Schmio Awards

Larry Adelman (
Mon, 27 Mar 2000 14:25:37 -0800 (PST)

Come and enjoy if you're in New York in a couple of weeks. If not, please


Patricia Allen
(212) 998-6838


Thursday, April 13, 7 p.m.

Commercialism is now busting out all over-on the streets and in the
classrooms, on Broadway and on public television, in our stadiums and
art museums, and just about everywhere else. To call attention to this
ever-spreading plague of advertising-and to provide a comic antidote-New
York University is hosting the fourth annual Schmios Awards at NYU's
Saklad Auditorium, Kriser Dental Center, 421 First Ave.

Presented by NYU's Department of Culture and Communication, the Schmios
is a mock-awards ceremony that pokes fun at a certain other major awards
ceremony that pays homage to mass advertising. For its part, the Schmios
raises some critical questions about the place and pace of commercialism
in the world today. Hosted by NYU Media Studies Professor Mark Crispin
Miller, the Schmios will also feature NYU Culture and Communication
Professor Neil Postman and NYU Law School Professor Burt Neuborne.
These three distinguished critics of the media will be joined by such
distinguished co-presenters as syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington,
Lewis Lapham, the editor of Harper's, Amy Goodman of Pacifica Radio and
Norman Handy of the Baltimore City Council. Consumer activist Ralph
Nader will also be on hand, to receive a "positive" Schmio for his
lifetime work against commercialism. (The award will bear the name of
the late Herbert Schiller, the eminent media scholar who taught for
years at NYU and UC San Diego.)

The evening will also include some sharp theatrical performances: an
excerpt of the new off-Broadway production Bread and Circuses, featuring
the original cast, and a turn by the hilarious performance artist known
as Rev. Billy.

Through pithy commentary and rare satire, the NYU Department of Culture
and Communication will use this brilliant evening to shed light on the
history, values, strategy and tactics of commercial advertising in
today's society.

This year, Schmios will be awarded in the areas of education, public
broadcasting, public space, the art world, theatre, medicine and
feminism. We will also single out, for special mention, certain ads for
Visa, IBM, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. and DaimlerChrysler, among
other major adertisers.

There will also be other complimentary Schmios awarded at this year's
event. In addition to Ralph Nader, the anti-commercial coalition
Commercial Alert will be so honored, as will the activists who fought
for the establishment of low-power radio on a non-commercial basis.

"Those ads are always all around us. They're unavoidable, and sometimes
even unforgettable-which is too bad," says Mark Crispin Miller. "This
year's Schmios will be unforgettable as well, but in a good way. It
promises to be as lively, funny, bright and gratifying as the ads
pretend to be, and that, I think, is really saying something."

Presenters for this year's Schmios include:

* Arriana Huffington, syndicated columnist

* Lewis Lapham, editor of Harper's

* Amy Goodman, host of Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now

* Burt Newborne, NYU School of Law professor and civil libertarian

Entertainers include The Rev. Billy, performance artist and political
satirist and a act from a new musical, Bread and Circus.

For more information about attending the ceremony or an embargoed
preview of award recipients, please call Patricia Allen, at 212-998-6838
or e-mail at


Larry Adelman
California Newsreel
149 Ninth Street/420
San Francisco, CA 94103
phone (415) 621-6196
fax (415) 621-6522