Elizabeth Blair

Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award winning, Senior Producer/Reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.

On a daily basis, she produces, edits and reports arts and cultural segments that air on NPR News magazines including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Her recent stories explored the rise of public humiliation in popular culture, consumers' changing media habits and the intersection of the arts and education.

In this position that she has held since 2003, Blair's varied work has included profiles of actor Neil Patrick Harris, rapper K'Naan, and the band Pearl Jam. She has written and produced long-form documentaries on such cultural icons as Paul Robeson and Billie Holiday. Blair oversaw the production of some of NPR's most popular special projects including "50 Great Voices," the NPR series on awe-inspiring voices from around the world and across time in, and the "In Character" series which explored famous American fictional characters.

Over the years, Blair has received several honors for her work including two Peabody Awards and a Gracie.

For three and a half years, Blair lived in Paris, France, where she co-produced Le Jazz Club From Paris with Dee Dee Bridgewater, and the monthly magazine Postcard From Paris.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: President-elect Trump lets it be known when he'd like something and when he doesn't. And he does not like the way Alec Baldwin plays him on "Saturday Night Live." (SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE") ALEC BALDWIN: (As Donald Trump) Siri... (LAUGHTER) BALDWIN: (As Donald Trump) ...How do I kill ISIS? (LAUGHTER) MCEVERS: That's from last Saturday's episode. The next morning, Trump tweeted that he had...

It didn't get a lot of attention – and maybe that was intentional - but a new website from President-elect Donald Trump's transition team went live last week. It's too soon to judge the Trump administration's aesthetic sensibilities, but the new site provides some clues. "It could've been stolen from the Reagan campaign of 1984, how 'It's Morning in America again,'" said H.W. Brands, an American history professor at the University of Texas-Austin and the author of Reagan: The Life . Brands...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: It could hardly have been a better weekend for Bill Murray. First, his beloved Chicago Cubs made the World Series for the first time in 71 years. Then, last night, he received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in Washington. NPR's Elizabeth Blair was at the Kennedy Center. ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: Bill Murray is notorious for doing things his way and for being elusive. So before the show, I tried to pin...

Rod Temperton has been called pop music's "Invisible Man" because few knew his name. But his songs were megahits in the 1970s and 80s. Along with big hair, wide lapels and bell bottoms, his music helped define the disco era. Temperton died of cancer last week in London, according to a statement from his publisher. He was 66. Temperton wrote such hits as "Thriller," "Rock with You," and "Boogie Nights." But even disco had songs that were layered with great harmonies and robust horn parts....

Curious George famously managed all sorts of escapes — from policemen, firemen, zookeepers and plenty other humans who didn't like his mischief. But many readers don't know that the husband-wife team who created the inquisitive little monkey — who is celebrating his 75th birthday this year — had the most harrowing escape of all. In 1939, artists Hans Augusto and Margret Rey were living in Paris, where they had written a book with a side character named Fifi. The Reys thought this young,...

Please, have a seat; it's time to talk about chairs. Thomas Jefferson collected chairs. Pee Wee Herman named his ' Chairy .' Archie Bunker's beloved wingback is now at The National Museum of American History. And when the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey sat on a swivel chair for the first time, she was in for a surprise . In the new book Now I Sit Me Down architect Witold Rybczynski traces the history of chairs. Take a close look at what you're sitting on, he says, and you'll learn about...

If fashion is art, Sonia Rykiel is considered a master. Women's Wear Daily dubbed her the "queen of knitwear" — though she was the first to admit she didn't know how to knit — and her designs have been shown in museums . Rykiel, who had Parkinson's disease, died Thursday morning at her home in Paris. She was 86. Artistic, independent, rebellious, Rykiel embodied the intellectual chic and feminism of Paris in the late 1960s. She wanted women to look both powerful and sexy. Above all, she...

"Everybody's gotta have a little place for their stuff. That's all life is about. Trying to find a place for your stuff." — George Carlin It's one of his most famous routines and, like all great comedy, contains more than a grain of truth. Since he died eight years ago, the keeper of George Carlin's "stuff" has been his daughter, writer and performer Kelly Carlin. She says he kept everything: Scrapbooks. Arrest records. The pink slip to his first car, a Dodge Dart. VHS tapes. From ...

