Friday, April 8, 2011

Just a Quick Update

Sorry for the lack of activity.  Trying to publish a weekly PhotoBlog featuring someone named Joe, Joseph, Jose, Joey, Joel, etc., was a more ambitious undertaking than I thought it would be.

This Joe plans to resurrect the PhotoBlog this Summer with a schedule that I can commit to. Please follow me on Twitter and "like" my FaceBook FanPage as I will be posting updates there.

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Thanks for you support.  The old PhotoBlog posts can be seen here:

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Monday, January 4, 2010

012 - Joe Alone

Two heads are better than one - or so the popular phrase states.  But, are two Gaudets better than one?  By Gaudets, I'm referring to the Gaudet twins - Joe and Charlie.  On the day of our photoshoot, I was hoping that Charlie would be able to join Joe and me for a few photos.  Charlie, unfortunately, was out of town but based on the energy that Joe alone had, this Joe thinks that it was probably for the best.  

By day, Joseph Jonathan Gaudet is an analyst for John Hancock but is "constantly thinking about acting and being creative."  He is a self taught sleight of hand artist.  Joe studied acting at Keene State College [Keene, New Hampshire] and also studied Criminal Justice at North Shore Community College in Massachusetts.  He has worked on many independent films and is currently the voice of many characters on "Fizzy's Lunch Lab," a web series for PBS Kids Go.

Joe explains: "Fizzy's Lunch Lab is a fun educational show that teaches parents and kids about nutrition in a fun way. It's very funny and entertaining even for adults. I voice Marty the Muscle (which is spin off on Arnold Schwarzenegger) Natural Nut (which is basically Ice T the rapper) and Candy Roll (a Bobcat Goldthwait hyper kind of character). It was a great experience getting into the booth and doing the sessions."

Joe is 25 and was born at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital on March 27, 1984 or perhaps I should say on 3/27, a number with special significance to him beyond just being his birthday.

"Michael Jackson has been a huge influence on me growing up. I was a HORRIBLE dancer when I was younger. I couldn't dance to save my life. Then one day in middle school/high school I got rhythm. I would watch Michael Jackson or similar artists and play their videos in slow motion until I learned them." he continued "Billie Jean is my favorite song. So I've noticed that at the 3:27 mark in the song and in his Motown 25 performance of Billie Jean, he starts his infamous moonwalk sequence. Now my birthday is Marc 27th. 3/27. I'm not an extremely superstitious person but I noticed a connection and thought it was cool. So now, I can dance and spin just like the man. [he laughs] I'm proud of that one. Whenever I hear a bass line or a song you can move to, I'm forced to dance."

Though a fan of the late, gloved, King of Pop, Joe was never a member of the Michael Jackson fan club.  However, as a child, he was a member of the Macauly Culkin fan club.  I asked Joe about influences and inspirations and he told me there are many "...but the ones who always stuck with me were Michael J. Fox. Jim Varney and Michael Jackson. They'll always be the top three."

Joe shared a story of a jacket he once owned: "Michael J Fox is the biggest inspiration in acting for me. I've always wanted the jacket his character wore in "Back to the Future 2". I tried to make it out of old jackets in my parents basement when I was like 10, but it didn't go too well. So after I graduated high school in 2002, I took the money that I received from my graduation and found the jacket on eBay. I HAD to have it. and I got it! It was a replica and it talked and could fit by itself (you had to hook it up to wires and pull them but that's how it was done in the film so I was cool with it) I also bought the exact holographic hat he wore in part 2 and the clocktower flyer and other props. Like a dork, I wore the jacket to the mall and other places and pretended to be Marty McFly. The only thing I was missing was the DeLorean. Long story short, I had to sell the jacket and do the cliche starving actor thing and sold it for rent money. I had my fun and almost broke even. I'll get another one someday."

These days, Joe's analyst job takes care of the rent.  He is not in that "cliche starving actor" mode either thanks to his girlfriend Anna.  "She's an excellent cook. She's Polish and can bribe me with Polish food any day."  Joe's love of food is not limited to Anna's Polish cooking.  He had New Year's Eve dinner at a Japanese steakhouse.  He and Anna were joined by Joe's twin Charlie, Charlie's fiance, and another couple.before parting ways to celebrate the beginning of the new decade.  Sounds like a nice night but it is also quite different from Joe's initial idea.
"We originally planned to go to Montreal, but couldn't get my passport fast enough (shame on me) and also that night we planned to go to a strip club for some laughs and some chesticles. We decided to just save our money. I had to save my ones for something more practical in this economy. Like vending machines and tolls or something." [laughs]

As for how 2009 ended and 2010 began for Joe - "me and Anna rang in the new year quietly on the couch with some bubbly. It was perfect."  And so an evening that began in 2009 with six people ended in 2010 with Anna and Joe, alone.  Alone, plus a cat named Jane, that is.

