When looking for people who make it a part of their life “to try to make a difference,” Yianni Stamas certainly fits the bill. Although in some ways the pandemic is easing up a bit, variants have made an entrance. Therefore, we did not do the interview in person, but emailed him 3 questions.
Here are those questions with Yianni’s responses.
How did you come up with the Platinum PIAs idea?
I booked the Tribeca Screening Room far in advance, thinking I was going to be screening some film stuff I had been working on, back when I was a filmmaker of sorts. At the screening date got nearer, I panicked and realized there was no way I was going to have what I was working on ready. But rather than cancelling the booking, I thought it might be fun to do a community awards show. My wife and I had done volunteer work as performers for kids and community was important to us. With about a week or so to prepare we threw together the first annual Platinum PIAs Awards that continued annually for a decade. The premise was simple which was to recognize those in NYC communities who were making a difference. We gave PIAs to pharmacy owners, actors, dentists, heads of nonprofits, teachers, librarians and more. It was a lot of fun, and a community grew around the PIAs who would show up each year that we were live and in person.
I have heard a variety of different answers to this one, but what is “PIA” an acronym for?
I honestly do not know. I think there was a reason I used “PIA” but swiftly forgot it. Hence, it was embarrassing when talking to reports, because they would of course ask me that question. So, in every interview it would be a different three words. I think that “PIA” stands for whatever anyone wants it to be.
What was your most favorite year of staging the Platinum PIAs?
You would think I would say the year we had a Hollywood style upscale version of it, but that was not it, although it was a fun one. I would have to say any of the ceremonies my friend Rodger was in. He was an amazing person and was an author and librarian who I also did a lot of education work with at various NYPL branches. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago.