Fox brings back 'Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?'

27. December 2014 11:03 by Julie Merar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()

Fox is officially bringing back the quiz show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" after the network removed the show from prime time approximately five years ago. The show was syndicated during daytime hours until spring 2011, when it ultimately was canceled. Mark Burnett, executive producer of the show, has been vocal about possibly bringing the show back onto the air for some time. Jeff Foxworthy is making a triumphant return as the host of the family-friendly quiz show, although no official premiere date has been announced. 

'Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?' 
Burnett pitched the quiz show to Fox in 2007 and it was quickly produced and aired only weeks later. The straightforward concept of the show pits adults against kids in a quiz covering grade school-level academic topics such as spelling, art and geography. The quiz is divided up into rounds, with questions slowly becoming more challenging as contestants answer correctly. The rounds are ranked by grade level - first to fifth - with two questions in each round. 

With each question answered correctly, the contestant wins more money, making $500,000 by the time he or she has answered 10 questions. The contestant is then given the opportunity to take on an 11th question that if answered correctly raises the grand prize total to $1 million. Contestants receive a classmate, grade school participants who play alongside the adults and answer questions as well. Similar to other quiz programs such as "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?," the show provides contestants with three aids from their classmate to help them answer questions correctly.  

Of course, the show puts adults in a potentially embarrassing situation, but also highlights how much elementary knowledge we forget from our school days. Fox's recommitment to the program is perhaps partly due to the recent success of "Masterchef Junior," another kid​-friendly competitive show. Officials from the network have also hinted that while "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" will be holding on to aspects of the traditional game play, new elements will be added as well.

Simon Andreae, Fox reality chief, explained that the show, "shares so much DNA with the Fox brand that it feels only natural to return it to the schedule - it's smart, witty, irreverent and it turns the adult-child power dynamic upside-down ... All of the core components of the classic format will be there, but we are also adding new twists that make it fresher and more fun for viewers."

Jeff Foxworthy 
Host Jeff Foxworthy is a celebrity stand-up comedian, actor and radio personality, perhaps best known as a member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Other members who join Foxworthy on stage when he performs on the comedy tour include Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall and Ron White. Foxworthy has released numerous multi-platinum comedy albums as well as several books of jokes and an autobiography. When "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" originally aired in 2007, the comedian was already a TV personality, having previously played the lead on "The Jeff Foxworthy Show." The sitcom was based off of Foxworthy's stand-up persona, but only aired for one season. 

Foxworthy hosted "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" until it was canceled in 2011. Now he is ready to reprise his role as humorous host and quiz master, while he continues to perform live tour dates throughout the country. Often recognized for his "You might be a redneck if ..." jokes, Foxworthy still performs stand up, and has upcoming shows in Atlanta, Las Vegas and North Carolina.

Behind the scenes at Burning Man

28. August 2014 10:31 by Julie Merar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()

The mantra of the Burning Man festival, "leave no trace," seems a perfect explanation for the celebration's ephemeral deity. In Nevada's Black Rock Desert, a massive wooden effigy of a man is annually constructed and then set ablaze, erupting in flames that can be seen from miles away. The figure usually stands between 50 and 100 feet tall, symbolizing an artistic community that illuminates the barren landscape for a week, only to disappear. The city is erected and submerged every year, a kind of modern day Atlantis that reveals itself on the dried-up lake known as the Playa. The festival attracts everyone from environmental hippies to billionaire tech CEOs, and remarkably proves that those two types of people aren't so different. That's because Burning Man is based on the principles of artistry, self-expression, self-reliance, gifting, civil responsibility and radical inclusion. In this way, Burning Man creates a truly esoteric culture, one that is rebuilt differently from year to year, juxtaposing the ideas of free society and massive organization.

Make no mistake, Burning Man is not an impromptu party. The Burning Man organization plans the festival for months leading up to the event, working with law enforcement as well as the Department of Public Works. It should be no surprise then that there are medical professionals, police officers, federal law enforcement and DPW workers in attendance. This group of participants might confuse some who have only heard the Burning Man legend, but the truth is the festival could not exist without a dichotomy of government-style order and artistic freedom. In fact, the idea of not including these officials, or any person for that matter, goes against the ideology of the entire event. Yes, Burning Man is a unique week-long bacchanalia, but it is also a summit for people of all ilks to build a one-of-a-kind community. Needless to say, Burning Man takes a little preparation.

First consider the measures it takes to create the horseshoe-shaped city that surrounds the festival's namesake. Workers must scope out the desert months in advance to decide the exact location of the structure on the Playa, and then trace out how the community will be built around it. This is no small task, encouraging many DPW workers to rove the streets of the festival asking for beer and food in repayment for all their hard work, which is readily given due to the event's gifting nature. 

Tough conditions
Then take into account the challenges of the landscape. All those attending Burning Man are expected to come prepared for the arid heat and shadeless expanse of dessert. Officials recommend 1.5 gallons of water per day per person to safely stay hydrated in the 100-plus degree heat. Furthermore, the Playa has the ability to appear as an angered goddess, exhibiting unpredictable weather which can bring high winds, lightning and dust storms. These conditions task officials and volunteers with securing port-a-potties, cleaning up burn scars from bonfires on the Playa and ensuring trash does not get blown away in the wind, that way no trace of the festival is left behind. 

