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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Code Switch
8:51 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 11:47 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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Music
4:02 am
Thu April 2, 2015

The 2 Filmmakers Behind The Who

Managers Chris Stamp (left) and Kit Lambert were aspiring filmmakers when they first approached The Who.
The Image Works/Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 2:22 pm

Two young, aspiring filmmakers walk into a bar. One's a hip, working-class dreamer. The other, a suit-and-tie wearing son of a classical musician.

The punchline: One of the greatest rock bands in history.

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The Salt
7:26 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 10:33 am

Will Cheez Whiz survive the merger?

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World
4:37 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Elton John Declares Boycott Against Dolce & Gabbana

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 8:01 pm

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

Television
5:48 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 7:09 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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Remembrances
4:17 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Legendary Jazz Producer Orrin Keepnews Dies At 91

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 6:38 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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The Two-Way
3:10 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 5:14 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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Deceptive Cadence
4:16 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Composing The Folk Music Of A Made-Up Country

Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori as hotel concierge M. Gustave and his lobby-boy confidante, Zero, in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 8:13 pm

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Games & Humor
7:12 am
Sat February 14, 2015

For Three Comedians, Valentine's Day Makes For One Big Joke

Marina Franklin says audiences can always relate to jokes about heartache. "There's nothing like getting an immediate response," she says.
Carlos Delgado Courtesy of Marina Franklin

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 10:15 am

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Television
3:41 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Miniseries Explores The Ugly Fallout Of A Disciplinary 'Slap'

Rosie (Melissa George) and barbecue hostess Aisha (Thandie Newton) comfort Rosie's 5-year-old son (Dylan Schombing) after another parent hit him.
Virginia Sherwood NBC

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 9:09 am

For a lot of parents, spanking your kids isn't an option. But not too long ago, many a child's bottom met the occasional switch. And while attitudes about corporal punishment have changed, it's still a provocative issue — one NBC is taking on in The Slap, a new miniseries that premiers Thursday.

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Music News
5:16 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

One Of Sam Smith's Grammys A Win For Tom Petty, Too

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 6:27 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Sam Smith won four Grammy Awards last night. And that was good news for Tom Petty. Petty and another songwriter will get royalties from Smith's hit "Stay With Me" because it sounds a lot like one of their songs. NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports.

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Movies
4:13 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

'American Sniper' Exposes Unresolved Issues About The Iraq War

Bradley Cooper stars in American Sniper, based on the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 2:47 pm

The movie American Sniper is a surprise box-office hit, but it has also become a lightning rod. Some critics say the film, based on the life of the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, glorifies war. Others say it doesn't accurately portray the real Kyle. Still others say the movie — and the reactions to it — are an example of the deep disconnect between civilians and the military.

The vitriol has been ugly, the story complicated. There is no one truth. But when it comes to war, the most credible sources are often people who've experienced it firsthand.

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Dance
4:09 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

A Rare Bird: After 120 Years, Audiences Still Flock To 'Swan Lake'

Swan Lake is 120 years old and still popular. The Mariinsky Theatre's current tour of the ballet at BAM in New York City is nearly sold-out.
Valentin Baranovsky BAM

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 8:39 am

The version of Swan Lake most often performed today premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, 120 years ago this month. The ballet had been staged before, but it wasn't a hit until choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov revised it.

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Pop Culture
5:40 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

And The Moral Of The Story Is ... Kids Don't Always Understand The Moral

In the "Winter's Gift" episode of Sofia the First, Disney Princess Tiana (left) from The Princess and the Frog makes a special appearance to help Princess Sofia learn that a true gift comes from the heart.
Disney Junior

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 8:28 pm

"Slow and steady wins the race."

"What's right for one may be wrong for another."

"Treat others the way you'd like to be treated."

Morals have long been the conclusion of fables and fairy tales aimed at kids. And today's TV shows and movies are no different — they often weave lessons for the younger generation into their narratives. But do children actually absorb these messages, or do these endings just help parents feel better about the media their kids consume?

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Analysis
3:45 am
Thu January 8, 2015

'Charlie Hebdo' Laughed In The Face Of Violence; Will Future Satirists?

Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 6:36 pm

Despite a 2011 firebombing at the Charlie Hebdo offices, and continuing threats and heightened security around the building, according to its editor-in-chief, the staff of the weekly never slowed down.

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Games & Humor
3:23 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Banish 2014's Woes With Our Stand-Up Comedy Picks

NBC Ben Cohen/NBC

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 11:49 am

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Television
8:39 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

In 'The Honorable Woman,' There's No One You Can Trust

Maggie Gyllenhaal says she had some reservations about taking on the role of Nessa Stein in the SundanceTV original series The Honorable Woman. Middle East conflicts are so sensitive, she says, "It's really complicated and it goes back so far."
Des Willie SundanceTV

This is part of NPR's annual series "The Ones That Got Away," in which we look at some of the best entertainment we didn't report on this year.


"Who do you trust?" are the first words the audience hears in the political-psychological thriller The Honorable Woman. And as it turns out, the answer should be: No one.

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Movies
4:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Studios Hope Holiday Family Movies Will Grab Slice Of Shrinking Box Office

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:07 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Hollywood likes to roll out their big family movies around the holidays. This season the lineup includes "Big Hero 6," "Annie," "Penguins Of Madagascar," and the offbeat fairy tale musical, "Into The Woods."

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Movies
5:33 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

Revisiting The Stories Told In Murrow's 'Harvest of Shame'

Originally published on Fri November 28, 2014 6:22 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Ari Shapiro, and this is CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow in 1960.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "HARVEST OF SHAME")

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Games & Humor
4:32 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

4 Comic Albums And Audiobooks To Lighten Up Your Holiday Road Trip

Abrams Books for Young Readers

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:53 pm

Are you among the hordes of people expected to hit the road over the holidays? If so, what'll you do to pass the time? We suggest you try laughing: 2014 was a great year for comedy albums and comic audiobooks. These recommendations will help you chuckle away the tension while you're stuck in holiday traffic:


Yes Please by Amy Poehler

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