Elizabeth Blair

Elizabeth Blair is a 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.

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Arts & Life
4:56 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Nearly 200 Comedians, All Playing The Same City

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 2:31 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Dance
4:16 am
Thu July 23, 2015

You Might Not Know Kenny Ortega, But You Probably Know His Choreography

Remember that scene from Dirty Dancing when Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey practice their lifts in a lake? Turns out they weren't the only ones in the water; choreographer Kenny Ortega was right there beside them.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 2:10 pm

What do Michael Jackson, Zac Efron, Bette Midler and Patrick Swayze have in common? They've all worked closely with choreographer Kenny Ortega — a veteran song and dance man who has inspired generations of performers.

On July 31, the Disney Channel premieres his new movie Descendants, starring a number of young, new actors as well as veterans like Kristin Chenoweth and Kathy Najimy.

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Arts & Life
5:00 am
Wed July 22, 2015

For More Than 30 Years, Comics Flock To Montreal Every July

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 4:55 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Pop Culture
3:27 am
Thu July 9, 2015

As Plus-Size Fashion Gains Popularity, Retailers Play Catch-Up

Plus-size women have struggled in the past to find fashionable clothing options. But, with celebrities bringing plus size to the forefront, the fashion industry might wake up.
Mary McLain NPR

Originally published on Thu July 9, 2015 9:30 am

If you're a woman of a certain size, shopping for clothes can be a downer. Even though the average American woman is around a size 14, most department store racks are devoted to smaller bodies.

But that could be changing.

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Remembrances
4:20 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

Burt Shavitz, Face Of Burt's Bees, Dies At 80

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 8:02 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Thu June 11, 2015

Ron Moody, Who Delighted Audiences As Fagin In 'Oliver!' Dies

Ron Moody, as Fagin, is seen in a 1968 publicity portrait for the film Oliver!
Columbia/Getty Images

With a scruffy beard and devilish twinkle in his eye, Ron Moody's Fagin is one of the most memorable, musical theater villains of all time. Moody died Thursday at a hospital in London. He was 91.

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Photography
2:43 am
Mon May 25, 2015

It's Not Rude: These Portraits Of Wounded Vets Are Meant To Be Stared At

Army Spc. Jerral Hancock sits for a portrait with his son Julius. It is believed that Hancock was trapped under the wreckage of his Army tank in Iraq for half an hour before he was rescued.
Courtesy of David Jay/Unknown Soldier

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 11:50 am

It's impolite to stare. But when it comes to severely injured soldiers, maybe we don't look enough; or maybe we'd rather not see wounded veterans at all.

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Looted By The Nazis, Matisse's 'Seated Woman' Finally Finds Her Way Home

Henri Matisse's Seated Woman was found in an apartment in Munich.
Wolf Heider-Sawall Courtesy of Art Recovery Group

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 12:19 pm

Missing for nearly 75 years, a painting by Henri Matisse is being returned to the family of its rightful owner Friday. Seated Woman belonged to renowned art dealer Paul Rosenberg, who fled the Nazis in 1940.

The story of the painting's recovery reads like a historical crime novel.

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Pop Culture
3:34 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Just How Do 'Thomas & Friends' Drive Sodor's Economy?

Sir Topham Hatt: benevolent CEO or robber baron?
HIT Entertainment

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 6:34 pm

Is Sir Topham Hatt a robber baron or a paternalistic CEO? Are Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends part of a union? How does anyone make money on the Island of Sodor?

Turns out, these are some of the serious issues that have perplexed more than one grown-up forced to read or watch Thomas & Friends for the umpteenth time with their kids. On the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series, the books by Reverend Wilbert Awdry that spawned the shiny engines, we explore this elaborate train of thought.

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Art & Design
2:23 am
Fri April 24, 2015

Slow Fashion Shows Consumers What It's Made Of

The Zady clothing line sources cotton from the Texas Organic Cotton Cooperative in Lubbock, Texas.
Zady

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 12:15 pm

If you're into "slow food" — the ethical response to "fast food" — you probably want to know how the animals were treated or whether pesticides were used on your vegetables. Now, the "slow fashion" movement is in the same spirit.

"It's about understanding the process or the origins of how things are made," says Soraya Darabi, co-founder of the clothing line Zady. "Where our products come from, how they're constructed and by whom. Slow fashion is really indicative of a movement of people who want to literally slow down."

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NPR Ed
4:47 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Teaching Students To Hear The Music In The Built World

Architecture professor Diana Agrest evaluates her students' work during a class critique at Cooper Union in New York.
LA Johnson NPR

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 8:31 am

What makes a great teacher great? That's the question at the heart of 50 Great Teachers, from the NPR Ed Team.

Diana Agrest believes architecture is so much more than a marriage of form and function. For more than four decades, she's been trying to get her students to believe that too.

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Code Switch
7:51 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Who Gets To Dance In 'Swan Lake'? The Answer Is Changing

Misty Copeland (left) and Brooklyn Mack play Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried in this year's Washington Ballet production of Swan Lake. It is the first time that two black dancers star in Swan Lake in a major American production.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 10:47 am

Something rare is happening in the world of ballet: At the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., two African-American dancers will be the leads in The Washington Ballet's production of Swan Lake. Misty Copeland, soloist with American Ballet Theatre, will dance the dual role of Odette and Odile, while Brooklyn Mack of The Washington Ballet will dance Prince Siegfried.

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The Salt
6:26 am
Sun March 29, 2015

Cheez Whiz Helped Spread Processed Foods. Will It Be Squeezed Out?

A Cheez Whiz ad from 1952.
Courtesy of Kraft Foods

Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 9:33 am

Will Cheez Whiz survive the merger?

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Television
4:55 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Documentary Filmmakers Worry About Being Squeezed Out Of PBS Prime Time

The popularity of Carson and company on the hit show Downton Abbey is tough for PBS documentary films to compete with. Some major markets — including New York — are considering moving those docs out of prime time.
WGBH/PBS

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:09 am

As PBS enjoys the success of shows like Downton Abbey and Antiques Roadshow, documentary filmmakers feel they're being marginalized.

Two signature documentary shows on PBS — POV and Independent Lens — air rigorous, in-depth reports about difficult issues often set in minority communities. They also enjoy a prime time slot on many stations, including New York City's WNET, one of the largest PBS member stations in the country.

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Acclaimed Documentary Filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky Dies At 58

Co-director Bruce Sinofsky attends the Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory press day at HBO Studios on Jan. 6, 2012, in New York City.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 4:14 pm

Peabody and Emmy Award winning filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky has died at age 58.

Sinofsky and his longtime co-director, Joe Berlinger, made such acclaimed documentaries as Some Kind of Monster, about the heavy metal band Metallica and Brother's Keeper, about four brothers in rural upstate New York. They are perhaps best known for Paradise Lost, a trilogy of films about three teenagers convicted of killing three little boys in West Memphis, Ark.

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