"There's something in the Pacific atmosphere that forces you to be free," says Joe Catucci. At twenty-nine, the Cleveland-born Sagittarian is a longtime Californian who's traveled widely - in Mexico, Hawaii, Canada and the forests of the Northwest - but maintains his permanent address in Hollywood near Sunset Strip. Based there in a cheap but clean one-room apartment, to which he repairs only for sleep approximately every twenty hours, Joe Catucci is constantly on the go. He takes whatever odd jobs come his way - four years of truckdriving have been superceded by house-painting, bricklaying, and intuitive electronic repairs - to supplement his life's ambition: acting. Attending classes in dramatics at UCLA, Joe is intent upon mastering every trick of the ancient craft as he advances slowly and deliberately upon his one goal. "I want to be the greatest actor in the world," he says.
Although a sports addict, Joe's a loner, given to riding and surfing - noncompetitive adventures that let him concentrate on the purity of the action until he reaches a complete continuity of mind and body with the surfboard and the sea. "Surfing's really a kind of yoga," he says. "You're actively directing your own efforts on one level, and passively submitting to the force of the wave on another." In these pursuits Joe frequently seeks simple solitude - "My one real love affair years ago left me with a feeling that no other woman could ever take up such a large part of my life... I think that maybe now I'm ready to open up again, try to find somebody permanently - but sometimes I'm still not sure I'm not fated to be alone."
"Acting's my ultimate communication," Joe says. "When i get ready to do a scene, or a play, I relate every line, every action to my own experience. Something about, say, someone dying - someone I loved - in the play, I would relate to my best high school buddy who died in Vietnam. I take certain moments from my life, and I relate to them constantly, as I'm going into the character, and even as I'm doing it on stage. Of course, everything we do is influenced by everything we've ever done, so this kind of 'play' acting is, for me, a moment of hyper-truth when a complex of emotions get artistically exposed and almost completely transformed." (emphasis added by me)
"The kind of woman who turns me on is the kind of woman who can express her total femininity in all her movements and her conversations and at the same time show me that she has the guts to stay with something she believes in."
"But I hate women's lib. I think women ought to have equal rights and everything, but the whole idea of groups of women as women really turns me off. If a women isn't free in her own head, a lot of other women aren't going to talk her into it. And if she, as an individual human being, is free, then she's beautiful. She could be the ugliest broad in the world - as long as she accepts the here-and-now, she's as liberated and beautiful as she needs to be. Women's lib, if it's about everything, is about loneliness... I know what loneliness is, and love is something a woman can only get from a man and a man can only get from a woman. And I believe in love." (emphasis original)
Photos by Tim Perior from VIVA, March 1974.