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AMERICAN MOSAIC - April 11, 2003: Music by Le Tigre / Question About How Space Shuttles Were Named / Windows by Frank Lloyd Wright - 2003-04-10



Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today,

We play music from the group called “Le Tigre” ...

Answer a listener’s question about how American space shuttles were named ...

And report about a new exhibit of windows from the buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright Windows


Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most important building designers of the twentieth century. Now, some of the colored glass windows from his buildings are being shown at a museum in Washington, D.C. Shep O’Neal has more.


Frank Lloyd Wright completed almost five-hundred buildings. Most of them were private houses. He also developed a completely new kind of window. It combined clear glass with squares, rectangles, triangles and circles of brightly colored glass. Wright called the colored glass windows in his buildings “light screens.”

From eighteen-eighty-five through nineteen-twenty-three, Wright designed more than four-thousand colored glass windows. They were used in almost one-hundred completed buildings. These special windows were designed to unite the inside of the buildings with the natural environment outside.

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery shows forty-eight of these stained glass windows. The show also includes some of Wright’s drawings, architectural models and photographs.

The exhibit is called “Light Screens: The Leaded Glass of Frank Lloyd Wright.” The windows are from different periods of Wright’s work. Some of the largest and most exciting were designed in the early nineteen-hundreds. Some of these windows include images of balloons and American flags. Wright used glass in bright colors like red, blue, yellow, green and black. He also designed windows that were made of what he called “dancing” triangles of glass.

All of the windows in the exhibit were removed from buildings in the past. They were provided by private collectors and other museums.

Elizabeth Broun [broon] is the director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum that supervises the Renwick Gallery. She says Frank Lloyd Wright is an extremely important person in the story of twentieth century American culture, architecture and design.

If you have a computer you can see some of the windows in the Renwick Gallery exhibit. The Web site address is www dot wright light screens dot com. Wright light screens is all one word. It is spelled w-r-i-g-h-t-l-i-g-h-t-s-c-r-e-e-n-s ( And you can learn more about the life and work of Frank Lloyd Wright on the Special English program People in America on Sunday.

Shuttle Names


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Nigeria. Semaku Fasinu asks us to explain how the American space shuttles got their names, and why the spacecraft is called a shuttle.

The dictionary says the word “shuttle” means travel again and again over an established path by a vehicle such as an airplane. Scientists were using the word to describe space transportation as early as nineteen-fifty-two. Wernher von Braun wrote about using a shuttle craft to move men and materials between a rocket ship and space station. Since then, American space scientists have used the term to describe movement of goods and people between Earth and outer space.

The American space agency NASA first used the word shuttle in nineteen-sixty-eight to describe a craft that would orbit the Earth and return astronauts home. President Richard Nixon announced the development of the space shuttle in nineteen-seventy-two. Each craft was to make one-hundred trips in space.

The first space shuttle was to have been called Constitution. But a national campaign among the fans of the "Star Trek” television show influenced the government to change the name to Enterprise. Enterprise was the name of the space ship in that television show.

NASA decided to officially choose the names of the shuttles that would be built later. Officials decided to name the shuttles after historic ships of explorers throughout history. For example, the shuttle Columbia was named for one of the first Navy ships to sail completely around the world. The shuttle Discovery was named for two historic ships. One ship was led by Henry Hudson when he discovered Hudson Bay. The other was James Cook’s ship which explored the Hawaiian Islands, southern Alaska and western Canada.

The Atlantis space shuttle was named for a scientific research ship operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts. The Challenger was named for a British naval research ship that explored the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Following the destruction of the Challenger in nineteen-eighty-six, NASA held a contest for American school children to name the replacement shuttle. The name chosen was Endeavor, after the first ship commanded by James Cook.

Le Tigre


The New York-based music group Le Tigre was formed in nineteen-ninety-nine by Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman. Mizz Hanna is one of the creators of the “Riot Grrrl” [girl] women’s rights art and music movement of the nineteen-nineties. Le Tigre’s sound is clearly influenced by that movement. Steve Ember tells us more.


The music of Le Tigre combines the loud, hostile guitar of punk music with electronic drums, piano and other aggressive sounds. The words of Le Tigre’s songs deal with the political issues of everyday life. Here is a song from the band’s first album, called “Le Tigre.” The song is called “What’s Yr [your] Take on Cassavetes.” It is about the difficulty of enjoying the work of an artist if you disagree with his politics.


Bass guitar player JD Samson became a member of the band when it recorded a second album, called “Feminist Sweepstakes.” This song from that album deals with surviving childhood sexual abuse. It is called “Keep On Livin’.”


We leave you now with another song from “Feminist Sweepstakes.” It is called “Le Tigre Tour Theme.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

Remember to write us with your questions about American life. We will try to answer them on future programs. Listeners whose questions are chosen will receive a gift.

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This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Bob Brumfield, Shelley Gollust and Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Rick Barnes. And our producer was Paul Thompson.