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31
OCT

The Real-World Inspiration for Monsters Like Dracula, Frankenstein

Dracula, Frankenstein and other monsters may have literary origins, but Hollywood has turned them into iconic characters that have scared and thrilled audiences for decades.In the new exhibit, “Natural History of Horror,” the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County explains the link between art and reality, and shows how filmmakers looked to science and archeology as inspiration for hair-raising movie monsters.
 
“It’s really been a journey since those films were created to see how these different monsters have been interpreted and reinterpreted over the years,” said Jeff Pirtle, director of archives and collections, at NBC Universal.
 
“When you look at, for instance, Dracula, all you have to do is see a man in a cape and a tuxedo underneath -- it’s an iconic image," said Beth Werling, collections manager in the museum's history department. "You know, it’s the suave, sophisticated Dracula during the day, and a vampire at night. You look at Frankenstein and the green makeup and the flat head and the bolts coming out of the neck, you know what you’re looking at.”
 
Visitors can see original monster movie posters and props donated by Universal, including the ball and chain that shackled Frankenstein’s reanimated corpse in the 1931 movie.
 
There is also a reproduction of the costume from the 1954 film "Creature from the Black Lagoon," with movable gills.
 
Beyond the props, the exhibit highlights the real-life inspirations for the Hollywood horrors.
 The myth and science that inspired the Creature from the Black Lagoon movie. (Photo: Elizabeth Lee / VOA)Milicent Patrick designed the “creature” from the Black Lagoon by studying reptiles, amphibians, fish and pictures of extinct animals. One of the creature's origins came from the discovery in 1938 of coelacanths — fish that some biologists thought at the time to be the missing link between sea and land creatures.
 
The discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 inspired "The Mummy" in 1932. In the new exhibit, the wrappings of a real mummy are displayed near fake wrappings from the movie.
 
“The prop is pretty much what the originals were made out of — linen cloth, very coarsely woven. And in our case, with the prop mummy wrappings, they were dubbed with Fuller’s earth (clay material) to give them the kind of dusty, crusty look to age them," Werling said. Fuller's earth is "kind of like a dirt-like mixture that you would use when you wanted to age something or have something look dusty. As ...
31
OCT

George W. Bush's 'Courage' Portraits Exhibited in Kennedy Center

Washington's Kennedy Center opened an unusual exhibition within the walls of its new art space,  a collection of paintings by former president George W. Bush. The total of 66 oil paintings of military veterans will be displayed in the center this fall. Maxim Moskalkov has the story. 
 
31
OCT

Halloween Fan Lights Up Arlington

Every year on October 31, or Halloween, American streets overflow with candy and costumes. On average, people spend $86 a year on decorations, sweets, costumes and accessories. Yet some love the spooky holiday much more than others. Mariia Prus met with a true Halloween fan who takes the holiday frightfully seriously. 
 
30
OCT

Pirates, Witches and Superheroes March in Virginia Halloween Parade

On Halloween, the spookiest day of the year on October 31, it’s traditional for children in the United States to wear costumes to go ‘trick or treating’ in their neighborhoods to ask for candy.  Some communities also have Halloween parades. Earlier this week, characters like pirates, angels and scarecrows marched in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington. VOA’s Deborah Block takes us along the colorful parade with some imaginative costumes.
29
OCT

Unique School Immerses Students in Native American Arts

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, a unique college has been immersing students in Native American contemporary arts and culture for more than 55 years.  The one-of-a-kind school draws both native and non-native Americans from across the country who wish to explore their artistic abilities while learning more about the diverse range of native cultures in their homeland. VOA's Julie Taboh takes us on a tour. 
27
OCT

Turning Relics of War Into Calls for Peace

People in Laos have been converted into everyday items materials from hundreds of millions of bombs dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War. That idea has inspired a New York woman to make jewelry from the fragments of bombs and use some of the profits to help Laos clear millions of explosives that never went off. Valdya Baraputri reports.
27
OCT

Colorado City Teams With Jaipur, India, to Celebrate Literature

The Jaipur Literature Festival began in the city of Jaipur, India. With 300 speakers and over 500 million visitors every year, it is the world's largest free literary festival. The festival also travels internationally. One stop is Boulder, Colorado. Shelley Schlender reports.
 
25
OCT

Baseball Brings Sense of Unity to Politically Divided Washington

In international diplomacy, sports can sometimes act to bridge bitter divides between longstanding rivals. A similar unifying force could be at work, at least temporarily, in America's politically-polarized capital city. VOA’s Brian Padden reports, Democrats and Republicans are coming together to support the Washington Nationals baseball team playing in Major League Baseball's World Series.
25
OCT

Baseball Brings Sense of Unity to Politically Divided Washington

In international diplomacy, sports can sometimes act to bridge bitter divides between longstanding rivals. A similar unifying force could be at work, at least temporarily, in America's politically-polarized capital city.Thousands of Washington Nationals fans of all political stripes came to watch parties in their home ballpark this week, as their team won the first two games of a best-of-seven baseball championship series against the Houston Astros in Texas.
“I think it just gives us something bigger to do, and something bigger to focus on, and gives us all something to be a part of, and pay attention to, and fall in love with all at once," Nationals fan Sharon Schwei told VOA.
The Nationals' first-ever World Series appearance is a joyful spectacle in a city often consumed by partisan battles. Political tensions in the nation’s capital are at an all time high with Democrats holding an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, and many Republicans are crying foul.WATCH: What is the World Series?
Explainer: World Series video player.
In the midst of the acrimony, Nationals fans are finding ample reason to root and cheer in unison, regardless of party affiliation.
“I think it brings everyone together, everyone with different political opinions, different other viewpoints in life," Nationals fan Alli told VOA.
Some fans hope a sense of unity sparked by the Nationals will reduce partisan strife in the city.
“It should. After the Nationals win, I think both parties should come together and be one," fan Jeff Semon said.Washington Nationals' Juan Soto and Asdrubal Cabrera celebrate after Game 2 of the baseball World Series against the Houston Astros, Oct. 24, 2019, in Houston.Sports can open the door to political reconciliation. In 2018, relations between North and South Korea improved significantly after the two rivals participated together in the PyeongChang winter Olympics.Other Nationals fans are less optimistic that a winning baseball team will lessen Washington's bitter political divide.
 
“I don't think it will last. I mean it kind of ebbs and flows," fan Edison Rolle said. "You know we're like at each other's neck for a while and then something bonding happens.”Washington sports teams have been on a roll.The Washington Mystics professional female basketball team won its first-ever title earlier this month.Last year, the Washington Capitals ice hockey team won its first Stanley Cup championship.Win or lose, the Nationals already are the toast of Washington, giving the city a welcome diversion when it needs it most.
25
OCT

Cambodian Musicians Heal Through Music

The power of music and art to influence generations is well documented, and that's sometimes why authoritarian regimes tend to silence artists. The brutal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia is no different and a huge percentage of Cambodia's musicians and artists were killed during the Pol Pot Regime. But some remember, and their tales can now be heard. VOA's Chetra Chap reports.
25
OCT

Baseball Brings Sense of Unity to Politically Divided Washington 

In international diplomacy, sports can sometimes act to bridge bitter divides between longstanding rivals. A similar unifying force could be at work, at least temporarily, in America's politically polarized capital city. VOA's Brian Padden reports, Democrats and Republicans are coming together to support the Washington Nationals baseball team playing in Major League Baseball's World Series.

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