NPR: 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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3:00pm

Thu June 30, 2011
The Record

The New Wave Of Cartoon Bands

Anime character Hatsune Miku stars in a new series of Toyota Corolla ads aimed at the Asian-American market.
Toyota USA, Inc.

Hatsune Miku is an anime girl with kiddie-pool sized eyes and flowing teal pigtails. She stars in a new Toyota Corolla commercial aimed at the Asian-American market.

Miku is huge back home in Japan. Originally invented to sell synthesized voice software, the character's featured in a video game, she's released hit pop songs and she sells out live concerts. (If "live" is the right word.)

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3:52pm

Mon June 27, 2011
Monkey See

'That's Racist!' How A Serious Accusation Became A Commonplace Quip

Sort your laundry into whites and darks? "That's racist," quips one character on Parks and Recreation.
iStockphoto.com

My editor proposed this story about "that's racist" after hearing her young son's friends using it as a joke. Just the night before, it had been a punchline on one of my favorite sitcoms, Parks And Recreation. (Someone calls sorting laundry into whites and darks racist.)

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12:01am

Mon June 13, 2011
Arts & Life

Colorado Tribe Puts Cultural Riches On Display

With its upward-sloping wings, the new Southern Ute Museum and Cultural Center is designed to resemble an eagle, a sacred symbol for the tribe.
Courtesy of the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum

It's not often that you hear of Native American tribes flourishing thanks to the U.S. government, but that's what happened to Colorado's Southern Ute.

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3:00pm

Thu May 19, 2011
Monkey See

Mary Hart: An Icon Of Modern Celebrity Steps Down After Nearly 30 Years

Mary Hart has hosted Entertainment Tonight since 1982. She's now stepping down.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

After 29 years, Mary Hart is stepping down as host of the CBS show Entertainment Tonight – presumably with those legs once insured for a million dollars each. It's television's longest-running entertainment show, and Hart's been with it almost since the beginning. She helped create a kind of news that, like it or not, has come to permeate the culture.

Before Entertainment Tonight, regular folks weren't expected to be interested in the industry side of the entertainment industry.

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4:00am

Thu May 19, 2011
Around the Nation

Frito-Lay Uses Time Square For PR Stunt

NPR's Neda Ulaby goes inside one massive PR stunt. Frito Lay setup in Times Square with Padma Lakshmi of Top Chef to promote the company's products as healthy and all-natural.

12:01am

Thu May 5, 2011
The Message Makers: Inside PR

Corporate America Take On Multilingual PR

Part of a series on the PR industry

Julia Huang runs InterTrend, a marketing company in southern California that focuses on Asian-Americans.

"We say Asian-American markets, [but] it's really not one market," she said in a recent phone conversation. "It's so many markets. It's so many!"

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4:10pm

Tue May 3, 2011
The Record

Beyonce (And Michelle Obama) Get The Kids Moving

Tuesday afternoon, kids at hundreds of middle schools all over the country were dancing exactly the same dance at exactly the same time. OK, they're middle school kids, so probably they were all doing something similar at more or less the same time. They called it a "flash workout" at the direction of two powerful leaders: Beyonce and the First Lady.

The kids were dancing to Beyonce's song and video "Move Your Body," a reworking of her song "Get Me Bodied," made for Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign.

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12:01am

Fri April 22, 2011
Monkey See

A New 'Doctor Who' Tries To Make Peace With Its Impatient Stateside Fans

It's a problem that might baffle even the intrepid Doctor Who: how to dissuade the show's devoted fans from downloading it illegally.

Those fans span generations — from those who remember the cult-y British science fiction show as a rickety affair, with visible zippers in costumes and esoteric plotlines, to newer converts impressed by the slick, accessible and very funny new reboot starring Matt Smith as the eleventh incarnation of the Time Lord, who scoots around the space-time continuum by way of a bright blue police call box.

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5:43pm

Tue April 19, 2011
Books

'Tea' Debacle Reflects The Murky Waters Of Memoirs

The case of philanthropist Greg Mortenson, author of the best-selling — but now besieged — memoir Three Cups of Tea, is just the latest in a long line of publishing debacles that are starting to feel like an annual occurrence: the running of the fraudulent memoirist.

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12:01am

Thu April 14, 2011
Television

HBO Lures Fantasy Fans With 'Game Of Thrones'

HBO has built up a sterling reputation for its original series and their true-to-life settings; there's the old West in Deadwood, New York single life in Sex and the City and a recovering New Orleans in Treme. But this Sunday, HBO will be premiering a series that's light on true-life and heavy on epic fantasy.

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