What do a reanimated deviant surgeon, a cannibalistic serial killer and a demon-plagued, vomit-spattered priest have in common? They're all characters in camp stage musicals inspired by horror films — and they're all played by the same classically trained opera singer.
His name is Jesse Merlin, and he looks a little like a young, untanned George Hamilton. But he has a bass-baritone voice that would be perfect for Gilbert and Sullivan.
Since that's not what Hollywood's looking for, Merlin had to scare up roles elsewhere.
America's hugely productive food system is one of its success stories. The nation will export a projected $139.5 billion in agricultural products this fiscal year alone. It's an industry that supports "more than 1 million jobs," according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
But all that productivity has taken a toll on the environment, especially rivers and lakes: Agriculture is the nation's leading cause of impaired water quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The search for true relaxation can be a taxing one. You take some time off to get away thinking of paradise and then harsh reality sets in. That's the sort of experience we're chronicling this summer in a series we call...
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
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SIEGEL: ...Horror Stories.
JIM MCLAUGHLIN: Hi, my name is Jim McLaughlin, and I live in Hershey, Pennsylvania. My wife, my sister, and our combined four children...
The plot of Five Star Billionaire, with its multiple protagonists, may seem deceptively familiar: a neglected boy claws his way from rags to riches; a country girl tries to make her way in the city; a city girl tries to prove her worth in a man's world of business; a rock star falls victim to the fame machine; and a rich man tumbles from grace.
It's the time of the season when love for pop music runs high. Summer is officially here, and an unofficial competition is underway to crown 2013's "Song of the Summer." We're talking about those unavoidable pop anthems that are played over and over again on the radio, at the beach and out the window of passing cars. You can't escape them — you can only hope to enjoy them. NPR Music curated a list featuring more than 100 of the hits from the last 50 years.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Two of the most beloved popes in recent memory - John Paul II and John XXIII - have been formally approved for sainthood. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports that in his first four months as pope, Francis has shown great personal and spiritual affinity with these two predecessors.
People are often told to take low-dose aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. But that preventive remedy doesn't work for a lot of people.
Researchers say they've found genetic variations that might be used to identify people who don't respond well to aspirin. If the results prove out, there could soon be a blood test to tell who benefits from aspirin, and who needs to look for other treatments to reduce cardiovascular risk.
One word came to mind this week when we saw the stories about Texas physical education teacher Dale Irby and how he had worn the same "groovy shirt and sweater vest" for every school photo in the past 40 years:
Before we explore his awesomeness, though, here's some background.
We assigned our trusty interns to document the feeling of watching fireworks on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. They focused on the crowd's reactions while basking in the warm glow of the display. The images capture the gasps and sheer amazement from spectators of all ages.
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Novak Djokovic, the top seed in the Wimbledon men's draw, advanced to Sunday's singles final in a record-setting 4 hours, 43 minutes. The longest semifinal in tournament history, his five-set match fell only five minutes shy of the time set in a marathon 2008 five-set final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Exactly a year ago this week, a video on YouTube went viral. It was called "Heat Buckles Highway, SUV Goes Airborne." A road in Wisconsin buckled so badly from the heat that it sent cars flying. Well, this year, the buckling continues. But if you're in certain parts of the country, you don't need me to tell you that. It's hot, and I'm not going to use that but-it's-a-dry-heat line, either.
The search for six Americans and one British man lost in the seas between New Zealand and Australia was called off Friday after extensive aerial searches failed to turn up any sign of the 85-year-old wooden sailing boat they were traveling on.