Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:
We answer a question about a popular American television show …
Play some award winning hip-hop music …
And report about a great place to shop.
Mall of America
Thursday was Thanksgiving in the United States. Most Americans got together with family members and enjoyed a traditional meal. The day after Thanksgiving is an important day for business owners. It is the start of the holiday shopping season. One place that is very busy today is a large shopping center in Bloomington, Minnesota. In fact, it is one of the largest shopping and entertainment centers in the world. Faith Lapidus tells about the Mall of America.
Imagine a place where you can buy a wedding dress and ring, get married, and have a wedding party all in a day? The Mall of America offers all those goods and services.
The huge shopping and entertainment center is the largest mall in the United States. It covers thirty-one hectares. It cost six hundred fifty million dollars to build. The Mall of America has more than five hundred stores including four large department stores. It has sixty eating places.
But, there is a lot more to do at Mall of America than shop and eat. Why not visit the mall’s aquarium? The ninety one meter long, glass tunnel holds thousands of sea animals. They swim, crawl and float in about four million liters of water. You can walk alongside the aquarium and watch sharks eat or see a Caribbean reef up close.
Young visitors to the Mall of America can also enjoy roller coasters, ferris wheels and other rides. It has the largest indoor amusement park in the United States. The mall also has a dinosaur museum, flight simulation center and fourteen movie theaters. And a place where people can get married.
More than eleven thousand employees keep the operation running smoothly. During the summer and holidays, the mall employs thousands more people for temporary work. Mall spokesman Daniel Jasper says more than forty-five million people visit every year from all over the world. He says on any given day there are enough people at the Mall to make it the third largest city in Minnesota.
The Mall of America will be fifteen years old next year. The owners are planning a year of celebrations. They are also planning a major expansion. It will include hotels, a business center, water park and performing arts center. In September, the Mall of America was recognized in an unusual way. It was made a property on a new version of the famous American board game Monopoly.
Our listener question this week comes from China. Deng Yi wants to know about the television show "Prison Break" and two of the actors on the show. The Fox Broadcasting Company show "Prison Break" is in its second season in the United States. It is also popular around the world. There is no talk of canceling the show.
The last episode of the autumn season will be shown in the United States on Monday. A Fox representative, Scott Grogin, says the company has not announced the date when the show will return But he says it will be sometime in the spring.
"Prison Break" is about a man who believes his brother has been sent to prison for a crime he did not do. The man gets himself sent to prison so he can help his brother escape.
Michael Scofield is the character who tries to help his brother. The actor who plays him is Wentworth Miller. Miller was born in Britain but grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He is thirty-four years old and a graduate of Princeton University in New Jersey.
Wentworth Miller had first planned to work in the production side of television and movies. But in nineteen ninety-eight he appeared on the popular television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." He found he enjoyed acting. Miller has also acted in films, including “The Human Stain,” with Nicole Kidman and Anthony Hopkins. “Prison Break,” was Wentworth Miller’s big break in show business. He describes the show as “a great ride.”
Actor Robert Knepper plays the character T-Bag on "Prison Break." He was born in Ohio in nineteen fifty-nine. He became interested in acting as a result of his mother’s involvement in community theater.
Knepper’s first acting job was in nineteen eighty-six on the show “The Paper Chase.” He has worked on many other television shows, including, “Star Trek: Voyager” and “The West Wing.” He has also worked in films, including a performance in last year’s hit movie “Good Night, and Good Luck.”
Last week, the American television company B.E.T. broadcast its first hip-hop awards. Some of the brightest stars in the entertainment industry attended. Barbara Klein tells about the ceremony and plays music by some of the winners.
The ceremony honored rap music's “old school” artists and hip-hop’s exciting new performers. Among the winners was DJ Grandmaster Flash. He has been making music since the nineteen seventies. B.E.T. awarded Grandmaster Flash with the I Am Hip-Hop Icon award. Listen now as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five perform their song “Freedom.”
The ceremony was held in Atlanta, Georgia. The southern city is home to some of those honored, including rapper T.I. B.E.T. presented him with three awards, including one called M.V.P. or Most Valuable Player. Here, T.I. performs, “What You Know.”
The award for best new hip-hop performer was called Rookie of the Year. It went to the artist Chamillionaire [pronounced kha-mil-yen-air). The rapper from Houston, Texas has said that his aim is to prove that the southern United States can produce good rap song writers.
You be the judge. Here is Chamillionaire performing, “Rain.”
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
This show was written and produced by Caty Weaver. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.
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