The ‘Counting On’ star and his wife tied the knot on Saturday.
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The ‘Counting On’ star and his wife tied the knot on Saturday.
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His four children think he’s embarrassing. His wife worries he’ll get hurt. But 60-year-old Ben Hart is addicted to breakdancing.
Mr. Hart may not win any competitions, but he’s a fan favorite, garnering 27,000-plus Instagram views in hours.
“The first time I watched a competition I was in awe of the athleticism,” he says of breaking, which he first saw up close in 2011. “I was intimidated to try it.” Although he could barely do a basic move—one veteran told him he looked like he was in the Ice Capades—he says breaking was more fun than the treadmill.
Mr. Hart, an advertising copywriter who works from his homes in Chicago and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., used to run and lift weights. He wasn’t seeing results. So he hired well-known Chicago breakdancer Shorty Brick to give him lessons. After one year of breaking he lost 30 pounds. “It’s like nonstop sprinting,” he says. “It’s more dance than sport, but with an athletic component that is very dynamic and explosive.”
B-boying or b-girling, as breaking is also known, consists of three main elements. Top rock moves are performed standing up. Down rock moves like drops and spins take place on the floor. And a freeze is a pose where the dancer stops moving mid-set, often while balancing.
“Top rock is just dancing on your feet, but there are certain moves basic to b-boying that give it a certain look,” Mr. Hart says.
Mr. Hart competes under the b-boy name Benihana, a riff on his name that a friend came up with. Competitions are known as battles and dancers don’t get to choose their music. The beats constantly change throughout the performance. “Musicality is the hardest part for me,” he says. “I didn’t grow up with this music culture, and trying to flow on-beat is a struggle.”
He says breaking has also allowed him the opportunity to interact with communities he probably would not have found otherwise. “I’ve met so many creative people,” he says. Most are decades younger.
He recently competed in the 2018 Silverback Open Championships in Philadelphia, which included some of the world’s top breakers. Mr. Hart didn’t advance beyond the preliminaries. “At my age, I may not break well, but it’s amazing I break at all,” he says.
Mr. Hart calls himself fanatical about practicing 90 minutes to two hours a day in his basement. He runs through foundational footwork sequences. He warms up with moves like the six-step, where he uses his hands to support his upper body as he takes six steps to move his legs in a circle. “It’s like trying to do the gymnastics pommel horse but on the floor,” he says.
He can now do 100 push-ups while holding various breaking poses. He throws push-ups between his six-step moves in workouts and can push up into a handstand. He practices windmills, a move where he rolls across his upper chest, shoulders and back while twirling his legs in a V-shape in the air, and spins on his head. He stretches throughout the day.
On Wednesday nights he practices for up to three hours at a community outreach space in a Chicago suburb. “I lose about 4 pounds of water weight from breaking so hard,” he says. He competes locally almost every weekend.
“I don’t pay that much attention to my diet,” Mr. Hart confesses. “Frankly, I like McDonald’s and pizza.” He has been trying to eat a more balanced diet, adding vegetables, fish and lean protein to his meals. Breakfast is fruit and eggs. A McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese is still often lunch. His wife prepares healthy dinners of chicken and salad. His splurge is a steak from Morton’s the Steakhouse. Trail mix, bananas and water fuel him through breakdancing competitions.
“One of the appeals is that there is basically no cost,” he says. “You just need to find some floor space.” He put a 12-foot-by-12-foot sheet of vinyl on top of carpet padding on his basement floor.
His Wednesday night sessions are free to the public. Most breakers wear track suits. “Polyester or acrylic fabrics are slippery and make it easier to spin on the floor,” he says.
Mr. Hart goes for a “man off the street” look. He often wears a Hawaiian shirt. He says you want shoes that shuffle but don’t slide, and you want to avoid a big heel. Converse and Puma work well, he says. He says it isn’t cool to wear a cap, but he wears a padded headspin beanie ($27). “I’m bald and the floor hurts,” he explains. He also wears wrist guards.
He likes listening to “Now We Are Free,” the instrumental theme song from “Gladiator,” while working out at home. “Personally, I don’t like breaking music,” he says. “I prefer club music. It’s easier for me to follow.”
Breakdancing is an urban dance style that originated in the mid-1970s on the streets and clubs of New York City. The earliest innovators were young African-American and Puerto Rican dancers. By the mid-1980s, breaking had become a global phenomenon.
The first large-scale, formally judged breakdancing competition, now known as the Battle of the Year, took place in 1990. It attracted breaking crews, or teams, from around the world.