Monday, December 28, 2009

011 - No Joe

As we wind down the last week, of the last year, of the first decade, of the (not so new anymore) millennium, this Joe would like to reflect on those named Joe, Joseph, Jose, Joey, etc., who are no longer with us.

Since the infamous Y2K, we have lost many - far too many to name but here is an abridged list of some that I found worthy of mention:

Joseph Ransohoff - father of modern neurosurgery
Joey Ramone - punk musician and singer - The Ramones
Yousuf Karsh - portrait photographer
Joseph Barbera - cartoonist
Joel Siegel - film critic
Joey Bishop - entertainer - The Rat Pack

In 2009, we lost the famous sons of a Joe and a late Joe - The King of Pop, Michael Jackson and The Lion of the Senate, Senator Edward Kennedy, respectively.

We lost a music man - Joe Cuba - considered by many to be the "Father of Latin Boogaloo".

We lost someone who penned letters for a president - Joseph Lester "Jody" Powell, Jr. was President Jimmy Carter's White House Press Secretary.

We lost someone who did a different type of lettering for a different type of American icon. Joe Rosen was a comic book letterer responsible for titles such as Captain America, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, and many others

We lost a sportsman. Brazilian soccer goalkeeper Jose Carlos da Costa Araujo was best known as Ze Carlos. He played for the national team that brought the 1990 FIFA World Cup home to Brazil.

Last, but not least, we lost wise men - more specifically a Weisman and a Wiseman.
Dr. Joel D. Weisman was a Los Angeles doctor credited with being one of the first to detect AIDS and became a national advocate for AIDS research.

Joseph Wiseman was an actor best known for his role in the first James Bond film - "Dr. No."

This Joe bids farewell to all the Joe's and non Joe's that have passed. This Joe also thanks the ten Joe's that have made this photoblog possible. This Joe also thanks you, the readers, for your continued interest. Look for more about Joe, Joseph, Jose, Joey, and others in the new year/decade. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

010 - SpaHa Jose

This week I feature someone with sass, style, Puerto Rican roots and this person just happens to get home "on the 6" train.  No, it's not J.Lo, it's J. O. or Jose Ortiz.  Jose Ortiz 2nd is 39 and was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.  [Coincidentally J Lo or Jennifer Lopez is also 39 or perhaps she is 40.  It depends on which source you read.]  Jose now lives in Spanish Harlem, the Manhattan neighborhood which he affectionately calls SpaHa.

He studied architecture in college but is now a Visual Merchandising Manager for "a major fashion retailer known for its jeans and t-shirts."  He has been with the company for over six year with the past two being in the field of visual merchandising.  On the day of our photoshoot, we were short in time and short on mannequin parts.  That is the reason for the lone hand.  Jose has promised me a second photoshoot in the near future.  Jose is very inspired by Simon Doonan "for making kiss ass displays!"  He continued by telling me that "his [Simon's] Barney's windows would stop traffic, get people talking and interested in shopping...not to mention that he is over-the-top gay!"

I asked Jose about his other influences and he did not have to think twice before answering - "Mom for teaching me how to have faith."  I asked him to elaborate and he did by telling me "well its just the belief that if you think positive, surround yourself with good, positive people and vibes then you will always be happy and healthy..."  And happy and healthy he is.  One childhood ritual that he still enjoys when visiting his family, who "are all in Jersey" is a unique meal. " mom would make me corned beef, white rice, and canned corn...Yum!"

Besides his family, Jose has another reason for crossing the Hudson River.  "Well now that I have a bf in jersey, [I go] every weekend."  Jose shared some of his holiday plans and wishes with me. "One thing that I'm really looking forward to, aside from my spending time with my family during the holidays, is the fact that I will also be spending it with someone I met 5 months ago...he's a terrific guy and yes it is love so just spending it alone with him is the one thing that I am really going to appreciate this year...oh and I will be going to New Orleans for the first time with him for New Years Eve."  Jose, have a Hurricane for me!

