If you're a fan of the stage and lamenting the lack of theater performances for the foreseeable future, here's some good news.
Famed Broadway musical writer Andrew Lloyd Webber shared a video announcing that Universal is launching a new YouTube channel dedicated to stage-to-screen musicals. The channel is called "The Shows Must Go On," and it will air a different show every Friday—but just for 48 hours.
The first musical, airing April 3, will be Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starring Donny Osmond and Joan Collins. Next week, for Good Friday April 10, the channel will air Jesus Christ Superstar. The rest of the schedule will be announced at a later time.
With theater ticket prices out of the reach of many—even when we're not in the midst of a global pandemic—this is a great opportunity to see a stage production for free. You can find the YouTube channel here.
The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.
According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.
The French Bulldog’s popularity has grown exponentially over the past decade. They were the #14 most popular breed in 2012, and since then, registrations have gone up 1,000%, bringing them to the top of the breed popularity rankings.
The AKC says that the American Hairless Terrier, Gordon Setter, Italian Greyhound and Anatolian Shepherd Dog also grew in popularity between 2021 and 2022.
The French Bulldog was famous among America’s upper class around the turn of the 20th century but then fell out of favor. Their resurgence is partly based on several celebrities who have gone public with their Frenchie love. Leonardo DiCaprio, Megan Thee Stallion, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga all own French Bulldogs.
The breed earned a lot of attention as show dogs last year when a Frenchie named Winston took second place at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and first in the National Dog Show.
They’ve also become popular because of their unique look and personalities.
“They’re comical, friendly, loving little dogs,” French Bull Dog Club of America spokesperson Patty Sosa told the AP. She said they are city-friendly with modest grooming needs and “they offer a lot in a small package.”
They are also popular with people who live in apartments. According to the AKC, Frenchies don’t bark much and do not require a lot of outdoor exercise.
The French Bulldog stands out among other breeds because it looks like a miniature bulldog but has large, expressive bat-like ears that are its trademark feature. However, their popularity isn’t without controversy. “French bulldogs can be a polarizing topic,” veterinarian Dr. Carrie Stefaniak told the AP.
French Bulldogs have been bred to have abnormally large heads, which means that large litters usually need to be delivered by C-section, an expensive procedure that can be dangerous for the mother. They are also prone to multiple health problems, including skin, ear, and eye infections. Their flat face means they often suffer from respiratory problems and heat intolerance.
Frenchies are also more prone to spine deformations and nerve pain as they age.
Here are the AKC’s top ten most popular dog breeds for 2022.
TikTok creator gives people 5 questions to ask potential employers.
You know the end of the interview where they ask, "Do you have any questions for us?" It's a dreaded question for a lot of people. Even though you know it's coming, the question still catches you off guard and you wind up asking something possibly irrelevant or nothing at all. Then the whole ride home, approximately fifteen questions pop into your head.
But don't you fret, because TikTok creator Kyyah Abdul has a list of five questions to keep tucked in your brain's pocket to close out an interview. And folks in the comments are applauding the creator's ability to figure out if the company is a fit for you and clarify any concerns the interviewer may have. Her advice was so genius that even a person who is involved in candidate recruitment chimed in saying, "Being in both senior leadership and directly involved in candidate recruitment, these questions are fire. 10/10 recommend."
The video has well over 800,000 views on TikTok and nearly 200,000 likes. In the nearly 3-minute video, Abdul is sitting in her car and explains how one of her questions always trips up interviewers, but says, "It would give me the opportunity to address any concerns they had as a result of my interview."
One of the first questions on her list is, "How do you and senior leadership respond to errors made in the workplace?"
Most people who have held more than one job have experienced being in an environment where minor mistakes were ridiculed or caused you to be micromanaged. So asking this sort of question in the interview seems like it would give you a better understanding of that company's work environment.
Some commenters have tried her methods and others are eager to continue to soak up her knowledge.
"I always incorporate your questions and am told that this was the best interview they ever had," one commenter wrote.
"This is the first interview question video I've seen NOT from a recruiter or manager. And it was actually really helpful. Thank you so much," someone else wrote.
"I used these questions during my last interview and they thought I was brilliant," another person said.
Clearly viewers think Abdul's interview hacks are invaluable. Watch the video below to hear the rest of the questions:
Dillon Helbig's 81-page graphic novel captured the hearts of his local librarians.
Writing a book is no easy task, even for adult professional writers. Many would-be authors dream of a day when their work can be found on library shelves, unsure if it will ever come.
