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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4:54am

Thu November 7, 2013
Business

Most Remaining Blockbusters To Close In January

Blockbuster is going to shut all of its company-owned stores. Some franchise stores will stay open. At its peak, the video rental chain had about 9,000 stores.

3:47pm

Sun October 27, 2013
The Record

Lou Reed, Beloved Contrarian, Dies

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 5:59 pm

Lou Reed onstage in London in 1975 playing a transparent, Plexiglass guitar. Reed died Sunday. He was 71.
Denis O'Regan Getty Images

One of rock's most beloved and contrarian figures has died. Lou Reed epitomized New York City's artistic underbelly in the 1970s, with his songs about hookers and junkies. He was 71.

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5:12pm

Thu October 10, 2013
Books News & Features

Canada's Alice Munro Awarded Nobel In Literature

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And finally this hour, we celebrate the 110th winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Alice Munro. She is the 13th woman to win the award. The Canadian writer was hailed by the Swedish academy as a master of the contemporary short story. Over her career, Munro has written 14 story collections and one novel. As NPR's Neda Ulaby reports, Munro began writing as a child in rural Western Ontario, raised in a family of tough Scottish Presbyterians.

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3:34am

Mon September 23, 2013
Monkey See

The Man Who Gets The Science Right On 'The Big Bang Theory'

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 12:02 pm

David Saltzberg (right) hosts his "Geek of the Week," UCLA student Andrew Peck, on the set of The Big Bang Theory.
Michael Yarish Warner Bros.

Sure, Bob Newhart may have won his first Emmy for guest-starring as Professor Proton on the hugely popular show The Big Bang Theory, about four young scientists at Caltech. But behind the scenes is a real-life professor, David Saltzberg of UCLA.

Saltzberg studies high-energy particle physics and high-energy neutrino astronomy, using radio-detection techniques when he's not working as The Big Bang Theory's science consultant.

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4:12am

Mon September 16, 2013
Television

Technology Transforms TV Ratings And Ad Sales

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 7:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Believe it or not, there was a time when you had to watch a television program when it actually aired. Then came VCRs, which had certain drawbacks.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Who taped over my episode of "The Cosby Show"?

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5:18pm

Tue September 10, 2013
Television

What The $@** Is Up On Cable These Days?

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 7:11 pm

Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln), in between curses on AMC's The Walking Dead.
Gene Page AMC

Seriously, if you were being attacked by zombies, you might yell out the word f- - -! But no one does on The Walking Dead. When it comes to language in this golden age of basic cable dramas, the rules are idiosyncratic and unclear.

"It's so arbitrary, hon," says Kurt Sutter. "It's just basically people in suits making up the rules."

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2:58am

Thu August 22, 2013
Crime In The City

Awaiting The Apocalypse In The Quiet Town Of Concord

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 12:43 pm

Ben Winters wrote the best-selling Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters, as well as Bedbugs, Android Karenina and several books for kids. So far, he's published two books in the Last Policeman series.
Neda Ulaby NPR

No place seems safe these days from someone's terrifying, post-apocalyptic imaginings. Los Angeles is wrecked in the movie Elysium, the South is zombie-ridden in TV's The Walking Dead, and now— thanks to writer Ben Winters — even the quiet streets of Concord are at risk of annihilation.

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3:07am

Mon August 19, 2013
Books

For You To Borrow, Some Libraries Have To Go Begging

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 4:14 pm

The Tyson Library in Ludlow, Vt., is required to support itself independently; public libraries in Vermont receive no state funding.
Neda Ulaby NPR

More than 90 percent of Americans say public libraries are important to their communities, according to the Pew Research Center. But the way that love translates into actual financial support varies hugely from state to state.

Vermont, for instance, brags that it has more libraries per capita than any other U.S. state. Some of them are remarkably quaint. In Ludlow, one library is a white clapboard Victorian, slightly frayed, ringed by lilies and sitting by the side of a brook.

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5:53am

Fri August 2, 2013
Arts & Life

Spoiler Alert: Spoilers May Not Be That Bad

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 1:09 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When you check social media and you're not caught up on your favorite TV show, say, you never know when you might encounter a spoiler. Somebody on Twitter, some blog says too much about what happened in a plot line. My big spoiler moment came when I saw a post about a death on "Downton Abbey" and I thought that everything was just ruined. But is it really that bad when this happens? NPR's Neda Ulaby has this encore story about how spoilers might actually make you enjoy something more.

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2:53am

Wed July 17, 2013
Monkey See

Fangs And Fishnets For The Win: 'Goth Barbie' Is Monstrously Successful

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 3:15 pm

Mattel executives say they did not anticipate the runaway success of the goth-influenced Monster High brand when it debuted in 2010.
Mattel

We've got two words for you: Goth Barbie.

Not only does such a thing exist, but after Barbie, it's the best-selling doll in the world. The dolls of Monster High are bone-thin beauties all related to famous monsters. They come with books and Web episodes that follow their stories in that place where everyone feels like a freak — in high school.

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