Matt Peiken | BPR News

Ousted in a 'Coup' from the Theater He Founded, Samuels Starts Anew with Sublime

Only those involved with local theater might be surprised Steven Samuels is back in action. In September of last year, Samuels was fired from Asheville’s Magnetic Theatre , which Samuels co-founded and ran for eight seasons. He was still smarting, still angry, when he decided, in some respects, to pick up right where he left off, but with a fresh company. “My concern and caring for other artists is so strong that, even though I knew the best thing I could do was focus on myself and my family, I couldn’t do that,” he said. “I had to find a way to support these other artists, as well.”

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The State of Things

“The State of Things” covers diverse issues & topics in NC. Frank Stasio talks to authors, musicians, politicians, & citizens about subjects that matter to North Carolinians.

A memo that has reportedly been circulating at the Department of Health and Human Services aims to narrow the federal government's definition of "sex" under Title IX — a change that could leave transgender people without a number of the legal protections that have become standard in recent years.

The memo reported on by The New York Times has not been released publicly. NPR has not seen it, and HHS says it does not comment on "alleged leaked documents."

This isn't exactly the golden age of airline travel, but it's a pretty good time to fly by a lot of measures. Flying has never been safer. Airfares are historically low when adjusted for inflation. Technology makes it easier to search for fares and book flights while also helping airlines lose fewer bags and improve their on-time performance.

But if there's one thing air travelers still love to complain about, it's the size of economy class seats.

Updated at 2:59 p.m. ET

As a vast train of migrants treks across Mexico, fleeing violence and poverty for the fate that awaits them at the U.S. border, President Trump is vowing that there will be repercussions for the countries that have allowed their passage.

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET.

Newly released surveillance footage shows a man apparently wearing the same clothes Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was wearing the day he disappeared after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul. A Turkish ruling party official called the footage evidence of a Saudi cover-up, while another official described the man seen in the video as a "body double."

Matt Peiken | BPR News


Only those involved with local theater might be surprised Steven Samuels is back in action.

In September of last year, Samuels was fired from Asheville’s Magnetic Theatre, which Samuels co-founded and ran for eight seasons. He was still smarting, still angry, when he decided, in some respects, to pick up right where he left off, but with a fresh company.

“My concern and caring for other artists is so strong that, even though I knew the best thing I could do was focus on myself and my family, I couldn’t do that,” he said. “I had to find a way to support these other artists, as well.”

"I was both an observer and a participant in a teenage rape."

That sobering confession is how Don Palmerine began to tell his story publicly for the first time, at age 67, in a Washington Post essay published earlier this month about the part he played in a sexual assault.

Updated 10:54 a.m. ET

Hurricane Willa, an "extremely dangerous" storm heading to Mexico's Pacific coast, was upgraded to Category 5 by the National Hurricane Center on Monday.

The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph, is about 135 miles away from Cabo Corrientes, a municipality in southwest Mexico. It is moving north at 7 mph, according to the NHC's latest advisory.

In a year of news tsunamis, this past week surpassed most. So you may not have noticed the quiet departure of a key player in President Trump's White House.

Donald McGahn II, the White House counsel, vacated his West Wing office without a news conference or a public send-off. But as counsel to the Trump campaign in 2016, general counsel for the transition and the only White House counsel since, the 50-year-old Washington insider has been integral to some historic proceedings.

Jamal Khashoggi's grandfather was the doctor to King Abdul Aziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia in the 1930s.

His uncle Adnan Khashoggi became a celebrity billionaire as the weapons broker for another Saudi monarch, King Fahd.

Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET

American lawmakers and European leaders have reacted with skepticism following the Saudi government's confirmation of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death.

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Arts & Performance

Matt Peiken | BPR News


Only those involved with local theater might be surprised Steven Samuels is back in action.

In September of last year, Samuels was fired from Asheville’s Magnetic Theatre, which Samuels co-founded and ran for eight seasons. He was still smarting, still angry, when he decided, in some respects, to pick up right where he left off, but with a fresh company.

“My concern and caring for other artists is so strong that, even though I knew the best thing I could do was focus on myself and my family, I couldn’t do that,” he said. “I had to find a way to support these other artists, as well.”

Matt Peiken | BPR News


Jamieson Ridenhour remembers himself as a 10-year-old, reading the original “Dracula” novel and staying awake with his mother well past midnight to watch classic horror movies.

Nearly four decades later, Ridenhour has built a career from his early obsession.

“Good horror writing works when it’s more than just the horror, when it has some kind of psychological depth to it,” he said. “There’s a metaphor for something else going on.”

Sandlin Gaither


Imagine you’re in a band performing at a club or even if you’re just a solo artist with a guitar in a coffeeshop. You want to sense people are listening. You want engagement. You want applause.

That is, unless you’re one of the members of the longtime Asheville trio Free Planet Radio. They recall a recent show at the Light Center in Black Mountain that was one continuous flow of music for nearly 90 minutes.

“Everyone is lying on their backs with their eyes closed,” said guitarist and composer Chris Rosser. “It’s more like a meditative experience, definitely the opposite of a concert, really.”

Matt Peiken | BPR News


Melodie Galloway is bothered by what she sees every time she takes the podium at a rehearsal of the Asheville Choral Society.

“We are very, very white,” she said with a chuckle. “We have a few people of color, but we are heavily caucasian.”