The retail world can be challenging, especially at this time of year.  Right now Jose is working on "getting over the holiday hump and right into Spring 2010."  In his free time Jose enjoys reading, photography, fashion, shopping, and taking walks.  Can there possibly be a more walkable city than New York City?  Can there possibly be more colorful characters than in New York City?  Jose posted this on his FaceBook page and told me that I could share it: "
so I'm walking in the city and some guy walks up to me and asks if I can spare a $20! WTF, are times really that hard? then he asks if I'm broke after I give him the nastiest look!"

Since this is being posted just before Christmas, this Joe would like to wish all his readers a safe healthy holiday.  I asked Jose if he had any special holiday wishes - "Well one of the Christmas wishes that I have is that my relationship with my bf gets stronger and better."

Monday, December 14, 2009

009 - SnowBo Joe

The weather in the North East can be unpredictable which can be a bad thing.  It can also be a good thing.  It all depends on how one feels about the weather.  This week's Joe, Joe Kang Lee, loves the snow.  When I asked him about hobbies, he told me about just one - snowboarding.  With the lack of snow in the Scarsdale, New York area, in which he lives, I tried to contact Joe over this past weekend to ask if he had had the opportunity to snowboard yet this winter.

This Joe was originally concerned about not hearing back from Joe but was happy to hear his reason.  "Sorry about the delay. I was in Vermont this weekend on a snowboarding trip. I'm actually still on my way back home right now... yes!  I had my first run at Killington."

Like the weather, life, too, can be unpredictable as is the case with how Joe began his modeling career.  It all started back in high school per the suggestion of his American History teacher, Rashid Silvera, who was one of the first African-American male models to be on the cover of GQ Magazine.  "His agency was looking for Asian models to shoot Japanese fashion for The New Yorker magazine and so he asked me to participate.  I had a lot of fun then and recently I decided it might be fun to pursue on the side!"

As for how the industry is different today for Joe, now 24, than when he started at age 16 he says "I was very young and new to the scene back then and very eager to learn.  I had an amazing time and I've got to say, not much has changed.  The only thing that is different now is that with the receding economy, there are fewer ad campaigns - IE - jobs for models.  It's been easier for some models and harder for others, but I think it will soon change.  People are always looking to shop and buy things - it's the American spirit!."

Joe, who is 100% Korean, acknowledges Mr. Silvera's contributions stating that "he was definitely one of the pioneers in bringing diversity to GQ."  Perhaps one day Joe will continue in his teacher's footsteps and also grace the cover of GQ.  Currently, Joe is part of the Global Recess campaign and can be seen on their site -  Global Recess is a new fashion line started by model and entrepreneur Erica Emarie Wiltz who was featured on Project Runway - Season 6 as well as its sister show Models of the Runway.

Speaking of the runway,Joe starts training this week to model at Abercombie & Fitch's flagship store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.  He has also recently had a photoshoot for the Michael Anthony winter collection.  As for the ultimate modeling gig. "I think an early inspiration for me was the Abercrombie and Fitch models.  I'd love to be a part of their campaign - they could definitely use some diversity in their print!"  With a live modeling gig at AF, that print job might not be far behind.  Joe is also a big fan of the Calvin Klein campaigns.

The snowboarding sure helps keep Joe's 5'10" frame at 160 pounds but what does he do for the rest of his workout routine?  "Haha, Oh boy - I always get this question.  Back in college, I used to work out religiously - a lot of free weights with a focus on building muscle.  My school had a great gym so I was in there practically every day.  Now, my focus is more on definition so about once or twice a week I run the roads of Scarsdale for about 30 minutes."

And that school that Joe mentioned was Boston University and its School of Medicine from where he holds BS in Human Physiology and MA in Medical Sciences degrees.  Joe is currently waiting acceptance to medical school which he hopes to start in the Fall of 2010. 

Until he gets his name on the roster of a medical school, Joe will stay on the roster of his New York City modeling agency - CESD, where he will continue to gain modeling experience.  His favorite thing about modeling is "meeting new people, creating art and getting paid to do it."  He will also stay at his job at a Dermatology office in Manhattan, where he will continue to gain medical experience. 

On the day of our photoshoot we met at the infamous clock at Grand Central Terminal.  Joe will continue his daily commute to Grand Central but unlike the day of our photoshoot, Grand Central is now in full holiday spirit, complete with a laser show and projected snowflakes.  I wonder what thoughts go through Joe Kang Lee's mind as he looks at those giant snowflakes while waiting to board his train.

Monday, December 7, 2009

008 - J Was for Joey [originally "J is for Joey"]

UPDATED - original post removed on Friday, April 8, 2011
J is for Joey.  Actually, J was for Joey in this PhotoBlog entry that was originally posted on Monday, December 7, 2009.  Like the other posts, it featured a light-hearted story, original photos, and a web link chosen by the featured Joe, Joseph, Jose, Joey, or Joel.