Today, there is an active competitive scene with professional tours. Events in competitions consist of battles between two breakers or two teams. Dancers are judged on technique and variety, musicality and performance, and creativity and personality. The International Olympic Committee added breaking to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, which took place in Buenos Aires in October.
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When Olivier Rousteing received a fashion-industry award in New York last month, the designer didn’t accept the award alone. Instead, he took the stage surrounded by models and other members of his “Balmain Army.”
Such unorthodox gestures are typical of the 33-year-old Mr. Rousteing, a playful disrupter of luxury fashion’s tradition and snobbery. Since becoming creative director of French house Balmain in 2011, he has favored a populist ethos rather than the elitist one that is in the DNA of many high-end labels.
Mr. Rousteing, (pronounced roo-STAHH), championed hip-hop music and performers like Rihanna and reality-TV fixture Kim Kardashian before other designers did. He also embraced racial diversity at a time when many luxury brands were ignoring the issue.
Adopted from an orphanage by a white couple in Bordeaux when he was five months, Mr. Rousteing believes he is of mixed race and considers himself black. “All my life people might just say you’re not black and you’re not white, but I was black enough to be called a black designer because of the lack of diversity in fashion,” said Mr. Rousteing, who is shooting a documentary about his life in which he tries to trace his origins. His Balmain appointment made him the first black creative director of a big luxury label in many years and the youngest creative director of a major fashion house since Yves Saint Laurent.
When he started Instagramming in 2012, most luxury brands and designers were still controlling their images tightly to preserve a certain mystique. “I remember people were like, ‘You cannot show so much about yourself,’ ” he said. “They were asking me to be a bit snobbish and I was like, ‘This is not right. This is now, what is happening today.’ ” Mr. Rousteing’s 5 million followers gobble up a stream of selfies and other glimpses of his life, such as outfitting Beyoncé for Coachella or attending the Met Gala. “I think this was my own way to say I’m not snobbish,” he said.
His flashy, unapologetically sexy designs feature “a lot of bling and a lot of shine,” he said, their crisp tailoring conveying confident authority. “Balmainiacs” range from 23-year-old model Kendall Jenner to her mother Kris and France’s first lady Brigitte Macron. Mr. Rousteing spoke to the Journal recently while in New York. Edited excerpts:
Can luxury designer brands no longer afford to be snobbish or aloof?
I think they are scared to not be cool…I think the “trend” today is trying to not be snobbish. It’s funny to see that because the world of fashion will change and the people that will actually have successes are the people who are sticking to who they are. This is because right now you can recognize a brand that is trying to copy another and you can recognize a brand that actually sticks to who it is and really what it believes in.
You set out to make fashion less snobbish and exclusive. But doesn’t it need to be exclusive?
I think fashion needs to be exclusive, but exclusive doesn’t mean not being inclusive. Fashion still needs to be a dream world, something that you kind of look up to…But it has to be more inclusive, because the new generation…needs to identify themselves. My work and my vision are about saying to the next generation: “I will make sure that you can identify yourself into your dreams.”
Do fashion gatekeepers still exist?
We are living in a world where the consumers are stronger than the reviewers. Everybody has his own aesthetic, has his own taste, and no one is going to tell you what is beautiful or what is not beautiful, what is cool or what is not cool.
Where we are with diversity in the fashion industry?
Right now a lot of people talk about diversity, which makes me really proud because that was a fight I had about eight years ago when I started at Balmain. And I can tell you that that word diversity was not a trend word. A lot of people were saying the way that I was so inclusive was kind of cheapening the fashion world…I see some people today talking about inclusivity that were really actually exclusive three years ago! We have to be careful and not just say diversity’s cool. Because it’s not about being trendy, it’s about pushing the world to go for a vision and an acceptance of what is the world today.
Why do you think there aren’t more successful black designers?
There have always been incredible black designers. But I think before they were not recognized. The difference is that right now, finally, we can recognize them.
At Balmain’s most recent fashion show, why did you incorporate virtual-reality technology?
I wanted to be more inclusive. It was really important to open the fashion shows to a bigger audience.
By not just livestreaming your show?
It’s the next step. Because the livestream is great but the VR with Oculus (a maker of virtual-reality headsets) is like you’re sitting at the show…My goal will be in a few years to make sure that the show can be seen by millions and millions of people that feel like they are sitting there.
You have praised Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld as “the best fashion inspiration in life.” Any others at heritage fashion houses with his gift for courting millennials and not alienating older customers?