But for 8-year-old Dillon Helbig, that day has already arrived—in truly unconventional fashion—thanks to his own determination to make it happen.
Dillon wrote his 81-page graphic novel, "The Adventures of Dillon Helbig's Crismis" (written by "Dillon His Self") in a hardcover journal with colored pencils over the course of a few days. He even put a label on the back of the book that reads "Made in Idho" [sic] and put an illustrated spine label on it as well. Then, without telling anyone, he brought it to his local library in Boise, Idaho, and slipped it in among the books in the children's section.
The library Facebook page shared that it had officially added the book to the collection at the branch, writing, "Imagine our surprise yesterday when Dillon's mom called to tell us that her son had authored an entire book, shelved it at the Lake Hazel Branch, then announced to his family later that he had written a book and it could be checked out at the library."
The library also announced that Dillon's book had won the first-ever Whoodini Award for Best Young Novelist—an award created in his honor.
Dillon told local news station KTVB that the book features him, his mom, Santa, a bomb, a portal and a giant carnivorous turkey. Because of course.
"I've been wanting to put a book in the library since I was five," Dillon told the station. Nearly half his life, in other words.
Dillon said there were a lot of librarians he had to sneak past with his book to surreptitiously put it on the shelf, but he did it.
"I'll always be sneaky, like how I get chocolate," he explained. Classic.
The adults on every front handled this kid's creativity and determination the best possible way. His mom called the library to let them know the book was there so it wouldn't get lost or taken. And rather than just returning the book, the librarians actually put it into circulation.
"His parents were worried we would find his book and we would get rid of it," Lake Hazel Branch Library manager Alex Hartman told KTVB. "Which was an unfounded fear because if there's ever a place a book would be safe, it would be here."
The librarians loved Dillon's book.
“It deserves a spot on our library shelves,” said Hartman. “It’s a good story.”
At the time of this local news report, the book had a handful of people in line to check it out. But The New York Times reports that as of the end of January, the waiting list has grown to a whopping 56 people. If each person kept the book for the maximum four-week checkout period it would take four years to get to the people at the bottom of the list.
The experience has made Dillon decide to become an author, his mom said, and he even has some career goals laid out.
“I’m going to stop writing when I’m 40,” Dillon said. After that, he will switch to game creation. In the meantime, he has a sequel to his first novel in the works.
“My next book is going to be called ‘The Jacket-Eating Closet,’" he said, "based on actual events.”
Amazing. Kudos to Dillon for following his dream and making it happen, kudos to his mom for encouraging him and kudos to the librarians who saw an opportunity to support a child's creativity and ran with it.
Hip-hop Irish dancing is kind of the coolest thing ever.
If you somehow missed Irish dance extraordinaire and viral sensation Morgan Bullock, you’re in for a treat.
Back in 2020, the then 20-year-old performer posted a video of her jigging to a remixed version of Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage,” also featuring the vocals of Beyoncé. As the internet is wont to fawn over unexpected mashups, it’s no wonder that the clip sent folks into a frenzy online.
Honestly, after watching Bullock’s slick, rhythmic choreography perfectly complement the song’s attitude, you might start thinking Irish dancing and hip-hop are a match made in music heaven.
Once Bullock’s video started gaining traction, the compliments began rolling in, including from those who felt like she was putting a positive, modern day spotlight on the traditional dance.
Here are just a few comments scattered throughout social media:
“From all in Ireland, we love what you are doing. Well done and we here appreciate such a wonderful dancer.”
“This makes Ireland proud. Maith thu 🇮🇪🇺🇸”
“Old Irish-American guy here: you are WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!! The world needs more artistry such as yours.”
Though she had trained in various styles her whole life, Bullock told Good Morning America that she became “mesmerized” by Irish dancing the moment she first saw it, and quickly gravitated towards it—even dreaming of one day performing with the world-renowned Riverdance troupe.
That dream came true. Below is a picture of Bullock, making her debut as the first Black female Irish dancer to tour with Riverdance ever. TikTok really can be a wonderful thing.
Robert Smith of The Cure was already a hero to five decades of disaffected youth, including the creators of “South Park,” but now everyone has a reason to love the “Close to Me” singer. He got Ticketmaster to admit it was gouging customers and got them a refund.
The Cure went out of its way to ensure that ticket prices to its upcoming North American tour were affordable to the average fan by selling them as low as $20. The band also used Ticketmaster’s “verified fan” process to cut down on scalpers and prevent fans from having to pay inflated prices on resale sites.