The featured subject of "J is for Joey" recently requested that his last name be removed from the post to prevent it from future internet search queries. This would require a major re-write of the story in order for it to make sense.  I felt that it made more sense to remove the story, photos, and link to the subject's personal site.


There will be more installments of the Joe Joseph Jose Joey Blog.  This Joe plans to resurrect it this Summer and will post updates on Twitter.

Monday, November 30, 2009

007 - Joe Pizza

"Because the box is square."  That was Joe's response when I asked him why the pizza is square.  The Joe I'm referring to is Joe Edwardsen.  The pizza I'm referring to is the pizza at Joe Squared on West North Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland.

Joe Squared has only been serving up the heavenly thin crust pies since 2005 but Joe Edwardsen, now 29, first made pizza while in high school in Rochester, New York.   That pizza shop, like most, made round pies.  While at Goucher College, where he earned his degree in Philosophy, Joe cooked in an Italian restaurant.  Joe had planned to be a Philosophy professor.  He later planned to open a French restaurant.  Things changed and he ended making the right decision in opening Joe Squared but don't just take my word for it. 

The Baltimore Sun said that Joe “…raises pizza and subs to the level of high art.”  He has also received praise from: AOL City Guide; Baltimore Eats; Baltimore Magazine; City Paper; Spirit World; Urbanite; and many others.  OK, so the Spirit World review didn't exactly rave about Joe's pizza, That article concentrated on some of Joe's beverages.  Joe Squared offers over 45 types of rum.  The reason - Joe likes rum.

This Joe is a big fan of the KISS [Keep It Simple Stupid] principle and apparently Joe is too.  The stretched (never tossed) crust is made from a 200 year old sourdough starter.  The sauce is simply uncooked crushed San Marzano tomatoes with fresh basil which is grown on the roof and is picked daily.  The cheese is Mozzarella di Bufala (Water Buffalo) from Italy. 

The cooking process is also quite simple and is done in Maryland’s only coal-fired pizza oven - a two-and-a-half ton stove with temperatures reaching as high as 2200°F.

On the day of our photoshoot we were joined by my friend Vincent De Paul, the film and television actor, who had just finished filming "The Sinatra Club" and was working on "Make a Wish."  Vincent, a Baltimore native, was in town visiting family.  Like me, he was amazed by Joe's pizza.  During our meal, he joked to Joe [Edwardsen] that though he is a native Baltimorean, who gets back to The Charm City often, it took an outsider [me] to introduce him to the best pizza in Baltimore.  On that day. our beverage of choice was Baltimore tap water which, living in Los Angeles, Vincent misses dearly.  Baltimore water is good but on my next visit to Joe Squared, I'm having rum.

As eclectic and hip as the place might be, Joe Squared is a family business with Joe's mother and his brothers being quite involved.  Joe Edwardsen and Joe Squared are not only special because of the pizza, rum, and family.  As a proud pioneer in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District, Joe Squared also has live music daily.  Various genres.  No cover.  Every three weeks there is a different art exhibit featured on the burgundy colored walls.

Like the Huey Lewis and the News song, it's hip to be square.  If you're looking to be square, head on down to 133 West North Avenue and have a 10, 12, 14, or 16 inch square pizza.

NEXT WEEK - "J is for Joey"

Monday, November 23, 2009

006 - Curious Joel

About 50 miles north of New York City, in Orange County and within the the town of Monroe sits the village of Kiryas Joel.   Kiryas Joel [Town of Joel] is named for the late Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, the founding rebbe of the Satmar Hasidic Jewish dynasty.  Upon his death in 1979, Teitelbaum was the first person to be buried in Kiryas Joel.

About 20 miles south of Kiryas Joel, in Suffern, New York, in Rockland County lives 30 year old Joel Lebovitz, who, like Kiryas Joel, is also named after Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum.  In fact, Joel is believed to be the first of many named after Teitelbaum.  He was born before the rebbe's death but, as is the Jewish tradition, he received his name at his bris.

Joel Lebovitz may be a badchen, which is Aramaic for jokester or comedian, but he is quite serious when it comes to his namesake: "I am considered very special, since Rabbi Joel Teitlebaum was respected in the entire Orthodox Jewish community."  To put things into perspective about that respect, over 100,000 Jews are said to have attended Teitelbaum's funeral.

