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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2:44pm

Fri August 3, 2012
Arts & Life

Monroe's Legacy Is Making Fortune, But For Whom?

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 4:06 pm

Marilyn Monroe's will reveals a quieter, more complicated side to her legacy.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Marilyn Monroe, a global symbol of beauty, glamour and sex, died on Aug. 5, 1962. Fifty years later, she's still in style — and making more money than ever. Monroe's come-hither expression is emblazoned on posters, T-shirts and refrigerator magnets. She's become a multimillion-dollar brand, but that may never have happened if not for the will she left behind, a document that reveals a much quieter — and more complicated — side to her legacy.

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1:03am

Wed July 18, 2012
London 2012: The Summer Olympics

For Olympic Committee, Marketing Is No Game

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 3:57 pm

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps signed an endorsement deal with Subway in 2008, but because Subway is not an Olympic sponsor, Phelps isn't allowed to appear in a Subway ad from July 18 to Aug. 15 2012.
via SubwayEatFresh365/YouTube

One record expected to be broken at the London Summer Olympics is the size of its audience — an expected 4 billion people. For advertisers, that's a golden opportunity. But there are also strict rules about who can use the Olympics to promote their products.

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12:57am

Tue July 17, 2012
Dead Stop

Looking For Lady Day's Resting Place? Detour Ahead

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 7:58 am

Queen Esther stands in front of Billie Holiday's gravesite in New York City.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

When Billie Holiday died in 1959, thousands of mourners attended her funeral at St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in New York City. The overflow crowd lined the sidewalks. Honorary pallbearers included such jazz greats as Benny Goodman and Mary Lou Williams. Newspapers and magazines ran heartfelt tributes.

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1:50am

Thu June 21, 2012
American Dreams: Then And Now

Native American Comic Living The 'Indigenous Dream'

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 7:53 am

Comedian Charlie Hill says he's achieved the American dream, but that it's been out of reach for many fellow Native Americans.
Courtesy of Charlie Hill

Native American comedian Charlie Hill says he's living the American dream.

Actually, make that the "indigenous dream," which he prefers to call it.

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8:47pm

Sun May 20, 2012
Music News

Bee Gee Robin Gibb Dies Of Cancer At 62

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 6:35 am

Robin Gibb performs at the Dubai International Jazz Festival in 2008.
Tracy Brand AP

Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees has died.

Gibb died Sunday after a long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery, according to a statement on his official website.

"The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time," the statement said.

Robin and his brothers Barry and Maurice Gibb racked up dozens of hit songs in their five decade career. Robin Gibb, who had cancer, was 62.

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7:48pm

Tue May 15, 2012
Remembrances

In Writing, Fuentes Shed Light On Poverty, Inequality

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 8:08 am

Mexican author Carlos Fuentes poses for a photo after a news conference in Mexico City on March 12. Fuentes died Tuesday at a hospital in Mexico City. He was 83.
Alexandre Meneghini AP

Carlos Fuentes was the son of a Mexican diplomat and spent years living abroad, including in the United States. But Mexico — the country, its people and politics — was central to his writing.

Fuentes, one of the most influential Latin American writers, died Tuesday at a hospital in Mexico City at the age of 83. He was instrumental in bringing Latin American literature to an international audience, and he used his fiction to address what he saw as real-world injustices.

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12:57am

Thu May 10, 2012
Movies

'Dark Shadows': The Birth Of The Modern TV Vampire

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 9:20 am

In the influential Dark Shadows, a 1960s ABC soap opera with a gothic and supernatural bent, Jonathan Frid played Barnabas Collins, a vampire who returned to claim his coastal Maine manor.
Dan Curtis Productions The Kobal Collection

When it comes to monsters on television, vampires have the market more or less cornered. Think about it: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries ...

Vampires' enduring popularity on TV may not be eternal, but they have been appearing on the small screen for decades. Mark Dawidziak, who's written books about vampires and teaches a class at Kent State University on their appearances in film and TV, says that part of the way vampires have remained a force in popular culture is through their evolution on TV.

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2:00pm

Mon April 16, 2012
The Record

Andrew Love Of The Memphis Horns Has Died

Andrew Love (left) and Wayne Jackson pose for a studio portrait in 1965.
Gilles Petard Redferns

Saxophonist Andrew Love of the Memphis Horns has died. Love, who had Alzheimer's disease, died on April 12 at his home in Memphis. He was 70 years old.

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2:00am

Fri March 30, 2012
Movies

Bullying Movie Is Released With No Rating

The Motion Picture Association of America was going to give Bully an R rating for language, but the movie's producer decided to send it out with no rating. The nation's second-largest cinema chain AMC will show it, but Cinemark, the third-largest chain will not.

1:00pm

Fri March 16, 2012
Theater

'Edith Can Shoot' Centers On Precocious Young Girl

Isabella Dawis plays the protective 12-year-old Edith in the Mu Performing Arts production of Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them, by Rey Pamatmat.
Michal Daniel Mu Performing Arts

Edith is "too old to be talking to a stuffed frog and too young to be carrying a gun."

