Photo: Britta Schellenberg

Joe’s fame pops up at the most unlikely moments.

“Recently I was in the emergency room at the hospital, I had a wound in my head, blood coming out, and the nurse leaned down and said ‘I loved you in Cabaret.'”

He has been a member of Trinity Rep’s acting company for five years. He moved here from New York, and lived for a while in the Smith Building, around the corner from Westminster Street.

“It was great being downtown. I was heavily involved in the Downtown Neighborhood Alliance and the Hospital Resource Partnership. It was great – that’s how I met most of my friends, living, working, causing trouble downtown.

“This is my neighborhood. It’s a wonderful area because we’re not New York, and we’re not Boston, we’re right in between, and we have access to so many things in this region.”

He’s not positive about downtown’s current situation, however. “I think that downtown needs to become a place that is revitalized on the backs of artists, like all great cities, and we haven’t figured out a way to incorporate artists into downtown. It’s still a very expensive place to live, and we feed on the backs of the students who come to the universities here.

“I don’t think we’ve found a way for those people to be downtown who want to live and work in a community, and want to make those communities vital. That’s artists, and that’s the gay community. That’s why I moved to Federal Hill – because I couldn’t afford to live down here.

“It’s a tragedy, and we’re seeing the repurcussions right now. Those with the passion to invigorate the city can’t afford to be here. I think we have to make a choice between money and greed, or common sense.”

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