Elizabeth Blair

Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.

Blair produces, edits, and reports arts and cultural segments for NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. In this position, she has reported on a range of topics from arts funding to the MeToo movement. She has profiled renowned artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Mikhail Baryshnikov, explored how old women are represented in fairy tales, and reported the origins of the children's classic Curious George. Among her all-time favorite interviews are actors Octavia Spencer and Andy Serkis, comedians Bill Burr and Hari Kondabolu, the rapper K'Naan, and Cookie Monster (in character).

Blair has overseen several, large-scale series including The NPR 100, which explored landmark musical works of the 20th Century, and In Character, which probed the origins of iconic American fictional characters. Along with her colleagues on the Arts Desk and at NPR Music, Blair curated American Anthem, a major series exploring the origins of songs that uplift, rouse, and unite people around a common theme.

Blair's work has received several honors, including two Peabody Awards and a Gracie. She previously 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 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The Route 91 Harvest festival, the target of last night's shooting, is one of country music's biggest events. It's nicknamed the neon sleepover. The three-day event attracts big-name artists and more than 20,000 fans. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has more.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

People who write jokes on a freelance basis are losing a precious customer - "Saturday Night Live's" "Weekend Update." Here's NPR's Elizabeth Blair.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: Late-night comedy shows burn through a lot of material.

Comedian Shelley Berman has died. According to his publicist, Glenn Schwartz, Berman died early Friday morning at his home in Bell Canyon, Calif. He was 92 and had Alzheimer's disease.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 was supposed to be the next Hamilton. It was going to invigorate Broadway and attract younger and more diverse audiences — and it almost succeeded. Instead, it's closing on Sept. 3, in part because of a controversy over casting and race.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For three days now, a drama has been unfolding at HBO. They've been hacked. Company information was stolen...

(SOUNDBITE OF RAMIN DJAWADI'S "GAME OF THRONES THEME")

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The actor Kevin Hart is launching an all-digital streaming comedy service. The Laugh Out Loud Network is the latest entry in a crowded market. NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports.

Comedian Sasheer Zamata is at a crossroads.

Comedians have vastly different styles and sensibilities. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Montreal's annual Just For Laughs comedy festival, where one minute you're riding a speedboat of brainy one-liners from Jerry Seinfeld; the next, you're floating along with the intoxicating tales of Ron Funches.

Comedians are just as varied in their decisions of whether to talk politics on stage.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The third and final movie in the "Planet Of The Apes" trilogy opens today. In this retelling of the original movies, the apes are in an epic battle for their survival.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES")

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has had several confrontations with Chinese authorities. (He was once beaten so badly by police that he had to have brain surgery.) Through it all, Ai continued to make art, and his art continued to travel the world, sometimes without him.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A painting of a skull by Jean-Michel Basquiat broke records at Sotheby's last night. The work sold for more than $110 million. As NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, that is the most ever for an American artist's work at auction.

When Josh Groban takes his final bow in Broadway's Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812, he'll leave some very big shoes to fill. Fans of the multiplatinum-selling recording artist have flocked to see him in this exuberantly offbeat musical, which is based on a section of the Russian novel War and Peace.

Elmo and Big Bird have lots of experience teaching children everything from the ABCs to autism. Soon, they could be bringing smiles — and education — to millions of refugee children forced from their homes in Syria, Iraq and other war-torn countries.

Actor Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton, 24: Legacy) remembers the moment he knew he wanted to be a performer. At 9 years old, the Washington, D.C., native auditioned for a Kennedy Center production of The Brothers of the Knight, a children's musical about a preacher who doesn't approve of his 12 sons' all-night dancing.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

For comedians, skewering presidents is a time-honored tradition. President Trump, with his outsized personality and early morning tweets, is proving to be a rich source of material - and not just for comedians.

Here's NPR's Elizabeth Blair.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Jo Lampert is leading a new rock opera based on Joan of Arc. It's written by David Byrne of Talking Heads. It is Jo Lampert's biggest role yet. And as NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, she seems born to play the part.

If you've been out of loop on the American contemporary art scene, the Whitney Biennial is here to catch you up. This year's show opened Friday, and features 63 different artists and many new works that have never been shown before. Some artists are responding to the most pressing issues of our time, while others are tackling mammoth projects on a tight deadline. Photographer An-My Lê and artist Raúl de Nieves represent the range of this year's contributors.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

During the Vietnam War, An-My Le lived with her family in Saigon in the southern part of the country. It was April 1975, the tense days before the city fell to the North Vietnamese, and there was a knock on the door.

Infinity is a concept that's nearly impossible to grasp, let alone see. But it's one of artist Yayoi Kusama's obsessions.

The Japanese artist is known for her "infinity rooms," which have mirrored walls that make the space feel endless. Now, for the very first time, six of Kusama's infinity rooms are on display in one venue: the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. (The show will later travel to Seattle, Los Angeles and other cities.)

When the Oregon Shakespeare Festival asked playwright Lisa Loomer if she'd be interested in writing a play about Roe v. Wade, she was understandably skeptical. The 1973 Supreme Court decision, which legalized a woman's right to an abortion, marked a historic moment, but more than 40 years later the issue is far from settled.

On his first day on the job, President Trump made some changes to the Oval Office; he installed gold drapes and moved some statues. First Families have some leeway to make changes to the White House, and that includes changes to its art collection.

It can take many hands — or eyes — for one work of art to make it into the White House. Take, for example, the large painting the Obamas hung in what's called the Treaty Room.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

President Donald Trump and Melania Trump appeared at three inaugural balls last night, including the Liberty and Freedom balls at the Washington Convention Center.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

From head to toe, a first lady's look is heavily scrutinized, and Melania Trump will be no exception. But Trump is no stranger to the spotlight: In 2005, she was on the cover of Vogue in her Dior wedding dress, and she's modeled for Harper's Bazaar and posed nude for GQ. She also once sold her own line of costume jewelry and watches on QVC.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now to a story about an anti-hero, one who's dressed in tighty whities.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS")

ED HELMS: (As Captain Underpants) Tra-la-la.

Pages