Friday, July 06, 2007

What's the opposite of S.L.O.W.

Check out this excellent letter to the editor in the Five Towns Jewish Times.
Dear Editor,

This past Sunday, the Jewish communities of the South Shore were blessed to welcome Yossi Piamenta and his band, who honored us with a rousing free concert by the ocean in Long Beach. Piamenta’s reputation as “the Jewish Hendrix” was reinforced, his guitar-playing prowess amply displayed in an astonishing array of solos. The combination of great weather and great music was fantastic; we are appreciative to the Young Israel of Long Beach for its part in organizing this enjoyable evening.

Two things, however, disturbed us greatly. First, three performers were smoking as they played. Despite an appeal to stop, they continued to smoke. The dangers of smoking need not be repeated here. The issue in this instance is much more profound. For better or worse, youths look to show-business professionals as role models. Even in our own relatively insular communities, performers are accorded elevated status. The higher one’s profile, the greater his responsibility to the public. We are deeply concerned that teens and even preteens will absorb the impression that smoking is cool; if Piamenta can do it on stage, why shouldn’t they also smoke?

Yossi Piamenta’s young son, Avi, displayed inspiring talent on the drums; but how long until he joins his father and brother for a cigarette? This show was advertised as entertainment for the entire family, and the band’s comportment should cohere with the atmosphere.

As a corollary, we were distressed by the smoking among the concertgoers. Even though the show took place outdoors, the proximity of smokers to non-smokers imposed discomfort upon the latter. If one wishes to smoke at a concert, he or she should move away from non-smokers.

Our second issue involves the noise level. The fact is that Piamenta plays loudly; this is part of his show. Parents must therefore be aware of the potential danger to one’s hearing. Yet we saw children sitting right in front of the stage, where the sound was appreciably higher than it was toward the back of the concert area. We must all be aware that exposure to the high decibel level of a hard-rock concert (and that is precisely what a Piamenta show is) can lead to loss of hearing. Someone sitting in a high-noise section should wear earplugs.

Avi and Dawn Goldstein,
Far Rockaway