No. For me, Karl is the only one that has understood everything about fashion. He had a really old French house and made it really cool and still really relevant. He’s really close to pop culture and at the same time has the old tradition of France. And it’s not about putting sneakers on the runway.
What is the fashion industry’s biggest challenge?
I feel like this is a transition. Everybody’s going to go back to quality. To luxury. To creativity. The biggest challenge for the fashion industry is defining the codes of what is fashion. Who will remain in the fashion business will be people that actually embrace the new world, and who won’t is people that will never understand. Fashion houses, all of them, have codes. But now is the time for defining the new codes and pushing the limits of precedent and pushing the limits of a lot of people that might be like, “Oh, we never do that at the house.” But maybe it’s time for you to do it.
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For many of the characters that populate DC Universe’s Titans, the show is about their origin story. When it came to Robin and his journey into becoming Nightwing, the show decided to take a similar approach. If you are curious why, Titans‘ executive producer Geoff Johns has revealed the answer, saying:
What Geoff Johns told DC Comics lines up with what has previously been shared regarding Dick Grayson’s journey in Titans‘ first season. Fans got their first taste of how the split between Dick and Batman was going in the trailer for Titans. Given what Dick said, it was easy to figure out — he has some issues with his former mentor.
It is safe to say that Geoff Johns and company made the right call. Skipping over the beats of Dick Grayson’s life post-Batman would have been a mistake. There is a lot of angst to sift through, and Titans‘ approach has paved the way to explore that. Who is Robin without Batman? Dick Grayson and Batman share a past, and that impact should be felt for some time. Whether they are working together or not.
They shared an intense period of time together as vigilantes. That is life or death stuff right there. Plus, there is the aspect of Batman sort of being Dick’s only family for a while. Having that sort of connection with someone is pretty special. You cannot walk away without some emotional repercussions.
Considering the way things are between Dick Grayson and Batman, focusing on the angle of Grayson sorting things out also gives the show somewhere to go. It makes his eventual evolution into Nightwing something Titans can follow from its genesis. Since Dick is so far removed from where he will eventually be, that may take multiple seasons. Thank goodness, the show was already renewed for a second!
The cause of Robin’s split with Batman was previously hinted at by actor Brenton Thwaites. He plays Dick Grayson/Robin in the new series. Thwaites shared that, as Titans‘ first season progressed, fans would learn more about the backstory behind Dick’s decision to part ways with Batman. Dick had to draw the line somewhere with his now ex-mentor. Despite being out of Batman’s orbit, he will continue to feel the impact of being his protégé.
Find out how, when new episodes of Titans premiere every Friday on DC Universe. The superhero drama is among a bunch of new content offerings available to stream this fall.
During the opening ceremony (via Eurogamer), Blizzard announced Warcraft 3: Reforged as a brand new game set to re-release for the masses in 2019, exclusively on PC … well, for now. I could definitely see Blizzard announcing that the game will also appear on the Nintendo Switch at some point, given that the Switch is one of the few gaming devices actually designed to take advantage of control schemes built for real-time strategy games, thanks to the gyroscopic and accelerometer mechanics, as well as the touchscreen support.
You know how there was all this big news about a new breakfast cereal coming out for Overwatch? And that the new meal product could be designed to help bolster your mornings as the most important meal of the day? Well, it turns out that the cereal is real, and it is coming, but it also doubles as a loot box of sorts.
During this year’s opening ceremony at BlizzCon, the company confirmed the rumors that an official Overwatch cereal is coming soon, as reported by Game Informer. The cereal is real and you can eat it, but it’s also a form of getting your hands on a loot box. Yes, Blizzard found a way to still get gamers to cash in on the loot boxes, even via cereal. Inside every box of the Overwatch-themed cereal you’ll find a code that can be redeemed for a special loot box. Blizzard is calling it a “Loot Boost,” and it will unlock some kind of content within Overwatch once you redeem the code.
The article doesn’t go into depth as to what your odds are of getting anything good out of the loot box, nor does it describe what kind of content the loot box is expected to contain. For now, all you can know is that the cereal will contain a loot box code and it can be redeemed. In some ways, I can definitely imagine some kids trying to convince their parents to buy them a bunch of cereal boxes just so they can redeem as many loot boxes as possible.