Joel is the son of the Grand Rebbe of Nikolsburg - Rabbi Yosef Yechiel Mechel Lebovits.  He was named after a Rebbe and Joel is the descendant of a long line of Rebbes dating back to the eighteenth century.  Joel is even a graduate of Yeshiva Talmudical College but he, himself is not a rabbi.  That is, unless you count Pester Rebbe also known as the Grand Rabbi of Pest.  

Pester Rebbe is the character Joel performs as.  This Joe thought that the pest was a reference to an annoying person but Joel corrected me: "Pest is after the City of Budapest that used to be split in half as Buda and Pest, my grandparents lived there, and one of the things that I am known for in comedy is to mimic the Hungarian language."

As for how often Joel performs as Pester Rebbe, he told me "Every few days, since my shows are mainly at Sheva Brochos which is 7 days following a Jewish weddings, there's a celebration every night, and to celebrate you need entertainment, so I'm one of the types of entertainment people would call."  I asked Joel about what other forms of entertainment one might expect during that week and he said "Musicians mainly, and badchen is an old way of entertainment...some include a video presentation or magicians."

Joel's favorite thing about comedy is seeing people leaving his show in a better mood that they entered.  He gets his fair share of good moods, many of them from his local, non paying gigs.  "I go a lot to people in hospitals or people who are homebound and need some cheering up, but I don't charge anything for that, I only charge for lavish parties that I am hired to entertain [such as] sheva brachot, bar mitzvahs, concerts and comedy shows."

Joel Lebovitz loves his audiences.  He likes them small and he likes them large.  He even likes them very large.  One of his first performances, outside of home and school, was at a friends wedding in front of about 450 people.  He has since performed to audiences with as many as  12,000.  In addition to the USA, he has performed internationally in Europe, Israel, and South America with recent performances in London, Brazil, Prague, Greece, to name a few.  He has also performed with the Ringling Brother and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

With Thanksgiving upon us, I asked Joel what he was thankful for this year and was not surprised to hear that he is grateful for "a great wife and family, friends and fans...not only on Thanksgiving Day but everyday is thanksgiving to God and loved ones."  [Speaking of Thanksgiving, this Joe wishes everyone a very happy holiday.]  Joel has been married for almost eight years and is the father of three children - two girls and a boy.  On the day of our photoshoot, Joel was running late because he was registering his son, who, like his sisters before him, was delivered by midwife.  However, unlike his sisters before him, Joel's son was the first of his children to be born with a planned home birth.  

"He is laughing at daddy's jokes and making us very proud" Joel told me of how his son is.  Like his son and like his namesake, Joel Lebovitz is also making many people proud.

NEXT WEEK - "Joe Pizza"

Monday, November 16, 2009

005 - Off Off Broadway Joe

Off Off Broadway is where this week's Joe has performed.  Off Off Broadway [on the Upper West Side of Manhattan] is where this week's Joe lives.  This week's Joe, is actually a Joey - Joey Stocks.  

Joseph C. Stocks III, who has always been known as Joey, was born in Russellville, Arkansas on February 1, 1966.  He is a legal secretary by day and a "mostly out-of-work actor by night."   He is a member of Actors' Equity Association and has performed many roles including his favorite of Tom in "The Glass Menagerie" and his least favorite of Cole in "Keely and Du" in which he said "I was so horribly miscast, but thought I could make it work."

As for where theater began for Joey - "I studied Art and Dance at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, then transferred to my birthplace where I finished my B.A. in Theatre and was a guinea pig for their newly formed Master of Liberal Arts degree, which is as vague as it sounds."

Theater is his passion and living in New York City, Joey gets to see a lot of it.  He recommended two plays - " On Broadway, "The Royal Family" and Off-Broadway - "The Understudy"   Both shows are about theater people, so I guess I can relate."  Joey can certainly relate to theater - not only as an actor or audience member but also as a creator.

Joey is Executive Producer of Summoners Ensemble Theatre.  Rhonda Dodd is the Artistic Director.  Kevin Jones, Joey's partner of almost 14 years, and Dan Renkin serve as Artistic Associates.   The Board of Directors is comprised of Michael Mafrici, Anne Kennedy McGuire and Benjamin Nixon.  In 2010, Summoners Ensemble Theatre will produce their second series of staged readings and will also continue to develop three original plays.

When I asked Joey when we could expect to see the plays, he said "Hopefully we'll have the money to produce one of them in Spring/Summer 2010."  One of the plays is entitled "He Switched."  It is a parody based on the television show "Bewitched."   Having been born in Salem, Massachusetts and a fan of the television show, this Joe is looking forward to that production.  Summoners' other two plays are their new adaptation of "A Christmas Carol",
and "Getting It" which Joey described as "a gender-bending comedy where "getting it" is only half the journey."

