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06
DEC

'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood' and 'Joker' Invoke Opposing Sides of the Human Psyche

The recent film release, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” by Marielle Heller, is based on the Esquire magazine article, "Can you say..Hero?" that award-winning journalist Tom Junod wrote in 1998 about Fred Rogers. Rogers is an American TV personality who spoke to children and advocated empathy, understanding and reconciliation. The newly released films shows how two polar opposites, an empathic Mister Rogers and a cynical writer, become friends. Some have said the movie makes them “want to be better people.” Conversely, Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” a billion-dollar box office hit, offers a dark portrait of Batman’s nemesis, thriving on rancor, revenge and social chaos. VOA’s Penelope Poulou looks at the two films' contrasting messages
05
DEC

World's Oldest Female Trapeze Artist Fights Age Bias

Betty Goedhart - a resident of the state of California - isn't the retiring type. In fact, the 86-year-old found a hobby where she flies through the air, apparently without a care in the world.  But Goedhart says the hobby has helped her deal with one of this toughest times of her life.  Genia Dulot has the story.
05
DEC

Popularity of Black Churches Keeps Growing in London

The largest concentration of black African churches outside of Africa can be found in south London. Each week, about 20,000 people attend one of the mostly Pentecostal churches.There is prayer, but also lots of singing and dancing at the majority black African churches. The House of Praise is one of those churches where hundreds of people gather each Sunday.Precious Ogbomna is of Nigerian heritage and has been attending for more than two years. She likes that there is a connection to the African continent.“It gives you a slice of home,” she said. “Your parents raise you in a certain culture, and sometimes you can feel a bit alienated outside or somewhere else. It just feels like home really.”Diaspora communityMany English churches seem to have a declining congregation; but, the African churches in south London are growing in popularity, thanks to the large diaspora community residing in this part of London.Public theology lecturer David Muir explains what makes the diaspora churches stand out:“First and foremost, the diversity of these churches, some churches got 20 people, some maybe six, but of course other churches with 600 plus. So the kind of diversity of those churches is one thing,” he said. “The second thing is that most of these churches are actually keen to get involved in social action; they tend to do that in terms of things like education and welfare. But, what I found very interesting in the church is the way in which they take the mission seriously. A lot of these folks here feel that God has sent them here to evangelize the local population.”Active in communityThe churches are quite active in the community. Besides Bible study, the House of Praise provides language classes. They also organize other activities such as soup kitchens to feed the homeless.At the House of Praise, like many other churches, more than 80 percent of the worshippers have African heritage. Assistant Pastor Gbenga Samuel sees a role for the church to better integrate the diaspora and indigenous community.“We are kind of the seed that was sown by those who brought the gospel earlier on,” he said. “And we are kind of the fruits of those seeds; we bring it back and are trying to bring Christ back into the center of everything that is done.”Many of the majority-black churches do not own traditional church buildings. The House of Praise bought a former bingo hall ...
27
NOV

Native Americans Played Pivotal Role in the First Thanksgiving

Every year in November, Americans get a day off to give thanks.  The Thanksgiving Day holiday originated centuries ago, with a harvest celebration in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621.  For many Americans, the holiday is also a time to celebrate the arrival of the first immigrants to the the New World. But historians say it is important to remember that without the help of the Wampanoag tribe, Europeans back in those days may not have survived to celebrate. VOA's Cristina Caicedo Smit reports.
25
NOV

How 'Harriet' Advances Slavery Narrative on Large Screen

Feature films on slavery have been part of Hollywood since the beginning of the film industry in United States. However, only recently, movies on slavery have been told from the perspective of the slaves, and now, with the film "Harriet" from the perspective of a female slave.  “Harriet", the latest of antebellum dramas, focuses on Harriet Tubman a female runaway slave.  Tubman played a significant role in the so called "Underground Railroad", a human network helping enslaved African - Americans to flee to free American states and Canada. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
22
NOV

American Portrait Gala Dazzles Washington

There is a historic art museum in Washington that honors people whose lives reflect the American story. It's called the National Portrait Gallery.   Every two years dignitaries and celebrities from all walks of life gather for a gala to celebrate extraordinary individuals.  Maxim Moskalkov attended this year's event and spoke with some guests of honor.
22
NOV

American Portrait Gala Dazzles Washington

There is a historic art museum in Washington that honors people whose lives reflect the American story. It's called the National Portrait Gallery.   Every two years dignitaries and celebrities from all walks of life gather for a gala to celebrate extraordinary individuals.  Maxim Moskalkov attended this year's event and spoke with some guests of honor.
11
NOV

Albuquerque's Community College, Seedbed of Local Film Industry

Recently, a film studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico, signed a billion dollar contract with entertainment giant Netflix and a $500 million deal with NBC Universal Studios.  These agreements with Albuquerque Studios come on the heels of New Mexico granting enhanced tax incentives to production companies that film in the state and hire local talent.  One of the seedbeds for such talent is the Central New Mexico Community College. VOA’s Penelope Poulou visited the school and has this report
08
NOV

In Post-Cold War Berlin, Arts Scene Paves Way for Reunification

In the 30 years that have passed since the Berlin Wall came down and ended a decades-long division between the eastern and western parts of the city, it is artists who have injected new life into the abandoned buildings in what was communist East Berlin. And as Charles Maynes reports, this cultural scene became a driving force behind the reconciliation of East and West - a process that continues to this day.

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