The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.
In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.
As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.
And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.
In a TikTok that's been viewed over 17 million times, the Gardiner Brothers don cowboy hats while they step in time to "Texas Hold 'Em," much to the delight of viewers everywhere.
Beyoncé 🤝 Irish dancing #beyonce #countrymusic
Michael and Matthew Gardiner are professional Irish-American stepdancers and choreographers who have gained international fame with their award-winning performances. They've also built a following of millions on social media with videos like this one, where they dance to popular songs, usually in an outdoor environment.
The melding of Irish dance with country music sung by a Black American female artist may seem unlikely, but it could be viewed merely as country music coming back to its roots. After all, country music has its roots in the ballad tradition of the Irish, English and Scottish settlers in the Appalachian region of the U.S. And despite modern country music's struggle to break free from "music for white people" stereotypes, it has roots in African-American traditions as well. For instance, the banjo, which has long been used in bluegrass and country music, was created by enslaved Africans and their descendents during the colonial era, according to The Smithsonian.
People are loving the blending of genres and culture that the TikTok exemplifies.
"Never thought I’d see Irish step dancing while Beyoncé sings country," wrote on commenter. "My life is complete. ♥️"
"So happy Beyoncé dropped this song and exposed my timeline to diversified talent 👏🏽👏🏽," wrote another.
"Beyoncé brought the world together with this song 😭," offered another person.
"Ayeeee Irish Dancing has entered the BeyHive chatroom… WELCOME!! 🔥🔥🔥" exclaimed another.
"I don’t think I can explain how many of my interests are intersecting here," wrote one commenter, reflecting what several others shared as well.
The Beyoncé/Gardiner Brothers combo and the reactions to it are a good reminder that none of us fit into one box of interest or identity. We're all an eclectic mix of tastes and styles, so we can almost always find a way to connect with others over something we enjoy. What better way to be reminded of that fact than through an unexpected mashup that blends the magic of music with the delight of dance? Truly, the arts are a powerful uniting force we should utilize more often.
And for an extra bit of fun, the Gardiner Brothers also shared their bloopers from filming the video. Turns out stepping in the rain isn't as easy as they make it look.
Beyoncé Bloopers #texasholdem #gardinerbrothers
Beyoncé Bloopers #texasholdem #gardinerbrothers
No, you're probably not losing your hearing.
It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.
So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.
They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.
But with today's technology, microphones are so small they can be strapped just about anywhere on an actor. This allows the actor to move about the set freely and speak at a normal volume without worrying that their words won't be picked up. So then why can't we hear them? Turns out it's super complicated…and also not.
"A lot of people will ask, 'Why don't you just turn the dialogue up?' Like, 'Just turn it up.' And...if only it were that simple," Kendrick said before explaining, "If you have your dialogue that's going to be at the same volume as an explosion that immediately follows it, the explosion is not going to feel as big. You need that contrast in volume in order to give your ear a sense of scale."
Sure, you may be thinking, well that kinda explains it, but why do the music and other cinematic noises sound like they're beating on your eardrum while the dialogue sounds like the actors are whispering every line? That doesn't seem very balanced. There's more to it, and again, it falls back onto technology.
In the video, they explain how our televisions are too thin to hold large speakers facing in the correct direction, and until this video, it didn't dawn on me that the speakers to my television are indeed in the back. No wonder we can't hear. The actors are quite literally talking to our walls.
And there's more. Check out the full explanation in the video:
This article originally appeared on 2.1.23
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Math is weird.
On the one hand, it's consistent—the solutions to basic math problems are the same in every country in the world. On the other hand, there are multiple strategies to get to those solutions, and it seems like people are still coming up with new ones (much to the chagrin of parents whose kids need help with homework using methods they've never learned).
Math professor Howie Hua shares math strategies that make math easier on social media, and his videos are fascinating. Hua, who teaches math to future elementary school teachers at Fresno State, demonstrates all kinds of mental math tricks that feel like magic when you try them.
For instance, Hua has two videos showing how easy and quick it is to add multidigit numbers left to right instead of right to left, and it's genuinely mind-blowing.
Check out how he explains why adding left to right is "underrated."
\u201cNew TikTok video: Adding left to right is underrated\u201d— Howie Hua (@Howie Hua) 1665353677
OK, seriously. That is way easier to do in your head. It's basically putting the numbers into expanded form and adding them, which makes it easier to visualize.
Adding this way makes sense, but subtracting is a bit more complicated, right?
Wrong, apparently. Watch Hua work his math sorcery subtracting two and three-digit numbers.
Did you know you can subtract left to right? #math #mathematics #mathtok #maths #teachersoftiktok #teacher #mathtricks #mathtrick
Holy moly. That's faster than the right-to-left, borrow-from-the-next-column method, isn't it? And again, so much easier to visualize what's actually happening, though I don't know if I could fully do this in my head like I could with the left-to-right addition.