That's how Rey Pamatmat describes the main character — who carries both items — in his play Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them.

Pamatmat's play premiered at the prestigious Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Kentucky last year. Since then, it's been playing at regional theaters around the country.

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12:00pm

Tue March 6, 2012
The Record

Disney Songwriter Robert Sherman Has Died

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 12:33 pm

Composer/lyricist Robert Sherman (left) and his brother Richard stand next to the car used in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The brothers wrote the songs for the movie, as well as a musical version that began running in 2002.
Ezio Petersen UPI/Landov

Robert Sherman — one half of the songwriting team behind Disney movies and major hit musicals — has died. He was 86. The Oscar-winning Sherman Brothers, Robert and Richard, wrote some of the most enduring Disney songs of all time. Their output was astounding: Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Aristocats.

John Lasseter, of Pixar and Disney, once said, "You cannot forget a Sherman brothers song for your life."

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10:01pm

Thu January 26, 2012
Television

For 'Black Nerds Everywhere,' Two Comedy Heroes

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 10:28 am

Jordan Peele (left) plays President Obama and Keegan-Michael Key (right) plays his "anger translator" in a sketch from Key & Peele, premiering Jan. 31 on Comedy Central.
Comedy Central

Comics Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have known each other for years. They were both in the cast of MadTV. Now they're starting their own sketch-comedy series, due to launch on Comedy Central on Tuesday.

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1:32pm

Thu January 19, 2012
The Record

Johnny Otis, Rhythm And Blues Pioneer, Has Died

Johnny Otis was many things over his career, including a bandleader, producer, radio and TV host and composer. Additionally, Otis launched the careers of many of R&B's finest singers. Otis died on Tuesday at his home near Los Angeles. He was 90 years old.

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2:00am

Tue January 17, 2012
Performing Arts

Is It OK To Leave A Show During Intermission?

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 5:47 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There is no law against walking out the door during intermission, but it can be a dilemma. You're at a concert or a play and for whatever reason decide you don't really want to go back for the second half of the performance. If enough people think the same thing, it can mean a lot of empty seats after the break. It's something audience members do think about. And as NPR's Elizabeth Blair tells us, so do theaters and orchestras, some of which are tightening up their act.

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10:01pm

Thu December 29, 2011
Television

Oprah Winfrey Network Still Finding Its Footing

Oprah Winfrey talks to reporters during a press tour that followed the launch of her cable network, OWN, in January.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Ratings have been a major disappointment for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), but that could change now that Oprah Winfrey is about to debut her own show on the cable channel.

When Winfrey ended her longtime show on broadcast TV earlier this year, there were lots of tears and endless tributes to the queen of daytime talk.

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12:30pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Record

Music In Holiday Concerts Thorny Subject For Public Schools

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 10:59 am

A choir in Little Rock, Ark., performs.
dlewis33 istockphoto.com

Public school music teachers are heroes. They coach tiny fourth graders to play violins. The get 60 restless middle schoolers to play the same music at the same time. But their trickiest task of the year might be making selections for the winter concert.

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2:00am

Tue December 13, 2011
Business

Lowes Cancels Ads On Muslim Reality Show

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 10:29 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Criticism against the home improvement chain Lowes isn't letting up. It started after Lowes dropped its ads from the reality TV show "All-American Muslim" in response to pressure from a conservative Christian group. Now an online petition has nearly 20,000 signatures calling on the store to reinstate the ads. Lowes, in a statement, says simply, it is committed to diversity. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has the story.

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6:09am

Mon December 12, 2011
Monkey See

Beyblades: A New Spin Puts An Old Toy Back On Top

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 6:57 am

The hot holiday gift Beyblades are seen in the FAO Schwarz store in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

It's toy season. For boys, one of the hottest items on the market this year builds on an ancient concept: the spinning top. The tops are called Beyblades, and I discovered them on the playground of my son's elementary school, where I saw this pack of boys, huddled around something that looked possibly illicit. I was suspicious, but now I let them do the same thing at home.

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2:00am

Mon December 12, 2011
Games & Humor

Beyblades: Hot New Toy Borrows Ancient Concept

This Christmas, the Beyblade is sure to be a popular stocking stuffer. What's a Beyblade — it is a sophisticated top. Hasbro has taken the simple concept and added all kinds of cool features.

4:16am

Thu November 24, 2011
NPR Story

'Prince and The Show Girl'

In 1956, two icons — Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier — got together in London to make a movie, The Prince and the Showgirl. It was a comedy about the lonely Prince Regent of Carpathia, who meets a flirty American showgirl. The film was a royal flop. Now a new movie, My Week With Marilyn, recounts the miserable time had by all on the set. It's the story of one week during the film shoot, with behind-the-scenes clashes, misaligned acting styles, and the pursuit of personal ambitions. Michelle Williams plays Monroe and Kenneth Branagh plays Olivier.

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