While theater may be one of Joey's greatest passions, he is also inspired and influenced by Manhattan, the Museum of Modern Art [MoMA] and by family members including; his niece and nephew, his parents, his sister and his partner Kevin.  Joey spoke at length about one particular influence and his involvement in her organization.      

"My influences change from time to time, but I'm continually inspired by Patty Lindeman, Founder and Executive Director of Hunger-Free Arkansas   Patty Lindeman is a college friend of mine.  Not having come from a wealthy family, I worked several jobs to put myself through most of my undergraduate school.  Often, I found myself barely able to pay my tuition, school supplies, rent, utilities and gas to get to and from classes, leaving myself little or nothing with which to buy food.  Although I didn't ask for help, Patty and her husband at the time, were aware of my financial struggle.  Instead of offering me money or groceries, they would frequently invite me over for dinner, which filled my stomach while leaving my dignity intact.  In her home I was a guest, not a beggar."

He continues "A few years later, in response to the growing homeless population in Little Rock and the surrounding areas, Patty took her generosity and compassion by forming Hunger-Free Arkansas, now celebrating its 10th Anniversary.  HFA is an advocacy and service organization which provides counseling, clothing and hot meals for those in need.  Through HFA, Patty manages to do this incredible and vital work while still respecting the dignity of those she serves.  Now that she has many "guests" at her table, it is my privilege to help her serve any way I can."

Joey Stocks has a great heart and a great body.  At 43, he is better shape than most people half his age.  Though it was chilly on the day of our photoshoot, Joey was a good sport and posed shirtless for some of the photos.  I asked him about his workout routine and he told me: "I work out 6 times per week for about 45 to 50 minutes in the morning before work.  I'm not really a morning person, but I find that my attitude is better if I start my day by doing something good for myself...I use a combination of free weights and machines.  I also work with my own weight with chin-ups, push-ups and dips."

These days, Joey gets back to Arkansas only "once or twice a year - not often enough" as he puts it.  He lives a very full life Off Off Broadway where is "father" to two cats.
Summoners Ensemble Theatre is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.  Contributions to Summoners Ensemble Theatre are tax-deductable to the fullest extent allowable by law.

NEXT WEEK - "Curious Joel"

Monday, November 9, 2009

004 - ProJo

Providence, Rhode Island was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams and was named in honor of "God's merciful Providence."  The Ocean State's capital has since had many nicknames including The Divine City and The Beehive of Industry.  Earlier this year, Mayor David Cicilline and the Department of Art, Culture, and Tourism launched a new campaign to rebrand The Renaissance City.  Providence, once again, has a new nickname - The Creative Capital. 

Providence has had a long history of creative thinking starting with Roger Williams himself, through to the writings of H. P. Lovecraft to the more recent WaterFire, a unique series of recurring community building events.  Providence is also the home of Jose Ariel Diaz, a creative 20 year old with a passion for dance, music and fashion.  Like Providence, Jose, also has a few nicknames including Pito and Rebel.
"I love Providence" Jose told me as we met up on Thayer Street, in the heart of College Hill, the neighborhood in which Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design [RISD] co-exist.  This Joe also loves Providence.  It is where I learned photography while studying at Rhode Island School of Photography [RISP] and where I also lived for several years.

On the day of our photoshoot, we stumbled upon a recently completed mural, outside of the CVS Pharmacy on Thayer and Cushing Streets.  CVS commissioned four [past and present] RISD students [Christina Graham, Alison Kizu-Blair, Michael Kolendowiz and Annabeth Marks] to create the vibrantly colored wall art.  With Jose and I, both having strong feelings for Providence, it was only fitting that we take some photographs in front of it.  Besides, part of the wall matched Jose's socks - socks that didn't match each other.  One sock was yellow.  The other was green.

Laughing, he says "I NEVER match my socks . Unless I really have to . I like to be different - literally."  Different, he is.  Not many people have a G clef tattooed on their ear nor can they pull off a hairstyle such as Jose's.  The haircut, a modified mohawk, gives this Providence native of Puerto Rican heritage an extra few inches of height.  His grooming and one of a kind sense of style also makes him stand out in a crowd.  Jose works as a waiter and is required to conform by wearing a uniform but is still able to be distinct.