Hua recently shared another cool subtraction trick for problems with minuends that have a lot of zeroes. (The minuend is the first number in a subtraction problem. Don't be too impressed. I had to look it up.)
Check this out:
An underrated subtraction strategy #math #mathematics #mathtok #maths #teachersoftiktok #teacher #mathtricks #mathtrick
So simple, so time-saving and so something I would never have figured out on my own.
These tips and tricks might come in handy for anyone, but they're especially useful for kids who are having to do these kinds of math problems at school all the time. Even if they're supposed to solve the problem with a different strategy, these methods can be a quick way to check their answers.
This article originally appeared on 10.12.22
“If we don’t see each other again on this earth, we’ll see each other in heaven."
94-year-old Barbara Carolan of Seabrook, Massachusetts, hadn’t been able to see her 90-year-old sister Shirley, who lives in Nevada, since 2020.When it became clear to Barbara that she might not have much time left to spend with her beloved sister, she prepared to make the 2,700-mile cross country trip to say goodbye.
“They waited so long to see each other, and if you don’t know if you’re going to see someone again, you know, especially siblings, it must be really hard,” Barbara’s granddaughter, Stephanie Atkinson Shively, told told her local news outlet WMUR.Shively volunteered to ride alongside her grandmother and document the trip. In a TikTok video, which has been seen over 13 million times, we see Barbara and Shirley getting emotional while reminiscing.
“We had a wonderful, wonderful time,” Barbara tells Shirley through tears.
“If we don’t see each other [again] on this earth, we’ll see each other in heaven,” her little sister assured.
“You betcha!” Barbara sobs. “You betcha.”
@stephanieatkinson #goodbye #sistersforever #notgoodbye ♬ original sound - Stephanie Atkinson Shively
Needless to say, viewers were struck by the sweet moment.
“There needs to be a category on this app for videos that are guaranteed to make you cry cuz dammit I’m tired of randomly balling my eyes out!” one person wrote.
Another added, “It’s not good bye, it’s see you later. I imagine when we pass, it’ll be like going home. And never again will we have to be separated from the ones we love.”Shively shared several other moments from the journeys, including some pictures of the sisters when they were younger. But the ‘last tearjerker’ showed grandma Barbara waving goodbye as she made her way back home.
There’s a bit of comic relief in this one, as Barbara yells “until we meet again!” and gets “WHAT?!” from Shirley, having to repeat herself a few times.
@stephanieatkinson #sistersforever #notgoodbye #sisterlylove ♬ original sound - Stephanie Atkinson Shively
All in all, just a beautiful, heartwarming reminder to savor our lives, and all the loved ones in it.
Now go hug someone.
This article originally appeared on 9.16.23
Horizn Studios uses cutting edge design, materials, and manufacturing to make high-end luggage, backpacks, and travel accessories that are good for the planet.
Who doesn’t love the thrill of packing their bags, the anticipation of new adventures, and the joy of exploring unseen corners of the world? There’s something magical about travel, about the stories we gather and the memories we create. Yet, in the midst of all this excitement, it’s easy to overlook the ecological footprint we leave behind on the very places we cherish.
As we traverse our beautiful planet, every choice we make matters—including the choices about how we carry our essentials. Luckily, we don’t have to compromise on the way we travel to protect the beauty of our planet. Because a brand called Horizn Studios is redefining what it means to travel with conscience and style.
The Problem With Most Luggage
Few things can elevate your travel game like beautifully designed luggage. Anyone who’s ever gone anywhere knows the right gear can make it easier to move around, catch flights, and navigate unfamiliar terrain. It also provides peace of mind because you know your stuff is safe, secure, and accessible. However, these days we can no longer afford to put style and comfort ahead of the planet.
Right now the world is producing almost 400 million metric tons of plastics per year, and over the last 50 years more than 130 million metric tons of plasticshave accumulated in our oceans, lakes, and rivers. And most travel gear on the market today is part of the problem for two very simple reasons: it’s not built to last, and it’s not made using sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.
But choosing eco-friendly travel gear doesn’t have to mean settling for less. Horizn Studios stands at the forefront of a revolution, crafting luggage, backpacks, and travel accessories that look good and do good.
Driven By Innovation
When it comes to eco-friendly travel gear, Horizn Studios is a revolution on 360° spinner wheels. This company is pushing boundaries with innovative materials and features. It started when they launched the world's first suitcases with removable chargers, which ensure your devices never die when you need them most. But Horizn didn't stop there. Their commitment to a greener future drove them to pioneer the use of recycled polycarbonate and plant-based materials, crafting luggage that's not only durable but also kind to the planet.
