Elizabeth Blair

Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning, Senior Producer/Reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.

She produces, edits, and reports arts and cultural segments for NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. In this position, Blair has reported on a range of topics from arts education to shifting attitudes towards sexual misconduct. 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 Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Andy Serkis, comedians Bill Burr and Hari Kondabolu, the rapper K'Naan and Cookie Monster (in character). Her work has received several honors, including two Peabody Awards and a Gracie.

Blair 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.

Basil Twist has been called a genius. The art he's a genius at? Puppetry — which he knows can be a hard sell.

"It's not of this time," he says. "It's not of the world we live in now."

But Twist, a highly trained practitioner, brings this art of the past to the present with innovative creations beyond the likes of the Muppets or their foul-mouthed cousins on Avenue Q.

Robert Sherman — one half of the songwriting team behind Disney movies and major hit musicals — has died. He was 86. The Oscar-winning Sherman Brothers, Robert and Richard, wrote some of the most enduring Disney songs of all time. Their output was astounding: Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Aristocats.

John Lasseter, of Pixar and Disney, once said, "You cannot forget a Sherman brothers song for your life."

Johnny Otis was many things over his career, including a bandleader, producer, radio and TV host and composer. Additionally, Otis launched the careers of many of R&B's finest singers. Otis died on Tuesday at his home near Los Angeles. He was 90 years old.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Ratings have been a major disappointment for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), but that could change now that Oprah Winfrey is about to debut her own show on the cable channel.

When Winfrey ended her longtime show on broadcast TV earlier this year, there were lots of tears and endless tributes to the queen of daytime talk.

Public school music teachers are heroes. They coach tiny fourth graders to play violins. The get 60 restless middle schoolers to play the same music at the same time. But their trickiest task of the year might be making selections for the winter concert.

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Criticism against the home improvement chain Lowes isn't letting up. It started after Lowes dropped its ads from the reality TV show "All-American Muslim" in response to pressure from a conservative Christian group. Now an online petition has nearly 20,000 signatures calling on the store to reinstate the ads. Lowes, in a statement, says simply, it is committed to diversity. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has the story.

It's toy season. For boys, one of the hottest items on the market this year builds on an ancient concept: the spinning top. The tops are called Beyblades, and I discovered them on the playground of my son's elementary school, where I saw this pack of boys, huddled around something that looked possibly illicit. I was suspicious, but now I let them do the same thing at home.

This Christmas, the Beyblade is sure to be a popular stocking stuffer. What's a Beyblade — it is a sophisticated top. Hasbro has taken the simple concept and added all kinds of cool features.

In 1956, two icons — Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier — got together in London to make a movie, The Prince and the Showgirl. It was a comedy about the lonely Prince Regent of Carpathia, who meets a flirty American showgirl. The film was a royal flop. Now a new movie, My Week With Marilyn, recounts the miserable time had by all on the set. It's the story of one week during the film shoot, with behind-the-scenes clashes, misaligned acting styles, and the pursuit of personal ambitions. Michelle Williams plays Monroe and Kenneth Branagh plays Olivier.

Any industry looking for major growth in the U.S. market can't ignore Latinos, who make up 16 percent of the U.S. population. As the Latino population grows, beer marketers are trying more nuanced ways of influencing this key segment.

"They love beer," says Jim Sabia, chief marketing officer for Crown Imports, which distributes Mexican beers including Corona and Modelo. "Hispanics are 19 percent more likely to purchase beer than the rest of U.S. consumers." On top of that, Hispanics will make up a large portion of the legal drinking-age population in the future.

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