer to Christmas, December twenty-fifth, hoping to find even lower prices. They say the busiest day of the year in terms of the amount of shoppers and sales is usually the Saturday before Christmas.

A marketing services company carried out a public opinion study about shopping last month. It asked almost one thousand Americans about their gift buying plans. One-third said they plan to go to stores to shop on the day after Thanksgiving.

The study found that these shoppers are mainly young people, probably because older people do not want to deal with huge crowds.  In fact, business leaders say many older Americans are doing their shopping at home -- on the computer. They say the day most people shop online is the Monday after "Black Friday."  They even have a name for it -- "Cyber Monday."

I'm Doug Johnson.  I hope you enjoyed our program today.

It was written by Dana Demange and Nancy Steinbach. Caty Weaver 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.


"American Mosaic" in VOA Special English
www.manythings.org/voa/america

Source: How Green Day Has Redefined Punk Rock for a Wider Audience
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