Horizn’s quest to innovate also led to cool collaborations with iconic brands like BMW, Beats By Dre, and Soho House, not to mention some of the world’s most acclaimed artists. These partnerships infuse Horizn products with unparalleled ingenuity and style, ensuring that every product, from backpacks to travel accessories, stands at the intersection of high-end functionality and sustainability.
World's Most Sustainable High-End Luggage
At the heart of Horizn Studios' ethos is a deep-rooted commitment to sustainability, a principle that guides every step of their design and manufacturing process. For example, their Circle One collection boasts the world’s first 100% plant-based hard shell. Meanwhile, their RE Series utilizes an impressive 97% recycled polycarbonate.
Horizn’s commitment to sustainability also extends every step of their products’ lifecycle. For example, Horizn’s Stop, Drop & Roll recycling program allows travelers to bring in old luggage (of any make) for proper recycling, offering Horizn store credit in return. For Horizn Studios sustainability isn't just a buzzword. This holistic approach to sustainable travel, from the use of recycled and vegan materials to end-of-life product management, solidifies Horizn as a true leader in the movement toward a more sustainable and mindful way of exploring the world.
Style Meets Functionality
Beyond their commitment to sustainability, what also sets Horizn Studios apart from other brands is their attention to high-end style and innovative functionality. All of their products combine sleek design and high performance durability, so that practicality and style exist in perfect harmony.
When you buy luggage from Horizn Studios you get tons of innovative features. These include things like integrated removable chargers, TSA-approved locks, smart compartments for laptops and other essentials, durable water-resistant fabrics, and ultra-light materials—in other words, the sorts of things that refine and enhance your travel experience.
Travel Products for the Next Generation
Products designed to last five years are manufactured in the cheapest way possible. That’s why they don’t cost very much. If you want quality and sustainability, you have to invest a little more. With Horizn, when you make an investment to enhance travel experience, you know you are getting the best of the best—smart, beautiful luggage that is ethically designed and manufactured from start to finish. And best of all, every piece comes with a lifetime warranty and a risk-free 100-day trial, so you can test the waters with complete confidence.
Are you ready to experience the magic of traveling with luggage that's built to last, designed to impress, and crafted with the future in mind? Take Horizn Studios sustainable luggage on your next adventure.
He might have to change his name to Kevin Beycon.
When Beyoncé dropped two songs from her upcoming album of country tunes, Renaissance: Act II, she may not have expected to make history, but that's exactly what happened. Her first single from the album, "Texas Hold 'Em," shot to the No.1 spot on the Billboard country music charts, making her the first Black female artist to hit that top spot. The catchy tune also topped the Billboard Hot 100 the last week in February 2024, a week after it debuted at No. 2.
Presumbaly, Queen Bey didn't expect her song to become an Irish stepdance hit, though that's also exactly what happened. And surely she didn't expect it to be sung by Kevin Bacon to a bunch of farm animals, yet that also has happened.
Perhaps we should all have expected that, though. There's a precedent here, after all.
Back in the summer of 2022, Kevin Bacon surprised the world by singing and playing a cover of Beyoncé's "Heated" on his guitar while being surrounded by goats on his farm. At that time, many people had not yet discovered that the "Footloose" actor and his wife of 35 years, Kyra Sedgwick, have been living their best life on their Connecticut farm, singing and dancing together with their goats, pigs, alpacas and miniature horses. Now their little videos together regularly become viral delights.
Witness the joy of Kevin Bacon—or King Beycon, if you will—as he strums the mandolin and sings "Texas Hold 'Em" with a little backup from his wife and pigs.
Seriously, whenever you need a break from the challenges of life, head on over to Kevin Bacon's Instagram. It's the quickest way to put a smile on your face, practically guaranteed, and there's frequently some kind of fun surprise. (Like, who knew Kevin Bacon played the mandolin?!)
Unsurprisingly, people are loving it.
"I love how much fun you too have. Loving life," wrote one commenter.
"A couple of goats singing a goat's song on a farm full of goats," wrote another.
"Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra live on their farm, mind their business and spread joy. Occasional acting. 11/10," shared another.
"I just want the kind of joy Kevin and Kyra have, for real," wrote another. Don't we all?
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick have long been seen as #couplegoals by those who follow them. After all, most marriages don't last 35 years, much less those that have been forged in the fires of fame. The two met and married as actors in Hollywood, but have managed to avoid the relationship pitfalls many of their colleagues have fallen into. If their videos are any indication, they are genuinely happy together in a way that all couples strive for, which is inspiring to see.
Perhaps the key is music and farm animals and living far away from the glitz and glam. Or maybe as Sedgwick has said, they just got lucky. Whatever the secret of their sweet relationship, we are here for it.