Joe Putignano, age 35, is an American acrobat and the original Crystal Man character in Totem. But he is leaving us at the end of this city! And after these 3 intense touring years with Totem, I wanted to be sure to write about him before he moves on.
This will be a different sort of Artist Profile. I don't need to write Joe's biography - it is extensively chronicled in dozens of media outlets, for a few reasons. In Joe's past, he was a gymnastics star, and then he sank into a debilitating drug addiction. He has chronicled his story, including a comeback as a fantastic artist, in an upcoming book, Acrobaddict: A Contortionist's Heroin Romance. And as he leaves Totem, CNN will begin a year-long story on him, following his planned shoulder surgery, recovery, and transition into a new life. He's going back to school, to study medicine.
In the meantime, you can find more about Joe at the following links:
What I want to say about Joe is that he has been a great friend to Greg in these last three years. As two American artists with dark, cynical senses of humor, they have laughed and supported each other through times of stress and doubt. Greg will feel his absence on tour acutely.
I asked Joe what the best part of his work with Totem has been. He said that it has taught him to harness discipline and persistence. He would never have been able to cultivate the kind of dedication, and relentless focus, that he has now, without being a part of this company. These skills will serve him well for the rest of his life.
Joe, you will be missed on Totem, and you'll be a part of its story forever.