Joe Cino’s Death Rattles Off-Off-Broadway

Joe Cino’s Death Rattles Off-Off-Broadway

Judson Church hosted Joe Cino’s memorial service, just as it had Freddie Herko’s, and friends staged several tributes (such as Dames at Sea’s “Raining in My Heart,” a low-rent Busby Berkeley number that surely would have made Joe smile). “Caffe Cino was very romantic,” Michael Smith said. “We might as well let it be romanticized. But I just don’t like to see Joe’s death romanticized, or Freddie Herko, or Jon Torrey. These people died because they were in despair, and there’s nothing romantic about that. It’s terribly sad and it was a terrible blow.” Joe Cino was the model of freedom and artistic exuberance, and for him to kill himself was like a denunciation of everything he stood for. Oh, that doesn’t work, some couldn’t help but think. This was a wonderful way to live, but it just doesn’t work. “It was a shock, but I had had several shocks like that already,” said F. Story Talbot, who had lost four good friends in a short period of time. “It was like one-two-three-four—people I was close to in the theater—and it was part of what shook me out of the theater.”

From Chapter 14 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


Caffe Cino
31 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014