No stub, no grub
August 6, 2014

The next time you try to snag a table for two at your town's chic-est restaurant, be prepared for a new reply from the maître d': "Tickets, please."

NPR reports a growing number of fine dining establishments are eschewing traditional reservations for ticketing systems, employing all-inclusive prix-fixe meal passes to "sell out" dining rooms weeks or months in advance. The concept was originally devised by Chicago restauranteur Nick Kokonas, whose eatery Next specializes in theme menus that change three times a year; diners can buy season tickets to the entire year's worth of meals. In a few hours last December, Next sold $3 million worth of tickets.

Restaurants believe ticketing sharply reduces no-shows, which cost business and pressure establishments to raise prices for other diners. Then, of course, there's the cachet of being the "hottest ticket in town," a la rock concerts or hit Broadway shows. Kokonas anticipates ticketed eateries opening in several major cities, both in the U.S. and around the world, in the next couple of months. The ticket scalpers are sure to follow in short order.

Listen to the full NPR story on restaurant tickets below. --Mike Barry

This just in
9:06 a.m. ET
Screenshot / ABC

Famed Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner on Friday came out as transgender in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, saying he is transitioning from male to female.

"For all intents and purposes, I'm a woman," Jenner said.

"Bruce lives a lie," the 65-year-old Jenner added. "She is not a lie. I can't do it anymore."

Jenner said his struggles with gender identity began as a child when he would try on his mother's clothing, and it continued in private for decades even as he became a masculine icon while winning gold in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. In recent months, tabloid rumors abounded surrounding Jenner's then-alleged transition. Jon Terbush

This just in
8:03 a.m. ET
Zhou Shengping / Corbis

A powerful earthquake on Saturday struck Nepal near the capital Kathmandu, killing hundreds of people and leaving extensive damage across the area. Rescuers are picking through the rubble, and the death toll, which rapidly rose to around 700 in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, is expected to rise further.The U.S. Geological Survey estimated the initial quake's magnitude at 7.8, with at least 15 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or above. Jon Terbush

Quotables
April 24, 2015
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

If there's one person who's glad the Senate gridlock over Loretta Lynch's attorney general nomination is over, it's the man she's set to replace.

The Senate finally voted to confirm Loretta Lynch as attorney general yesterday, five months after President Obama named her his nominee. Eric Holder, the outgoing attorney general, had announced he would stay at the Justice Department until a successor was named when he resigned in September — but he probably didn't anticipate another half-year in Washington. As months passed and Holder's term dragged on, some of his staff started circulating black rubber wristbands with the message "Free Eric Holder" as a protest of Lynch's protracted nomination.

Now, seven months after announcing his resignation, Holder finally made his goodbye speech Friday. In it, he proclaimed: "I think we can officially say now that Eric Holder is free." He then reportedly took the "Free Eric Holder" wristbands off his wrist and threw them into the audience.

Consider Eric Holder's mic dropped. Kimberly Alters

This doesn't look good
April 24, 2015
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr. walked out of an interview with London's Channel 4 News earlier this week, and the rest of his Avengers: Age of Ultron press tour hasn't fared much better.

In an interview with The Guardian on Thursday, Downey was asked about a 2014 statement by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who said that superhero films were a form of "cultural genocide" for promoting a right-wing agenda.

Downey's response? "Look, I respect the hell out of him, and I think for a man whose native tongue is Spanish to be able to put together a phrase like 'cultural genocide' just speaks to how bright he is," he told The Guardian.

Cosmopolitan for Latinas has deemed Downey's remarks "racist," and E! Online adds that the comment suggests "that native Spanish speakers couldn't be as smart as native English speakers." Downey isn't the only one struggling on this press junket, though: His co-stars Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner called Scarlett Johansson's Avengers character, Black Widow, a "slut" and a "whore" in an interview this week, for which they have since apologized. Meghan DeMaria

America the Beautiful
April 24, 2015
iStock

It turns out the real threat to America's children is that they don't have enough deep-fried food.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R) wrote a letter to the editor of The Houston Chronicle on Thursday, calling for a 10-year ban on deep-fat fryers and soda machines in Texas public schools to be overturned. Miller wrote that the fight is "not about French fries, it's about freedom."

In response to arguments about childhood obesity and health, Miller stated that school districts, not the state, should have the freedom to make these decisions. "I will always support decision-making at the local level," Miller wrote.

Miller officially proposed reinstating deep fryers in public schools in March, and The Texas Tribune reports that he is expected to announce this summer whether the Texas Department of Agriculture will repeal the ban. Meghan DeMaria

Only in America
April 24, 2015

Ohio middle-school officials erased the word "feminist" from an eighth-grader's T-shirt in a class photo to "prevent any unintended controversies."

Sophie Thomas was shocked to see that her shirt had been photoshopped to erase the word, but the principal explained it might be "offensive" to some people. "I just want to spread equality," Thomas said. The Week Staff

Coming Soon
April 24, 2015
Twitter.com/SelmaMovie

American history teachers will soon have a powerful tool in their arsenal.

Paramount Pictures' Home Media Distribution division announced that it will provide a complimentary copy of Ava DuVernay's Selma to every public and private high school in the U.S. Selma chronicles the march that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led from Selma to Montgomery for equal voting rights.

"By providing DVDs to all of the high schools in the country, we hope to reach all 18 million high school students with the film's powerful and inspiring story," Megan Colligan, a Paramount executive, said in a statement. "With many of these students preparing to vote for the first time in next year's elections, it is especially fitting that they witness the bravery and fortitude of those who fought to establish the Voting Rights Act of 1965." Meghan DeMaria

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