The loot box craze has caused some trouble for a few publishers — namely Activision and EA, the two foremost AAA companies that have been reliant on loot boxes for many of its properties. A few countries have banned loot boxes altogether, given that they were labeled as gambling, and the only way to include loot boxes would be to acquire a gambling license. Games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, FIFA, and NBA 2K were all affected, along with Overwatch. Blizzard had to remove the loot boxes from the game in Belgium and the Netherlands, which means that you likely won’t be seeing the cereal make an appearance in those regions (or at least, not with the inclusion of the free loot box redemption code).
Nevertheless, loot boxes won’t be going anywhere anytime soon in the U.S., which is why the upcoming cereal that Blizzard is making in collaboration with Kellogg’s will come with the loot box redemption code. The cereal is called Lucio-Oh’s, and if you’re in any way familiar with the way most cereals work, whenever they end in an “Oh’s” or an “O’s,” typically the cereal itself consists of a bunch of donut-shaped loops with artificial flavoring. In that regard, Lucio-Oh’s doesn’t disappoint.
Starting in December, you can look to get your hands on the cereal — which features the Brazilian maestro Lucio on the cover.
Priyanka Chopra‘s bachelorette party—make that a bachelorette weekend—is underway, and honestly, the photos that have been posted from the trip so far look amazing. If you haven’t heard, she’s getting ready to marry Nick Jonas, reportedly in Jodhpur, India on December 2: The two had a traditional Hindu engagement ceremony earlier this year, and last Sunday, Chopra had her bridal shower at the iconic Manhattan location of Tiffany’s (wearing a feathery bridal gown, no less).
We spotted the celebrations on Priyanka’s Instagram page, where she put up a picture of her on an Amsterdam canal. In the photo, she’s smiling gorgeously—and her engagement ring is sparkling in the light. She’s also still going strong with the feather motif, too; this time, however, they’re a detail on her sweater rather than on a wedding dress—though we wouldn’t be surprised if they make another appearance as an appliqué on her gown on the big day.
Nick’s mom also had a playful message for her future daughter-in-law: “Be good!” she commented on Priyanka’s post.
The festivities seem to continue under the hashtag #pcsbachelorette with pics posted by both Chopra and her friend, filmmaker Shrishti Behl Arya (she posted the below Stories). From Arya’s stories alone, the weekend looks like a great time, what with the canal cruising, buckets of champagne, and incredible lunch spreads.
Chopra also captured the sweet bouquet of roses on her Stories:
It’s obviously a trip to remember for a lifetime—here’s hoping we get a few more glimpses of the bachelorette weekend before it’s over.
When A Star Is Born was released last month, it was the culmination of an 11-year journey for Warner Bros. and at one point, Clint Eastwood tapped to direct and Beyoncé as its lead. One of the film’s longtime producers, Bill Gerber recently opened up about why the previous iteration was dropped– later replaced by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga to center stage. Here’s what he said:
Nabbing one of the world’s most celebrated vocalist Beyoncé and actor/director Clint Eastwood for a project must have felt monumental for the producer, until it wasn’t. According to his comments to The Hollywood Reporter, the project didn’t fit in either of their lives at the time. Timing just wasn’t on Bill Gerber’s side when he had the two big names on the project. If a A Star Is Born was made with these talents, it would have certainly been a completely different film. Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Christian Bale were also linked to play the male lead.
Producer Bill Gerber had just worked with Clint Eastwood on 2008’s Gran Torino when the idea for a remake of A Star is Born began its slow development, making him a natural choice as director. When Eastwood dropped the project, Bradley Cooper had worked with him on American Sniper and was looking for a directorial debut. The actor said he had things he wanted to explore in a movie to call his own such as trauma, family, a love story and with music.
A Star Is Born fit the bill perfectly and became the emotional musical masterpiece we’ve seen on screen. Lady Gaga was also rising actor with her Golden Globe win for American Horror Story: Hotel primed for a proper film debut.
While the idea of Beyoncé in a role such as Ally’s in A Star is Born sounds like an incredible choice and Clint Eastwood has directed some impressive films, now that we’ve seen Bradley Cooper’s film I wouldn’t want to see it made it any other way. The story’s backbone has been told three times before under the same name, but the 2018 release felt completely unique and is a powerful accomplishment for Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. The pair seemed to have completely understood each other’s vision, and made the film a passion project in a way no other team could have pulled off.
While the film gave Lady Gaga the opportunity shine on the big screen, we especially hope Beyoncé returns to star in a film of her own with music someday.
A Star is Born is still in theaters and a potential Oscars frontrunner as award season continues to unfold.