A hodgepodge of art
Artists partaking in the event face their own set of unique challenges. Sculptures and artwork must be transported to the Playa and then reconstructed. Artists have to find ways to provide electricity for much of their work, which can vary in size, structure and purpose. These art installations often takes months of planning to build, all to be revealed at the Burning Man festival. Much of the art is interactive, providing unforgettable, esoteric experiences for festivalgoers. Imagine glowing neon trees controlled by cellphones, pyrotechnic sculptures and interactive light shows linked to a participant's heartbeat. These brilliant displays then must be deconstructed at the end of the festival, leaving no trace that the technological wonders ever emblazoned the vacant land.

In more recent years, some critics have ironically cited the downfall of Burning Man due to the influx of elite members of the tech world. What most of these pundits don't seem to realize is that IT pros have been hiding in plain sight at Burning Man since the beginning. Moreover, not including these brilliant minds would take away from the concept of radical inclusivity. Frequent participants in Burning Man include Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are also known as regular Burning Man participants, having in the past donned full-body spandex suits to hide their identities. In many ways these techies make Burning Man possible, rigging up light structures, fixing electrical and tech problems, managing light shows for musical acts, participating in art displays and generally adding to the gifting culture of the event.  

The Burning Man festival is perhaps one of the world's most expansive and remarkable displays of human creation, collaboration and expression. Yet, the key to the existence of the event relies on a devoted following of staff and volunteers working to create order among chaos.

Boy Bands List: the 90s to Today

24. October 2013 14:56 by Tiffany Parotto in General  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments ()

New Kids on the BlockLadies, what's your perfect guy look like? Great hair, beautiful eyes and a gorgeous smile? Oh, and he can dance? Serenade you with love songs? Sounds like a keeper! Multiply that perfection a few times and there you go, the quintessential boy band is born. At least that's how I imagine it happens. 

Although a few things have changed since the 90s – gelled hair has been replaced with the Justin Beiber blowout – much of the boy band DNA remains the same. Good looks, catchy hooks, smooth moves. Hey, we can't help it; we "Want It That Way."


90s Knockouts

New Kids on the Block

  • No. 1 Heartthrob: Jordan Knight
  • Song: "Step By Step" (1990)
  • Fun Fact: NKOTB was the first teen group to have four top ten hits on one album: "Hangin' Tough," "Please Don't Go Girl," "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" and "I'll Be Loving Your (Forever)."

Boyz II Men

  • No. 1 Heartthrob: Shawn Stockman
  • Song: "I'll Make Love to You" (1994)
  • Fun fact: "I'll Make Love to You," was bumped from the No.1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 by another Boyz II Men song, "On Bended Knee," making them the third US artist to achieve the feat in 30 years.

By the late-90s early-2000s, the Backstreet Boys were still "Playing Games with Our Hearts." Then, Justin Timberlake, Chris Kirkpartrick, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass and JC Chasez started a "No Strings Attached" love affair in the late-90s that went long-term, lasting well into the 2000s.

Late-90s / Early-2000s

Backstreet Boys

  • No. 1 Heartthrob: Nick Carter
  • Song: "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" (1997)
  • Fun fact: There were technically six Backstreet Boys. Lou Pearlman, the former Backstreet Boys' manager/producer - who double, I mean triple dipped - claimed a cut of the band's profits as their manager, producer and sixth member. The Ponzi schemer also represented 'N Sync, who followed suit and sued the scammer.

'N Sync

  • No. 1 Heartthrob: Justin Timberlake
  • Song: "Bye, Bye, Bye" (2000)
  • Fun fact: Before JT started denying his roots, he was a curly-headed cutie. Oh, and Timberlake might have been the poster child of the 90s phenomenon known as "frosted tips."

Hanson

  • No. 1 Heartthrob: Isaac Hanson
  • Song: "MMMBop" (1997)
  • Fun fact: The Tulsa-based band of brothers started brewing beer, appropriately branded "Mmmhops."

One Direction Tickets

After a few relatively quiet years on the boy band front, the British-Irish boys of One Direction made waves from across the pond. The British invasion led to a boy band resurgence. Heartthrobs like the Jonas Brothers, Big Time Rush and The Wanted popped up on the scene.

Today

One Direction

  • No. 1 Heartthrob: Harry Styles
  • Song: "Best Song Ever" (2013)
  • Fun fact: 1D got their start as independent acts on the British version of the X-Factor, but none of them made the cut in the solo category. Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson joined forces, and the rest is history.

Jonas Brothers

  • No. 1 Heartthrob: Joe Jonas
  • Song: "S.O.S" (2007)
  • Fun fact: The Jo Bros have a 13-year-old brother, Frankie, who's a young actor and is sometimes called the "Bonus Jonas."

Breakout Artist

The Janoskians

The Australian quintet started out as a group of Aussies pulling pranks and posting videos on YouTube. Their outlandish stunts and questionable behavior caught the attention of the Biebs, who also found fame as a YouTube sensation. Now their mocumentaries, skits, and boyish good looks have earned them a loyal fan following. While The Janoskians fit the boy band bill, their tour name says differently. In April 2013, the group announced their Not a Boy Band Tour.

  • No. 1 Heartthrob: Luke Brooks
  • Song: "Best Friends" (2013)
  • Fun fact: The band's name stands for "Just Another Name of Silly Kids in Another Nation."

Whether "Up All Night" listening to One Direction's newest hit, "Diana," or playing back the old school hits that paved the way for the boy bands of today, one thing's for sure, boy bands are hotter than ever! Man bands like NKOTB, Boyz II Men and the Backstreet Boys made a comeback, and our favorite boy bands of today have been touring their hearts out.

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