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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4:34pm

Tue May 5, 2015
The Two-Way

Edison's Talking Dolls Can Now Provide The Soundtrack To Your Nightmares

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 11:47 am

Thomas Edison's talking dolls were reportedly pretty robust, but their miniature phonographs were another story.
Collection of Robin and Joan Rolfs Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Back in 1890, Thomas Edison gave us some of the world's first talking dolls. Today, the glassy-eyed cherubs that are still around stand about 2 feet tall; they have wooden limbs and a metal body; and they sound supercreepy. (If you're looking for a soundtrack to your nightmares, listen to the audio story above.) Edison built and sold about 500 of them back in 1890. Now, new technology has made hearing them possible for the first time in decades.

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5:09am

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 11:27 am

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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4:35pm

Mon April 20, 2015
Media

Small South Carolina Newspaper Takes Home Top Pulitzer Prize

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 5:01 am

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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9:13am

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 1:12 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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3:18pm

Mon January 12, 2015
Remembrances

'La Dolce Vita' Star Dies At 83

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 5:20 pm

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

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