Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson.
This week on our program, we play music by a
new country band called Love and Theft …
And answer a question about
social parties in the United States ...
But first, we tell
about an organization that builds skate parks for young people living in cities.
Tony Hawk Foundation
Tony Hawk became a champion skateboarder in the
nineteen eighties when he was a teenager. The sport helped him overcome emotional problems he faced as a young
child. Now the Tony Hawk Foundation
helps young people by building skate parks in cities around the country. Barbara Klein has our story.
Hawk does not compete in skateboard competitions anymore. He retired from that part of his life ten
years ago, at the age of thirty-one. But
he still skates and he still works in the industry.
is involved in a skateboard company called Birdhouse and a company called Hawk
Clothing that makes clothing for skateboarders. He also created a popular video game series. In two thousand, Tony Hawk
wrote a book about his life called "Hawk: Occupation: Skateboarder."
years later, he established his charity, the Tony Hawk Foundation. He says it reaches young people who might
feel the way he did as a child.
TONY HAWK: "They don't find their place in
the traditional team sports or ball sports and they're looking for something
else. And, skateboarding, I think, is
much more available to them and a lot of kids really enjoy that it's
The foundation has given away almost three million
dollars since two thousand two. It has helped build more than four hundred
skate parks across the United States. Tony Hawk says young skateboarders take part in designing and building
TONY HAWK: "And I feel like that's the real
accomplishment for them, is that they saw it through. They cut through all the red tape and they
finally made it happen. And there it is. There is literally concrete evidence of their work."
Tony Hawk says skateboarding was once a sport on the
edge of society. Now, he says it is much
more accepted. And he says skateboarding
is giving young people some healthy competition in the inner cities of the
listener question this week comes from China. Vivien wants to know about parties
in the United States. Americans plan
parties for many reasons. As in other cultures, many Americans attend parties
for weddings and religious and national holidays. But some parties are
example, a group of neighbors may gather on their street to eat food, play
music and visit with one another. This is called a block party. A woman might invite a group of women to a
party called a baby shower for a friend who is about to give birth. Guests
bring presents for the new baby.
also attend tailgate parties. A tailgate
is the back end of a truck or other vehicle that opens down. Tailgating parties are a big part of sports
culture in the United States.
bring food and drinks to a sports event. They eat together in the parking area
of the sports stadium.
gather around the tailgate to eat hotdogs and hamburgers cooked on a grill.
There is a good chance that these tailgaters will also be drinking beer.
parties are also very popular. Many parents organize a party for their child
around a theme. We asked a spokesman for a party supplier called the Oriental
Trading Company what the most popular parties are right now. She says rock star parties are very popular
for young girls and boys. And she says
Luau parties with Hawaiian decorations and clothing are very popular with
parties usually include gifts and a birthday cake with candles. In many parts of the United States, cupcakes
have become a popular replacement for cakes. Cupcakes are individual sized
cakes topped with a layer of sweet icing.
parties can be low cost or very costly. Some parents take their children's
birthday parties very seriously, even when the child is too young to fully
understand the celebration.
group of parents started a Web site called Birthdays without Pressure. They
decided that some parents were under too much social pressure to plan costly
parties for their children.
group sees this movement as an example of America's culture of "too much
stuff." The group's Web site gives suggestions on how to keep birthday
celebrations simple, meaningful and fun without spending a lot of money. Their
advice may be all the more helpful during this period of economic recession.
Love and Theft
Love and Theft is a new country band out of Nashville,
Tennessee. The three member group took
its name from the title of an album by Bob Dylan. Bob Doughty has our report on
the band and its first studio album, "World Wide Open."
members of Love and Theft are Stephen Barker Liles, Brian Bandas and Eric
Gunderson. All three young men play
guitar and piano. They also sing and
write songs. Gunderson also plays bass.
The men met in Nashville
about three years ago. They had all
moved to the city to study how to write music. The three immediately sensed that they got along well musically. They started writing songs and playing music
together. Six months later they
performed in public for the first time.
Their appearance led to a recording contract. Here is
the title song from their album, "World Wide Open."
year, Love and Theft appeared in concerts as the opening act for country music
star Taylor Swift. In March, the band performed for the first time at the
famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The
band is also making radio and live appearances in support of their new
album. Here the band performs "Can't Go
Back" from "World Wide Open."
first single released by Love and Theft deals with the risks the band members
took to seek careers in the music industry. We leave you with that song, "Runaway," from "World Wide Open."
I'm Doug Johnson. Our program was written by Dana
Demange and Caty Weaver, who was also our producer. For transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our
programs, go to voaspecialenglish.com. You can also comment on our programs.
you have a question about people, places or things in America? You can send it to email@example.com we may answer it on this show.
again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.