Arts

Arts and culture

Seltzer's Popularity Bubbles Up In The U.S.

Aug 10, 2017

We may be in the middle of a seltzer bubble.

Americans are drinking nearly 170 million gallons of the fizzy stuff each year, and sales have gone up 42 percent over the past five years with no signs of slowing down. There's even a restaurant in Boston offering a $40 flight of limited-edition seltzers.

In After Love's opening scene, the handheld camera observes Marie (Bérénice Bejo) as she arrives home with her 8-year-old twins, Jade and Margaux (Jade and Margaux Soentjens). But we viewers don't follow them from the street, through the pleasant garden and into the tasteful first-floor apartment. We're already inside, awaiting them in the place nearly all of the film is set.

On the 72nd anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese anime In This Corner of the World lives in history but speaks more to the current moment than any of us might have dared to fear.

Doffing a hasty prefatory cap to the crime stats and overflowing garbage of 1970s New York, Marc Webb's The Only Living Boy in New York soon withdraws to more glam pastures within. By which Webb and screenwriter Allan Loeb mean the amber-lit, opulent interiors where Manhattan's writers and artists gather to kvetch and preen. Not much writing or arting goes on here, but it is clear that these are creative types because they are extremely attractive and throw dinner parties where they gesture prettily with slender-stemmed wine glasses while drily quipping.

Based on Jeannette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle refers to the fanciful home an impoverished father intends for his family, one with glass walls that welcome natural light during the day and, at night, become a window to the stars. The structure never gets built, but it's the Burj Khalifa of metaphors, a symbol of big dreams and broken promises that rises majestically to the heavens. At one point in Destin Daniel Cretton's leaden adaptation, a young Walls and her three siblings help their father actually dig the foundation. Later, the foundation is filled with garbage.

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A new trailer offers a first taste of the second season of The Crown — coming to Netflix this December. And that taste is ... so veddy, veddy tasteful.

As one might imagine.

The first season was all about Elizabeth's first steps into the role of monarch, as she learned to navigate turbid political waters both public and private.

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Jason Heller is a Hugo Award-winning editor and author of the forthcoming book Strange Stars (Melville House). Twitter: @jason_m_heller

To make the Iraqi and Kurdish dumpling soup kubeh, Melanie Shurka dedicates hours. There are the broths to make, such as the beet-based selek or the lemon-infused hamusta enhanced by rounds of zucchini and Swiss chard. But more time is dedicated to making the dumplings themselves.

When Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon's dueling Michael Caine impressions went viral during the first season of their food-tasting TV series, The Trip, it was more or less inevitable that the show's 6.5 hours of eating scallops and celeb impersonations would be edited down into movie form.

Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 was supposed to be the next Hamilton. It was going to invigorate Broadway and attract younger and more diverse audiences — and it almost succeeded. Instead, it's closing on Sept. 3, in part because of a controversy over casting and race.

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Back in the late 1980s, when I was first starting out as a critic for The Village Voice, one of the books I was assigned was Laura Shapiro's Perfection Salad, a social history of the home economics movement during the turn of the last century.

The latest artist to be lured by the dazzling lights of Broadway: Bruce Springsteen, who will be doing a limited run beginning in mid-October.

Information about The Boss' Broadway debut was first leaked in June to the New York Post, which at the time quoted anonymous sources. Springsteen's team made the official announcement Wednesday morning.

In a 2008 episode of the sitcom "30 Rock," the fictional NBC executive Jack Donaghy (played by Alec Baldwin) proudly promotes the season finale of his new hit reality show, MILF Island. In the shamelessly tawdry program ("25 super-hot moms, 50 eighth-grade boys, no rules"), middle-aged women contestants are kicked off one by one with the show's signature catchphrase: "We no longer want to hit that. Get off MILF Island!" In a culture that objectifies women, older women aren't treated with any more respect than their younger counterparts; they're all equally disposable.

Lily Meyer works at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

With host Linda Holmes still in Los Angeles, where she's attending the Televisions Critics Association press tour, Glen Weldon and I have assembled without her for a discussion of director Kathryn Bigelow's new film, Detroit. We're joined by our pals Gene Demby (from NPR's Code Switch) and Aisha Harris (who hosts Slate's Represent podcast).

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Today, the typical American grocery store might devote an entire aisle to breakfast cereal, but that wasn't always the case. In fact, boxed cereals were an invention of the 20th century, designed and marketed by two brothers from Michigan.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg had first conceived of a healthy, plant-based breakfast in his capacity as the director of the Seventh-day Adventist sanitarium in Battle Creek, Mich. His younger brother, Will, was the business innovator, who figured out how to market John's creation.

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Haruo Nakajima, the Japanese actor who was the first person to put on the Godzilla suit and bring the iconic monster to life, has died. He was 88.

Tony Award-winning actress and singer Barbara Cook, an ingénue in Broadway's Golden Age — during the 1950s and '60s — who later transformed herself into a concert and cabaret star, has died. She was 89.

Cook died early Tuesday of respiratory failure, surrounded by friends and family at her home in Manhattan, according to her publicist.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake wrote his new book Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle in secret, not even telling his closest political advisers about his plans until it was ready. And given the political test he'll face over the coming year, it isn't hard to see why.

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If you've heard of Edwin Stanton, it's probably because of what he did after Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865. Even as the Civil War president lay dying, Stanton went to work in an adjoining room — issuing orders to protect other leaders, directing generals' movements and informing the nation of Lincoln's death. He also began the search for the assassin and his co-conspirators.

"He did not announce that he was taking charge: he simply was in charge," writes historian Walter Stahr in Stanton: Lincoln's War Secretary.

Few things are more delightful than a dog running on the beach. Except, maybe, a dog surfing on a beach.

Dozens of dogs — and more than 1,000 people — showed up to the second annual World Dog Surfing Championships on Saturday in Pacifica, Calif.

Dog surfing is relatively new — the first competition was in San Diego 12 years ago.

And while the event may seem silly, competitive dog surfing is growing quickly, with contests in Hawaii, Florida, Texas and as far away as Australia.

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What do Salt-N-Pepa, Amy Winehouse, Oasis and the theme song to the animated TV show "Futurama" have in common - these six seconds.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE WINSTONS' "AMEN, BROTHER")

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