Another area in which Jose is unique is in his community service.  He is a mentor but it's not in academics.  For at least six hours per week, Jose, who himself, was recently in high school, blends right in with the 12 to 18 year old teens interested in dancing and modeling.  At just 5'4" tall and weighing 130 pounds, he's far from the norm in male modeling which is generally about 6 feet and able to fit a size 40 Regular jacket.

"I'm here to pursue modeling. I also love dancing. I've done a couple of photoshoots."  he says  "I'm short but that's not stopping me not one bit. I'm representing for all of us short models. I love to try new things and I also love me a challenge."

As Providence continues its quest to rebrand itself with a new nickname, its native son continues in his one man campaign to rebrand the standard for male models.  Keep your eyes open for Providence.  Keep your eyes open for Jose.  Or Pito.  Or Rebel.

NEXT WEEK - "Off Off Broadway Joe"

Monday, November 2, 2009

003 - Vote for Joe

Tomorrow is Election Day and this Joe is voting for Xi Huang, or rather, Joe Wong, his American name.  While Joe Wong might not officially be on any ballot for political office, he should be on a ballot for funniest comedian.

Joe has already received endorsements from some of television's most influential hosts and has appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman."  He is also a favorite of Ellen DeGeneres' and has been on "Ellen's Bigger Longer Wider Show" on TBS and most recently on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."  His set is linked below.

"Hi everybody.  I'm Irish." - might be a typical opening line for Joe but in reality, this 29 year old funny man was born in Baishan City, Jilin Province, China.    He has since become a naturalized American citizen and incorporates his life experiences into his act. An act devoid of the profanity, too often used by comedians, for shock value.  Joe's answer to the citizenship test question "Who was Benjamin Franklin?" is "Um...he's the reason our convenience store gets robbed."

Joe, has been performing for seven-and-a-half years but professionally for just four.  I asked him how he got started.  "By reading Woody Allen and other masters, taking an adult education standup comedy class, and going to open mic nights and telling jokes."   His first gig was at Hannah’s Bar in Somerville, Massachusetts, which has since ceased to exist.  In addition to Woody Allen, his style is very influenced by Mitch Hedberg, Steven Wright, but mostly by the late George Carlin.

In addition to his comedy, Joe Wong holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and works as a research investigator at a pharmaceutical company.  Joe is married and has one son.  He is currently working on "work related humor and jokes."  He has shows this weekend - Friday, November 6th, and Saturday, November 7th at the Nick’s Comedy Stop in Boston.

Joe also has quite an online following on You Tube and can be seen in many videos including "Joe Wong for President," which served as the inspiration for some of the photos.  There are many variations of this video, including one translated into Chinese.  In one scene of "Joe Wong for President," Joe proves that he is American by eating pizza and chips but does so with chopsticks.  On the day of our photoshoot, Joe and I sat down for a Chinese meal.  We had the option of chopsticks or fork.  Joe chose the fork.  This Joe voted for the chopsticks.

Joe Wong on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show"


Monday, October 26, 2009

002 - And Then There Was Joey

And then there was Joey. Joey Salinas, that is. Or, Joseph Alexander Salinas, "a proud Latino American" born 26 years ago to El Salvadorian parents in the Washington, DC suburb of Arlington, Virginia.

Joey has been singing since the age of 5 but his first stage performance was at age 13 in the 7th grade. " I was cast in [William] Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" as the court jester, Feste. I had to sing at the very end of the play, which earned me my first two awards as a performer. It was my debut, both as a singer and an actor." That same year, Joey started training with a vocal coach, who, at the time, was working with chart-topping R&B artists.

While Joey is very influenced by the R&B genre, he is also influenced by Pop, Rock, Soul, and Hip Hop. "I'm inspired by great music all together so the list goes on and on." His main influences have been Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Prince, George Michael, Aerosmith and Michael Jackson, whose memorial took place on the day of our photoshoot. We spoke about Michael Jackson's sudden death and Joey said: "I didn't realize how big of a Michael [Jackson] fan I really was until after he passed. It's sad, though, because I feel that a lot of the world felt the same. A lot of us that weren't really fans of his while he was still around didn't truly appreciate him until after he passed. Like the rest of the world, I was excited that Michael was about to embark on reigniting his career with a huge concert event. I was excited to see what he had in store for us. Sadly that will never come to pass but we will at least get a glimpse of what could've been with the release of his rehearsal footage. Whether we accept it or not Michael Jackson was a great influence in Pop Culture and I appreciate everything he has done in order for me to be able to do what I love to do."

