12 -- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 30, 1998
PHOTO-ACTIVE VISITING ARTIST SERIES
Allen introduces series of guest art lectures
By Jeff Druchniak
For the Daily
Last Friday night at 7 p.m., many
University students had already begun
partying in preparation for the football
game and the rest of the weekend. But
not all of them.
A crowd, composed mostly of stu-
dents, turned out at the Art &'
Architecture Building on North
Campus to see guest lecturer Paula
Allen discuss and display her pho-
tographs. Allen's appearance and lec-
ture, which took place in the School of
Art & Design Auditorium, inaugurated
a year-long program under the auspices
of the Art & Design Photo-Active
Feminist Visiting Artist Lecture Series.
Allen is a visiting artist from New York,
where she bases her career as a photog-
rapher of international fame. Her com-
ments were interspersed with examples
of her work, and afterwards, she also
answered question asked by those in
attendance. Allen a worked as a
photo editor for the Central Park
Journal and was a photographer for
Newsweek and U.S. News and World
Report. Much of the work shown, how-
ever, was from Allen's book "Ladies," a
collection of photographs representing
women from a New York homeless
This project illustrates a theme in
Allen's body of work. Allen primarily
uses women and girls as her subjects.
She is interested in the "marginaliza-
tion" and exclusion of individuals in
various ways, as a result of broader pub-
lic struggles between genders, classes
and ethnicities. As a result, Allen's lec-
ture was an appropriate first installment
for a lecture series sponsored by the
National Endowment for the Arts and
arranged in conjunction with the
University's Year of Diversity. Seven
more visiting artists will lecture between
now and March.
They will consti-
tute a mix of
The project is
ed by Profs.
school regularly arranges lectures with
important artists, but this year was able
to organize them into a yearlong themat-
ic program with the support of the NEA
and the University's administration. She
expects subsequent lectures to follow
the same format as Allen's, except for
that of Kathy Constantinides, who will
be joined by a panel of speakers on sex-
The cast of last year's mid-season "Just Shoot Me" is still drawing viewers.
S de s 'JustShot
Me' still onlj target
Paula Allen, visiting artist, speaks before a crowd at the School of Art.
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Come to the Daily Arts
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Maynard between 12:30 and
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The W~ashington Post
What is it about "Just Shoot Me"',
NBC's comedy started as a mid-sea-
son replacement, but does anyone
remember that? Mid-season shows
are usually not expected to fare well,
as they've been delayed from a. fall
debut'for one reason or another.
Not in this case. "Just Shoot Me"
has done so well in its short liftapan
-Sept. 22 marked the start of the
third season - that NBC moved it
into "Frasier's" Tuesday-at-9 times-
lot so the latter could step into
"Seinfeld's" place on Thursday.
During the summer reruns, "Just
Shoot Me" drew more viewers than
"Seinfeld" in a temporary move to
Thursdays, and outpaced "Frasier"
when it moved to Tuesdays on Sept.
Viewers are still finding the show,
and when they do, they discover it's
genuinely funny. (But not this week
- it's pre-empted for baseball play-
"It was really an incredible year,"
said "Just Shoot Me" producer Steve
Levitan. "We went from barely mak-
ing it on the air to being the number-
one show" in 18-49 adult demo-
Levitan credits the show's success
to a combination of factors, starting
with the actors who play the staff of
a Cosmopolitan-like magazine.
George Segal plays the sexist edi-
tor of Blush magazine; Laura San
Giacomo is his intellectual daughter,
forced to take a writing job there;
David Spade is the office secretary;
Wendie Malick is the former super-
model who, despite staying slim, has
to work behind the scenes because
of her age; and the photographer
who dates the models he shoots is
Enrico Colantoni. Together they
cavort, complain and plan practical
jokes, making the offices of Blush
the most enjoyable place to work on
But a cast isn't funny without
good writing. And "Just Shoot Me's"
writers have a lot of TV experience,
which is why the series never had
the kinks of a rookie show even
when it first aired.
"We have a lot of different kinds
of people in the writers' room, and
we like the stories to reflect every-
one's tastes," Levitan said. The writ-
ers bring all their story ideas togeth-
er in a group, which adds to the crc-
ativity. "Sometimes we stumble on
ideas that are really wacky
poignant, and we go with it."
Beside the solid acting and writ-
ing, other incidents have generated
buzz that has lured people to give
"Just Shoot Me" a shot. Take last
season's Woody Allen episode. Allen
die a voiceover for a closing scene
with San Giacomo's character that
proved to be an unexpected bonus.
"We never in a million years
thought that he would do that and*
didn't have that last part in the show,
and then we filmed it and thought it
was really special,' Levitan recalled.
"And someone said, Why don't you
send it off to him? And I said he'd
never do it."
But Allen did. He taped his lines
for the episode where San
Giacomo's Maya reveals that Allen
is her idea of a dream date, then
mailed them in.
Other guest stars have added As
as well as comedy. Brian Dennehy
played Spade's father, who incor-
rectly believes his son is gay.
"We really liked that dynamic"
between the characters, said
Levitan, who has invited Dennehy
back for this season.
"Just Shoot Me's" guest stars seem
strategically chosen, but Lewitan
claims that's just good fortune. 'e
try not to be cast driven. We come up
with a funny character and then come
up with who would work in it."
Levitan is optimistic about this
year. "I think we have wonderful sto-
ries planned for the season and
they're really funny. And everybody's
He claimed that the staff doesn't
feel pressure to work any harder than
they always have, now that they're in
the high-profile timeslot forn'y
held by 'Frasier."
It's all in the numbers, he
explained. "The 18-to-49 demo-
graphics, we've always excelled in
those. If you look at the audience
we're attracting, we're really hitting
good mark right now ... The show is
perhaps more successful than, it
That was true from the t,
Levitan said. "When we app' e
opposite 'Arsenio,' we immediatel)
did well, and people expected us, t(
a lot of things
b re re"
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