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.

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...

Troll dolls, those novelty toys with fluorescent Don King hair, are now the stars of their own movie. It's a balance between feel-good fun and the kind of offbeat humor that aims to keep adults in their seats. Tending to these relentlessly charming creatures is veteran animator Mike Mitchell. He's worked with many different, er, species (a sponge, chipmunks, ogres) in his career. Mitchell claims Shrek is the most difficult of all of them. Trolls, he says, are by far the easiest. That's...

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...

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"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...

One of the most iconic songs of the civil rights movement is now the subject of a lawsuit. The same law firm that recently succeeded in releasing "Happy Birthday" from copyright rules is now hoping to do the same for "We Shall Overcome." Filed Tuesday in New York federal court, the suit claims the song belongs in the public domain, and seeks a return of "unlawful licensing fees" from the publishers. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the We Shall Overcome Foundation , a non-profit lead by...

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...

Casting and skin color are at the heart of a controversy surrounding a new movie about the legendary singer Nina Simone. The movie hasn't been released yet, but the casting of Afro-Latina actor Zoe Saldana in the lead has caused an uproar from some Simone fans and family members. Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Casting and skin color are at the heart of the controversy surrounding a new movie about a legendary singer. (SOUNDBITE OF...

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...

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...

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...

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