You may have seen the crazy amounts of money spent at high end art auctions: $81 million for a Mark Rothko, $179 million for a Picasso. Now, a new memoir called The Auctioneer dishes about the tycoons, rock stars and royalty who play in this high-priced game. Simon de Pury is an art world insider who has been called the "Mick Jagger" of auctions — he once even tried to compete with the two power houses, Christie's and Sotheby's. On a recent evening in New York, an army of waiters dressed in...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The so-called Panama Papers have shined a light on the hundreds of thousands of shell companies used to circulate assets around the world. One of those assets is fine art, and the leaked papers show how collectors and companies have secretly bought and sold famous works by artists like Amedeo Modigliani and Pablo Picasso, among others. One event the papers illuminate is a famous 1997 Christie's auction featuring paintings from the collection of Victor and Sally Ganz. Some of the world's most...

The Sony Corporation has announced it will pay Michael Jackson's estate $750 million for Jackson's 50 percent share of the Sony/ATV music publishing company. The backstory here has more twists and shouts than a long and winding road (Couldn't resist, but note that the rights to both "Twist and Shout" and "The Long and Winding Road" belong to Sony/ATV). Sony's purchase marks the culmination of one of the most remarkable stories in the history of the music business. It all started when Paul...

Beatles fans around the world are paying tribute to the group's longtime producer, Sir George Martin, who died Tuesday at age 90. Paul McCartney said in a statement, "The world has lost a truly great man who left an indelible mark on my soul and the history of British music." George Martin also left a lasting mark on the art of record production. Whether horns or harpsichord, so many of the embellishments you hear on the Beatles' songs came from Martin. He wasn't just a good producer, says...

First, it's not really black. It's not even a color or a pigment. "Vantablack" is a "material," according to Surrey NanoSystems, the British company that created it. But this growling, rebellious material is causing quite a fuss now that renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor — who designed Chicago's Cloud Gate and the Orbit tower for the 2012 London Olympics — has bought the exclusive rights to use it in art. If you want the official explanation of what Vantablack is, check out the company's FAQ ....

President Obama has nominated Carla D. Hayden as the next librarian of Congress. If confirmed, she would be the first woman and first African-American ever to lead the world's largest library. Hayden is currently CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. In a White House statement, Obama says he and the first lady have known Hayden since she was at the Chicago Public Library, where she was deputy commissioner and chief librarian from 1991-1993. "Dr. Hayden has devoted her career to...

T.J. Miller has played a dragon slayer in the How to Train Your Dragon movies, a man who doesn't always change his underwear in Big Hero 6 and a pothead who thinks he's a tech rock star in HBO's Silicon Valley . Now Marvel fans will know him as bartender Weasel, best friend to the titular superhero in the new, R-rated comic book movie Deadpool . Miller is a physical and cerebral comedian, a good combination for his Silicon Valley character, Erlich Bachman. Slovenly with shaggy, curly hair and...

The aptly titled Sweat is all about work — and the fear of losing it. In the new play by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Lynn Nottage, change is coming for workers at a steel tubing plant. "They've got buttons now that can replace all of us," one character says. Sure enough, the company is about to move production to Mexico and ask longtime union workers to accept lower wages. They refuse, and end up locked out and replaced by immigrant labor. It's a scenario that has played out many times over...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4uNiRi4lzw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIII1WdFMY4 A good attorney in a high-profile case needs to know how to change public opinion. Bill Cosby's attorney Monique Pressley is trying to do just that. Under the glare of public scrutiny, she has been vehemently defending the beleaguered comedian, projecting poise under pressure. To watch Pressley on TV, you'd never know this is her first time defending a celebrity this big against charges of this magnitude. In...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: When acid was thrown in face of the artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet nearly three years ago, it was more than just a brutal attack on a high-profile figure. It was a reflection of Russian society, according to a new documentary called "Bolshoi Babylon," which premieres tonight on HBO. NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports. ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: The documentary begins with stunning, close-up images of...

It isn't necessarily easy to make funny people laugh, but comedian Amy Poehler says Paula Pell can do it: "She just has this very specific way of telling a joke and being in on the joke," says Poehler. Pell has serious comedy cred: She's been a writer on Saturday Night Live for more than 20 years and has worked on 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and Judd Apatow movies. Pell was behind some popular SNL characters, like the Spartan cheerleaders , middle school teachers Marty and Bobbi Culp and...