But the band had no power over the egregious fees that Ticketmaster tacks on to every sale. The band wouldn't agree to dynamic pricing—where ticket prices fluctuate based on demand—so it appears as though Ticketmaster simply raised its fees per ticket.
Britpop legend Tim Burgess of The Charlatans UK called out Ticketmaster’s ridiculous prices by posting a photo of someone being charged $92 in fees for purchasing four $20 tickets. The fees cost more than the tickets themselves!
Smith called out Ticketmaster on Twitter.
“I am as sickened as you all are by today’s Ticketmaster ‘fees’ debacle,” Smith wrote in an all-caps Twitter thread. “To be very clear, the artist has no way to limit them. I have been asking how they are justified. If I get anything coherent by way of an answer I will let you all know…There are tickets available, it is just a very slow process. I will be back if I get anything serious on the TM fees.”
The Cure and their fans' collective outrage over Ticketmaster's exorbitant fees must have struck a nerve with the company, and it responded by doing the unthinkable: giving fans refunds.
“After further conversation, Ticketmaster have agreed with us that many of the fees being charged are unduly high, and as a gesture of goodwill have offered a $10 per ticket refund to all verified fan accounts for the lowest ticket price transaction,” Smith wrote. “And a $5 per ticket refund to all verified fan accounts for other ticket price transactions for all Cure shows at all venues.”
Ticketmaster’s sudden, surprising generosity comes as it is under scrutiny from the government for potentially being a monopoly. In a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, Clyde Lawrence, a singer-songwriter in the New York City-based band Lawrence, made the case that Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, puts performers in an unfair position.
“In a world where the promoter and the venue are not affiliated with each other, we can trust that the promoter will look to get the best deal from the venue; however, in this case the promoter and the venue are part of the same corporate entity so the line items are essentially Live Nation negotiating to pay itself,” Lawrence said.
Ticketmaster has also been targeted by the Biden administration in its push to pass the Junk Free Prevention Act. Biden has urged Ticketmaster to lower “the huge service fees” that companies “slap on to tickets for concerts or sporting events that can easily add hundreds of bucks to a family’s night out.”
Two northern cardinals captured on Carla Rhodes' bird-feeder camera.
The pandemic has caused many people to reevaluate their surroundings. When you’re stuck at home more often than you’d like, you start to pay a lot more attention to what goes on in your own backyard.
This type of introspection inspired wildlife photographer Carla Rhodes to get a closer look at the furry friends that live near her home in the Catskill mountains of New York.
What she found was magical.
“The winter of 2020-2021 was particularly brutal to humankind. After months of enduring the Covid-19 pandemic, we were now collectively slogging through winter. As a result of being stuck at home, I focused on my immediate surroundings like never before,” Rhodes said in a statement.
Rhodes positioned a DSLR camera trap beneath her bird feeder to get an up-close glimpse of the wildlife that came to sample her delicious seeds. The results are an incredible series of photos of birds and other woodland creatures from a vantage point most people never see. Rhodes calls her project, "Beneath the Bird Feeder."
The birdfeeder photos also gave a new glimpse into the behavior of several species of birds and rodents that call the Catskills home.
“As I got deeper into the project, intriguing observations emerged,” Rhodes says. “I noticed distinct repeat visitors such as a Dark-Eyed Junco with an overgrown beak, a deer mouse with a notched ear, and an irruption of Red-Breasted Nuthatches. Dark-Eyed Juncos always showed up at the crack of dawn and Northern Cardinals would always be the last visitor of the day as dusk turned into evening.”
Here are 15 of the most captivating photos that Rhodes captured from beneath her bird feeder.
"Often overlooked and considered drab ground-feeding birds, Dark-Eyed Juncos hold a special place in my heart due to their funny and curious behaviors. Every day they were first to arrive beneath the bird feeder," Rhodes says. "Dark-Eyed Juncos were one of the most frequent and curious subjects beneath the bird feeder."
"Observing Mourning Doves was a daily pleasure, especially when they gathered to form a clean-up crew beneath the bird feeder. Mourning doves are monogamous and possibly mate for life," Rhodes writes.
"Blue Jays are known for their intelligence and complex social systems with tight family bonds," All About Birds says. "Their fondness for acorns is credited with helping spread oak trees after the last glacial period."
"Little flocks of Black-capped Chickadees enliven the winter woods with their active behavior and their cheery-sounding chick-a-dee callnotes as they fly from tree to tree, often accompanied by an assortment of nuthatches, creepers, kinglets, and other birds," the Audubon field guide to North American birds says.