Something I never knew about Steve Buscemi

Sadly, the choreographer and filmmaker Jo Andres has died . Here is her (as of this writing) Wikipedia bio:

Jo Andres (born 1953 — died January 2019) was an American filmmakerchoreographer and artist.

Andres first became known on the kinetic downtown New York performance scene of the 1980s for her film/dance/light performances, shown at the Performing Garage, La Mama E.T.C., P.S. 122, St. Marks Danspace, and the Collective for Living Cinema.[1] As a filmmaker, Andres drew acclaim and awards for the 1996 film, Black Kites which aired on PBS and played several film festivals, including Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, London and Human Rights Watch Film Festivals.[2] Andres directed music and art videos, as well as her own film performance works. Andres was a dance consultant to the acclaimed Wooster Group.

She has been an artist in residence at leading universities, museums and art colonies, including Yaddo, and The Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy. Andres created a series of cyanotype photographs which can be seen on her website.[3][4]

She and her husband, actor Steve Buscemi, have one son, Lucian, born in 1990.[5] She died on January 11th, 2019

I never knew that Steve Buscemi used to be a firefighter before he acted:

Buscemi was a New York City firefighter from 1980 to 1984, with Engine Company No. 55, in the Little Italy section of New York. The day after the 9/11 attacks in New York, he returned to his old firehouse to volunteer: he worked twelve-hour shifts for a week, and dug through rubble looking for missing firefighters. On May 25, 2003, Buscemi was arrested with nineteen other people, while protesting the closing of a number of firehouses, including Engine 55.[35]

There are quite a few actors – Dennis Farina, Denis Franz, Fred Thompson – who worked in law enforcement prior to acting. And many Hollywood actors from the 40s til 80s or so had served in World War II.

However, unlike Farina et al, Buscemi was not (in my mind anyway) immediately associated with his prior profession. Indeed, his roles generally involved playing unflattering characters quite removed from the heroic image of firefighters. I would have associated Denis Leary much more closely with firefighting. It turns out Leary’s cousin and a close friend were firemen who died in a 1999 warehouse fire.  While I find Leary’s pseudo tough guy schtick quite tiresome (and a lot is apparently “borrowed” from Bill Hicks, who I also find vastly overrated) this work does seem entirely admirable.

Anyway, there is something quite impressive not only about Buscemi’s post September 11th actions and evident direct support of firefighters since, but also how he has not especially coasted on his past (I don’t think he has played firefighters on screen)

In any case it is obviously a sad time for him and his family.  Rest in peace Jo Andres.



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