Comic Bill Burr's new animated Netflix series is set in the 1970s and definitely for mature audiences — think of it as an R-rated cross between All in the Family and The Simpsons . It's called F Is for Family, and its patriarch is the often-frustrated Frank Murphy. We learn Frank's back story in the opening credits: On high school graduation day, Frank dreamed of being a pilot. You see him soaring carefree into the sky when suddenly the debris of life starts smacking him in the face — a draft...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: In this country, President Obama signed a new education law last week. Much of the focus has been on testing and a debate over whether the law moved too far away from rigorous standards. But one group celebrating the law advocates for arts education. NPR's Elizabeth Blair explains why. ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: First, some clarification, elementary and high school students will still be tested under the...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2Z3y3Qw3RU What movie would be crazy enough to go up against Star Wars ? One starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Their movie Sisters comes out the same weekend as the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens . Even before it opens Dec. 18, the J.J. Abrams-directed sequel is being called "the biggest movie of the year." Analysts predict Star Wars will crush the competition, taking in more than $200 million on opening weekend. A comedy such as Sisters is...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: The new "Star Wars" hasn't opened yet, but it's already being called the biggest movie the of the year. (SOUNDBITE OF JOHN WILLIAMS SONG, "OVERTURE") SIEGEL: Box office receipts for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" are expected to be so astronomical that producers of other movies are delaying their openings. But Tina Fey and Amy Poehler aren't afraid of the competition. Their movie "Sisters" also opens...

It's a heart-stopping scene: The protagonist of The Good Dinosaur, an 11-year-old Apatosaurus named Arlo is chasing a little thief who's been stealing his family's food. Arlo's not looking where he's going, and he slips and falls into a river. Panic-stricken, he gasps for air as his body goes hurtling down the raging rapids. The splashes, the currents, the rocks, the sound, the details are so vivid — you feel real fear for this animated dinosaur. The new Pixar movie has been called "visually...

By now, it should be no surprise that ballet has a grim underbelly — or should that be a flat stomach? The dark side of the art form has gotten its share of depictions on screen, and now it's getting a new one — this time in Flesh and Bone , a limited-run series on Starz. The new show has been called " Breaking Bad meets Black Swan ," and with good reason: It's the first series created by writer and producer Moira Walley-Beckett since her acclaimed work on Breaking Bad , the Emmy-winning...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Twenty-five years ago, a new Halloween tradition was launched. (SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SIMPSONS") NANCY CARTWRIGHT: (As Bart Simpson) Here's a story that's really scarifying. YEARDLEY SMITH: (As Lisa Simpson) Oh, brother. CARTWRIGHT: (As Bart Simpson) I call it Bad Dream House (laughter). SIEGEL: The Simpsons annual "Treehouse Of Horror." These episodes have proven so popular since the first one...

The muppet Julia has not yet made her TV debut, but the wide-eyed little girl with a big smile is the star of her own "digital storybook" called " We're Amazing, 1,2,3 ." For over a year now, Sesame Street has been working with organizations such as Autism Speaks and Autism Self Advocacy to help reduce the stigma associated with autism spectrum disorder. As part of the campaign " See Amazing in All Children ," the adorable muppet Abby Cadabby explains in one YouTube video, "Lots of kids have...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSTywVwZCjw Hasan Minhaj was one of Jon Stewart's last hires on The Daily Show . As a correspondent, he's covered Pope Francis' recent visit to the U.S., labor issues and negotiations with Iran. On the side, he's been working on a solo theater piece called Homecoming King that gets its New York premiere off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theater on Thursday. Homecoming King is a roller-coaster ride. Onstage, Minhaj is a charming, energetic comedian and an absorbing...

Among the institutions devastated by the flooding in South Carolina is the home of a ballet company. Dancers from around the world have come to Columbia to dance in the Columbia Classical Ballet Company , founded more than 20 years ago by Radenko Pavlovich. Now the company's 32 members have nowhere to rehearse or take classes. Their building, renovated just this summer, has been completely destroyed. During the flooding, water reached up to the ceiling of the studio. Costumes and music scores...

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