One of the most talked-about projects coming out of Blizzard’s development studios is the World of Warcraft Classic. It’s exactly what it sounds like — a throwback to the classic edition of World of Warcraft, when times were simpler and expansion packs were nil. During this year’s BlizzCon, the company unveiled the release date for the upcoming vanilla server.
During the BlizzCon opening ceremony (via Gamespot), it was revealed that World of Warcraft Classic will make its grand debut next year during the summer of 2019 for PC gamers. If you already have a subscription to the standard World of Warcraft, you’ll be able to get in on the classic action without having to pay anything else. So premium subscribers get to play it for free.
As a way to help ease gamers back into the fold — as well as to take notes and build up feedback on performance, stability, and features — there is a demo available for those who purchased a BlizzCon ticket. And yes, this applies to both the physical and virtual tickets, so you don’t have to worry about having appeared in person at this year’s event, nor do you have to worry about having logged into the livestream.
You’ll be able to hop into the demo and play-test the various character classes up until level 19. However, you won’t be able to start from scratch. The classes are preset at level 15, so you’ll only really get to stretch your class-legs for four levels. Even still, it will give you access to some of the classic class structures from the old vanilla World of Warcraft from a long, long time ago. The demo will be playable from now up until November 8th, so you’ll only really have a week to get in some game time with the re-release of the classic MMO.
As noted by Gamespot, There’s also a 60-minute time limit implemented into the demo, and a 90-minute cool down period, so that they can keep the servers moving at an even clip. So you won’t be able to server-camp the demo and play all day every day. You’ll only be able to play a couple of times throughout each day, and only for an hour at a time. Some people may not like that but it’s to ensure that the servers don’t get overcrowded during the demo testing. Besides, you can still play the Battle for Azeroth if you really need a WoW fix for the interim.
Now despite it being a classic re-release, there are some new features that are being added in, including Battle.net’s social support and other quality of life features relating to graphics and display options. But for the most part it’s a throwback to the classic WoW experience.
It was born out of a strong desire and inclination from nearly one million gamers who wanted to play classic World of Warcraft. It originated from the Nostalrius Begins legacy server, which serviced more than 800,000 users before Blizzard had the private server shut down on copyright grounds. Former World of Warcraft developer Mark Kern attempted to broker a peace treaty between gamers and Blizzard by getting the company to reconsider releasing a classic vanilla version of the popular MMO, and it turns out that Blizzard was willing to play ball.
If you don’t get in on the demo this month, you can look for the full World of Warcraft Classic launch to take place next summer.
There is some bad news and some good news, Doctor Who fans. But let’s begin with the bad, before ending on a high note. Doctor Who is breaking tradition, opting not to do a Christmas special this year. As fans know, the sci-fi series has featured a Christmas Day special since the reboot premiered in 2005. Well, things are changing.
Instead of the annual Christmas special, Doctor Who fans will get to kick 2019 off with a New Year special instead. For those who enjoy theme episodes, they can rest assured that the special’s storyline will acknowledge it. The plot of the installment will relate to the dawn of 2019, per The Daily Mirror.
You may be wondering why the show decided to forego the annual special. Well, Doctor Who‘s head honchos apparently cited a lack of original ideas as the cause. Given that the series had delivered 13 consecutive years of Christmas specials, it makes sense. Showrunner Chris Chibnall made the ultimate call.
Who is to say they will not eventually return to doing Christmas specials in the future? Maybe a one-year break will be all they need to get festive plot ideas circulating again. The only way to know for sure is to keep tuning in.
While the news of losing Doctor Who‘s Christmas special may be disappointing, there is another silver lining to be had. Fans will still get to see an 11th episode of Season 11. But the fandom should savor it. Because according to the report, it is expected to be the only new episode to air in 2019.
The lack of a Christmas episode marks another in a long string of changes the long-running series has undergone recently. Who knows? Maybe Doctor Who is about to set a new trend and New Year’s Day specials will become all the rage. It will be interesting to learn what they have come up with for Season 11’s special installment.
Telling a holiday-related story can be tricky and a bit restrictive, in terms of theme. Whereas, a New Year special has a lot of different directions it could explore. Not to mention, it ties in well with one of the central themes of the show — time.
A new year beginning marks the passing of another one. Perhaps, a wormhole will open during the transition from this particular year to the next. The time for finding out will be here before you know it. Season 11 will end with Episode 10. Meaning the show will sign off in early December.
For U.S. viewers, new episodes of Doctor Who Season 11 air Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on BBC America. New episodes of the sci-fi hit are being accompanied by a myriad of new TV series set to premiere this fall.