Neda Ulaby

Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR and hosts its award-winning Culturetopia podcast. Her work includes profiling actors, authors, musicians, and those who inform the world through creative expression, and covering the complicated relationships between art, artists, and society.

Ulaby came to NPR in 2000 when she was recruited through NPR's Next Generation Radio, and landed a temporary position on the cultural desk as an editorial assistant. She soon started reporting regularly, augmenting her radio work with arts journalism for the Washington [D.C.] City Paper.

Most recently, Ulaby's 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 Ellen Page, Timbaland, Mark Ruffalo, Courtney Love, and the RZA; writers Sarah Waters and Etgar Keret; and directors Hayao Miyazaki, Fatih Akin, and Eli Roth.

NPR’s Culturetopia, Ulaby’s weekly podcast of NPR's best arts stories, won a Gracie award for Outstanding Podcast from the American Women in Radio and Television. Ulaby has received the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellowship and a fellowship from the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism to study youth culture.

A former doctoral student in English literature, Ulaby was managing editor of Chicago's Windy City Times, and co-host of the radio program, “What's Coming Out at the Movies.” Her film reviews appeared in alternative papers nationwide. She also edited fiction for The Chicago Review, and served on the editing staff of the leading academic journal Critical Inquiry. Ulaby’s articles on slapstick comedy have been published internationally. She taught classes in the humanities at the University of Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, and at high schools serving at-risk students.

Ulaby was born in Amman, Jordan, and grew up in the Midwest of the United States. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she worked as an intern for the features desk of the Topeka Capital-Journal. Ulaby lives in Washington, D.C., with her partner, Robin, and their three-legged dog.




Fri August 26, 2011
The Record

Free Music in the Heart of the L.A. Sprawl

Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80's July 15 show at Grand Performances in Los Angeles. For over 25 years, Grand Performances' free shows have drawn diverse crowds to downtown L.A.
RJ Sakai Courtesy of Grand Performances

Over the next few weeks, we're producing stories about the business of putting on free concerts, how they work and what they bring to their communities.

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Tue August 23, 2011
The Record

Nick Ashford, Songwriter And Singer, Has Died

Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson on stage in New York around 1978.
Richard E. Aaron Redferns

Nick Ashford's songs are so ingrained in American culture they almost seem to have written themselves — songs such as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "You're All I Need to Get By." Ashford was married to his songwriting partner, Valerie Simpson, for over 30 years. Ashford died Monday at the age of 70.

Ashford and Simpson wrote "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" for Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell, "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" for Diana Ross and "Solid as a Rock" for themselves.

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Thu August 18, 2011

On Location: The Frozen Ozarks Of 'Winter's Bone'

Jennifer Lawrence, as Ree Dolly in Winter's Bone, on the front porch of Frank Layson's house in southwestern Missouri. Layson's hand-built house served as the home for the Dolly children in the film.
Sebastian Mlynarski Roadside Attractions

Set in the Ozarks, in a small community where illegal methamphetamine trade flourishes in a devastated economy, Winter's Bone follows the travails of Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old girl who spends the length of the film trudging through the bleak chill of southwestern Missouri in its darkest season, with the trees black spikes and hills bleached silver and rust. Ree's father, a meth cooker, has gone missing while out on bail, but not before putting the house his three children live in up as collateral against his bond.

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Mon August 1, 2011
Books News & Features

Brattleboro: Vermont's Hotbed Of Fictional Crime

Archer Mayor exposes the seedy underbelly of Brattleboro, Vt., in his mystery novels. But it's a challenge to bring out the dark side; Brattleboro, and Vermont in general, the author says, are "inordinately pleasant" places.
Ken Gallager

Brattleboro, Vt., is a bucolic town — pricked with picturesque church steeples — and home to a vibrant arts community. So it's an unlikely setting for gruesome murder and gritty crime, but that's just what goes on in Archer Mayor's Brattleboro-based Joe Gunther detective series.

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Thu July 14, 2011
The End Of The Space Shuttle Era

Out Of This World: Designs Of The Space Age

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:40 am

Unidentified Fashion Object: A 1963 rendering shows the design for Biff's Coffee Shop in Oakland, Calif. "It almost looked like a flying saucer," says Victor Newlove of Armet Davis Newlove Architects. "It looks like it's about ready to lift off."
Armet & Davis Architects

The Space Age left a sleekly modern mark on everything from office parks to kitchenware to kids' TV shows like The Jetsons. Even today, if you drive around Los Angeles, you'll see relics of Space Age architecture, including the flamboyantly futuristic Los Angeles International Airport and a nearby coffee shop called Pann's.

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