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Singer Alice Smith Brings Pure Emotion and Honesty to Her Music


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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 Alice Smith …

Answer a question about two American actors …

And  tell about an art museum in Miami, Florida.

Margulies Collection

The Margulies Collection in Miami, Florida, is a privately owned museum with an exciting collection of modern art. Martin Margulies has spent his life collecting art with the money he earned from investing in property.

Twenty-seven years ago, he started an organization to help provide arts education free of charge to the public. As part of this goal, he placed his collection of sculpture, photographs, and paintings in a local museum. Mr. Margulies says that art has been good to him and that it is important to share it with others. Shirley Griffith has more.

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse opened eight years ago in the Wynwood area of Miami. This neighborhood is filled with industrial buildings and stores. You might be surprised to discover that the Warehouse building houses an art collection.

Since it opened, the Margulies Collection has expanded to over four thousand square meters of exhibition space. The museum is open free of charge four days a week from September until April. The current show includes sixty-five sculptural objects from Mr. Margulies' collection. The show includes the work of both famous sculptors and up-and coming artists.

In the main room of the museum, there are so many interesting sculptures that it is hard to know where to look first. One work by the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto is made of stretchy cloth that hangs from the ceiling and covers a large area of space. Several heavy tear-shaped forms drop from this ceiling cloth at different levels. If you look -- and smell -- carefully, you will realize that the wrapped forms contain several kilograms of spices such as cinnamon and turmeric. Mr. Neto often creates works like this one that visitors can step into and explore using different senses.

A sculpture by the American artist Barry McGee is made from a large truck lying on its side. Visitors can look in the truck to see television screens showing different colorful images.

You might also see works by several video artists. For example, you can watch a video by the Indian artist Amar Kanwar that explores oppression and violence in India and Pakistan.

The Margulies Collection provides its visitors and the community of Miami a free lesson in the endlessly rich subject of modern art.

Al Pacino and Andy Garcia

Our VOA listener question this week comes from Brazil. Juliana Lucia Ferreira asks about the American actors Al Pacino and Andy Garcia.

Al Pacino is known all over the world as one of the best actors of all time.  His full name is Alfredo James Pacino.  He was born in New York City in nineteen forty and attended the Fiorello LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.  At first, he acted in plays on Broadway in New York.  He won awards for his parts in the plays "The Indian Wants the Bronx" and "Does The Tiger Wear A Necktie?"

Al Pacino became famous as a result of his work in the movies "The Godfather" in nineteen seventy-two, and "Serpico" the next year.  He was nominated for Academy Awards for those films and for five others.  He finally received an Oscar in nineteen ninety-two for the movie "Scent of a Woman."  He also won a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for the television movie "Angels in America" in two thousand four.

Pacino has appeared in almost forty movies.  In two thousand six, the American Film Institute honored him with a Life Achievement Award.  His next movie will be released later this year.  In "Righteous Kill," he plays a New York City detective searching for a killer.

Andy Garcia has also appeared in about forty movies. He was born in Havana, Cuba in nineteen fifty-six.  Andres Arturo Garcia-Menendez came to the United States with his parents at the age of five.  They settled in Miami, Florida.  After high school, he decided to become an actor and moved to Hollywood, California.

Garcia's first real acting job was in the television show "Hill Street Blues" in nineteen eighty-one. His first movie part was in "The Mean Season" in nineteen eighty-five.  Later, his movies included "The Untouchables," "When A Man Loves A Woman" and "The Godfather, Part Three."  He was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for his work in the "Godfather" film.

Andy Garcia is deeply involved in Cuban music and the arts.  In two thousand, he played the Cuban musician Arturo Sandoval in a television movie. He shared an Emmy Award for outstanding movie made for television.  In two thousand six, he directed and played the leading part in the film "The Lost City" about love during the Cuban Revolution.   His latest movie, "The Air I Breathe," will be released later this month.

Alice Smith

Alice Smith is a twenty-nine-year-old musician who grew up traveling between Washington, D.C. and her family's farm in the southern state of Georgia. Her strong and emotional voice is able to sing a striking series of low and high notes. In her first album, "For Lovers, Dreamers and Me," Alice Smith mixes the sounds of rock, jazz and soul music. Faith Lapidus plays some of her music.

That was the love song "Dream" which was recently nominated for a Grammy award.  After hearing this song, you might be surprised to learn that Alice Smith did not always plan to make a career out of singing. But she did like music.

She says that when she was growing up, each of her mother's eight brothers and sisters liked to listen to a different kind of music. So, she was able to experience many kinds of musical styles in addition to her own favorites.

Alice Smith did not start singing professionally until she was in college in New York City. While she was studying history at Fordham University, she started to work as a back-up singer for a local band. The president of a record company heard her sing and later offered her a record deal.

Here is the playful song "Woodstock." It tells about wanting to take a break from the tensions of city living.

A small record company first released "For Lovers, Dreamers and Me" a year ago. The album quickly gained attention from critics and fans. The New York Times newspaper and Rolling Stone magazine listed Alice Smith as a top artist to know about. The company Epic Records re-released the album in October. Alice Smith says the album is about pure emotion and being honest in whatever situation you are in. We leave you with "Fake Is the New Real."

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: Singer Alice Smith Brings Pure Emotion and Honesty to Her Music
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