In 2005, Joey released "In The Beginning...," which gave listeners a glimpse of who he was both through his songs and his taste in music. His 2009 follow up "And Then There Was Alexander" continues in that theme. "Alexander is my middle name and I took on that character as it being the deeper layer to me. This album has more substance to it and a different sound than the first. The content is different but it's still me. So, "In the Beginning..." you got a taste of me. "And Then There Was Alexander" I dug deeper into the psyche of my music to take my listeners further inside of who I am."

Joey is currently writing new material and working on some live shows including one that will be jazz influenced. "I'm really developing the next stage in my musical venture." Updates will be posted on Joeys website as well as his MySpace and Facebook pages. [See links below] Though music is his top priority, Joey continues to act and has recently worked on "Step Up 3-D," "Sex & the City 2," "Gossip Girl," "Ugly Betty," and "Law & Order: SVU."

In addition to his music and acting, Joey is involved with DCToolK!t AKA FuK!t, a community based prevention program which provides free safe sex kits with the goal of stopping the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. I asked Joey how he got involved with DCToolK!t. "I stumbled upon it by accident actually. A good friend of mine that I had reconnected with was in DC earlier this year and was doing a photo shoot project, amongst other things. He asked if I wanted to pop by for the shoot to hang out afterwards, and so I did. When I got there I met Terry Gerace, who's one of the organizers of the campaign, and he asked if I'd be interested in partaking in the photo shoot to help promote the safer sex campaign. So I said yes. The following week I attended the next shoot, and that was that." For more information, visit

These days Joey splits his time between Hollywood, New York City, and Washington, DC. He also splits his time between community service, acting, and music but mostly music. This Joe agrees with Joey's self assessment on his MySpace page. Joe Salinas is "The New Sound of Pop Music."

NEXT WEEK: Vote For Joe

Monday, October 19, 2009

001 - Joe Human(n)

Joe the Plumber. Joe Camel. Joe Millionaire. Average Joe. These are just a few of the Joe's that pop culture and reality television have popularized in recent years. Joe is such a common name and nickname. Even the Vice President of the United States is named Joe.

Welcome to Joseph Silva's Joe PhotoBlog. Each week, this Joe, will feature a different human named Joe, Joseph, Jose, Joey, Joel, etc., and what better human to launch it than Joe Humann.

Joe Humann was born in Suffern, New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Building Conservation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology (with a Minor in Anthropology) from Stony Brook University. Joe, a separated, father of one, currently lives in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

By day, the button down shirts this, 39 year old, Architectural Conservator wears, cover the five tattoos that adorn his body. Among the tattoos are: two nautical stars on his triceps; his son Jared's name on his right forearm; a skull and wings on his left forearm; and a portrait of George Tilyou, the founder of the Steeplechase Pier and "father" of Coney Island on his upper back.

Though all the tattoos were inked by professionals, one of them, received help from a special artist "Jared, my son, filled in the eye in the skull - a 6 year old tattoo artist." Two of the other tattoos also hold a significance to Joe's only child, and a passion they both share - Coney Island. The George Tilyou portrait is obvious but the "Jared" tattoo was inked at Coney Island, a place that Joe and Jared go as often as possible.

Besides Coney Island, Joe loves motorcycles. His latest "toy" is a KTM 530 EXC enduro bike. When I asked Joe about it, he said: "I traded my Harley for it. Most Harley fans think its nuts but this bike is so much fun in NYC. I ride Brooklyn Motocross, as I call it. Cobble stone streets of Red Hook, abandoned buildings along the waterfront of Red Hook, Floyd Bennett Field...its a urban assault dirt bike....maybe you can meet me one day and shoot me and the bike through the building back lit from light coming off the waterfront....its so fucking amazing..." This Joe is definitely going to take Joe up on his invitation.

As an avid reader, who says "give me non-fiction and I'll be happy," I was surprised to learn that "Lonely Planet - Guide to Spain" was the last book Joe read. It does not exactly fit in with his other favorite authors which include; Franz Kafka, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut; and Sara E. Wermeil. Of course, it made sense when I learned that Joe has rented a villa in Andalucia so his family can join him in celebrating his 40th birthday in January.

Included in Joe's family is his older brother Richard Humann, an internationally exhibited artist, who joined us on the day of our photoshoot and is featured in one of the photographs. Joe spends allot of time with his brother. Joe spends allot of time with his son Jared. Joe spends allot of time enjoying the things he loves. Joe spends allot of time being human.

Future installments of this blog may feature some plumbers and may even feature some millionaires. However, any Joe, Joseph, Jose, Joey, Joel, etc. will be far from average.

Joe Human's FaceBook:

NEXT WEEK: And Then There Was Joey