Commercial advertising is now busting out all over—in the classrooms, on Broadway, on public television and in art museums. To call attention to the more egregious forms of commercialism—and to provide a comic antidote—New York University is hosting the fourth annual Schmio Awards at NYU’s Saklad Auditorium, Kriser Dental Center, 421 First Ave at East 24th Street.

Press invited to pre-awards cocktail party. For information call 212-998-6838.

Presented by NYU Department of Culture and Communication, the Schmio 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 Schmio raises some critical questions about the place and pace of commercial advertising in the world today. Through pithy commentary and biting satire, the evening will shed light on the history, values, strategy and tactics of commercial advertising in today’s society.

The Schmio will feature NYU Media Studies Professor Mark Crispin Miller and Culture and Communication Distinguished Professor and Chair Neil Postman, two of America’s most widely known media critics and popular culture observers. Also joining in on the antics will be NYU Law School Professor Burt Neuborne.

Joining NYU scholars will be such distinguished co-presenters as syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington, Lewis Lapham, the editor of Harper’s, Amy Goodman of Pacifica Radio and anti-billboard activist Norman Handy of the Baltimore City Council. Consumer activist Ralph Nader will also be on hand to receive an honorary Schmio for his lifetime work against reckless commercialism.

“Ads are all around us. They’re unavoidable and sometimes even unforgettable—which is too bad,” said Miller, the evening’s host. “This year’s Schmio will be unforgettable as well, but in a good way. It promises to be as lively, funny, enlightening and gratifying as the ads pretend to be, and that, I think, is really saying something.”

This year, Schmio will be awarded in the areas of education, public broadcasting, public space, the art world, theatre, medicine and feminism. Ads for Visa, IBM, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. and DaimlerChrysler, among other major advertisers will receive special Schmio.

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.

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.

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