Partner Jonathan Torrey

Queer Places:
Cafe Cino, 31 Carmine St., 10014, NYC, NY, USA
Mount Calvary Cemetery, 800 Pine Ridge Heritage Blvd, Cheektowaga, NY 14225, Stati Uniti

Joseph "Joe" Cino (November 16, 1931 – April 2, 1967), was an Italian-American theatrical producer and café-owner. The beginning of the Off-Off-Broadway theatre movement is generally credited to have begun at Cino’s Caffe Cino.

Joe Cino, the son of first generation Sicilian-Americans, came from a working-class family in Buffalo. He moved to New York City at the age of sixteen, studying performing arts for two years in hopes of becoming a dancer. Though he made a living dancing throughout much of the 1950s, his continual struggles with weight curtailed his dance career.

Cino eventually became addicted to amphetamines as he struggled to keep up the pace that Caffe Cino demanded from him. On January 5, 1967, Jonathan Torrey was electrocuted and died in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. Though his death was ruled accidental, skeptical insiders claimed that he committed suicide. The event sent Cino into a depressive spiral. He began socializing with members from Andy Warhol’s Factory (attracted by the success of "Dames"), including the notorious Pope Ondine (a.k.a. Bob Olivio), with whom Cino did a great deal of drugs. Caffe Cino itself was beginning to suffer. The Caffe Cino, as a commercial enterprise, was ineligible for the government grants which had allowed other experimental theatres to prosper, and Joe refused to charge an admission or even a minimum.

On March 30, 1967, Cino hacked his arms and stomach with a kitchen knife. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors announced that he would live. However, on April 2, Jon Torrey’s birthday, Joe Cino died. Though friends tried to keep Caffe Cino open, it closed in 1968, finally falling victim to cabaret laws now being strictly enforced by the young, ambitious councilman, Ed Koch.

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  1. "Caffe Cino - Stone". Archived from the original on 2012-08-05.
  2. "Joe Cino Appreciation Day - News from the IT Awards". Retrieved 2013-12-05.