Neda Ulaby

Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.

Scouring the various and often overlapping worlds of art, music, television, film, new media and literature, Ulaby's radio and online stories reflect political and economic realities, cultural issues, obsessions and transitions, as well as artistic adventurousness— and awesomeness.

Over the last few years, Ulaby has strengthened NPR's television coverage both in terms of programming and industry coverage and profiled breakout artists such as Ellen Page and Skylar Grey and behind-the-scenes tastemakers ranging from super producer Timbaland to James Schamus, CEO of Focus Features. Her stories have included a series on women record producers, an investigation into exhibitions of plastinated human bodies, and a look at the legacy of gay activist Harvey Milk. Her profiles have brought listeners into the worlds of such performers as Tyler Perry, Ryan Seacrest, Mark Ruffalo, and Courtney Love.

Ulaby has earned multiple fellowships at the Getty Arts Journalism Program at USC Annenberg as well as a fellowship at the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism to study youth culture. In addition, Ulaby's weekly podcast of NPR's best arts stories. Culturetopia, won a Gracie award from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation.

Joining NPR in 2000, Ulaby was recruited through NPR's Next Generation Radio, and landed a temporary position on the cultural desk as an editorial assistant. She started reporting regularly, augmenting her work with arts coverage for D.C.'s Washington City Paper.

Before coming to NPR, Ulaby worked as managing editor of Chicago's Windy City Times and co-hosted a local radio program, What's Coming Out at the Movies. Her film reviews and academic articles have been published across the country and internationally. For a time, she edited fiction for The Chicago Review and served on the editing staff of the leading academic journal Critical Inquiry. Ulaby taught classes in the humanities at the University of Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University and at high schools serving at-risk students.

A former doctoral student in English literature, Ulaby worked as an intern for the features desk of the Topeka Capital-Journal after graduating from Bryn Mawr College. She was born in Amman, Jordan, and grew up in the idyllic Midwestern college towns of Lawrence, Kansas and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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6:09am

Fri April 24, 2015
Code Switch

A Look At 'Blackbird,' The First Film On The New 'Black Netflix'

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 12:27 pm

Blackbird is about a gay interracial romance set in the deep South.
courtesy of blackbirdthemovie.com

A tiny independent movie has been picked by one of Hollywood's biggest moguls to promote his latest venture. Robert L. Johnson created BET and now, the Urban Movie Channel — an online channel that's being called the black Netflix.

The first original film it has acquired is a gay interracial romance set in the Deep South. In Blackbird, the main character Randy is in high school. Everyone thinks he's gay, and they're totally fine with it.

Randy, 18, is fervently religious. Even though his best friend is gay, Randy's in denial about his own sexuality.

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6:23pm

Mon April 20, 2015
Media

Small South Carolina Newspaper Takes Home Top Pulitzer Prize

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 6:01 am

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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5:16pm

Thu April 16, 2015
Theater

Broadway Passes The Bechdel Test With 'Fun Home'

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 7:40 pm

Sydney Lucas as Small Alison and Michael Cerveris as her father in the new production of Fun Home.
Joan Marcus

2:17pm

Fri February 27, 2015
Remembrances

He Was, And Will Always Be, Our Friend: Remembering Leonard Nimoy

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 10:45 am

While Leonard Nimoy became famous as Star Trek's Mr. Spock, he was conflicted about the role. He later came to embrace it. He's shown here with actor William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk.
Getty Images

In 1966, when Leonard Nimoy was offered a minor role on a new space drama, he was thrilled. As he told Archive of American Television: "You have to understand that prior to Star Trek I never had a job that lasted longer than two weeks in any TV show or movie. Never. Two weeks — max. And here I was, looking at a season of work."

The actor beloved for his role as the pointy-eared half-human, half-Vulcan died of lung disease at his home in Los Angeles on Friday. He was 83.

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5:16am

Sat February 21, 2015
Movies

King Of Condensed Films: Meet Chuck Workman, The Oscars' Montage Master

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 9:20 am

Chuck Workman at his editing station in Beverly Hills in 2010, the last year he created montages for the Oscars. Workman says montages today have a less highly edited style.
Damian Dovarganes AP

4:53pm

Fri February 20, 2015
Movies

'I'll Take Insanely Hard Oscar Trivia For 400, Alex'

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 8:57 am

This year's Oscars will be given out at the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday night. At O'Brien's Pub in Santa Monica, Calif., pub trivia regulars — including many former game show champs — had their own competition, answering harder-than-average questions about Academy Awards past and present.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Here's a tough Oscar trivia question: Who is the only person to twice achieve the feat of receiving nominations for acting, writing and directing on the same film?

Wait. Was that not hard enough? Try naming the four worst-performing best picture winners from the past 10 years.

Trivia champions live for questions like this. That's why they flock to O'Brien's Pub in Santa Monica, Calif. Regulars such as Brad Rutter (Jeopardy!'s leading all-time money winner) and Daniel Avila (a game show staple since 1984) compete over a $75 bar tab.

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4:39pm

Thu February 12, 2015
Movie Interviews

'Fifty Shades' Director Explores Passion, Performance And Control

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 6:26 pm

Sam Taylor-Johnson directs Jamie Dorn and Dakota Johnson on the set of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Chuck Zlotnick FOCUS/UNIVERSAL

Universal Pictures put a woman in charge when it hired Sam Taylor-Johnson to direct Fifty Shades of Grey. It also got an art world star nominated for such prestigious awards as Britain's Turner Prize. Truth be told, Taylor-Johnson sounds slightly relieved to discuss her photography and videos instead of the movie she's in the thick of promoting.

"It feels so far away from me right now," she says, in her plummy London accent. "And it's so nice to talk about again — gives me a bit of a breather."

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7:38am

Sun February 8, 2015
Book News & Features

Christian Grey Began His Fictional Career As A Vampire

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 2:53 pm

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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10:13am

Sat January 17, 2015
Movies

And The Oscar Goes To ... Wait, Who Hasn't Had One In A While?

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 2:12 pm

Robert Duvall (right) was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Judge, which also starred Robert Downey Jr. The nomination left many critics scratching their heads.
Claire Folger AP

"The right actors win Oscars, but for the wrong roles," Katharine Hepburn once said.

The Motion Picture Academy has a history of rewarding stars for less-than-celestial performances, and this week's Oscar nomination announcements left a lot of people scratching their heads — over the snubs for Selma, for example, and the nomination of Robert Duvall for best supporting actor in The Judge.

"I think most people hadn't even heard of The Judge before that nomination," says Alyssa Rosenberg, culture columnist for The Washington Post.

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4:18pm

Mon January 12, 2015
Remembrances

'La Dolce Vita' Star Dies At 83

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 6:20 pm

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

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