Winston Tong (born 1951 in San Francisco, California) is an actor/playwright, visual artist, puppeteer, and singer/songwriter. He is best known for his vocal work in Tuxedomoon, and for winning an Obie award in puppetry for "Bound Feet" in 1978.
1 Early years,
2 Performance art,
3 Musical career,
6 External links,
Tong, the son of Chinese parents exiled by the Communist revolution, graduated with a degree in Theatre from the California Institute of Arts in 1973. While at Cal Arts, he had studied classical vocals with Marni Nixon. In 1969, Tong was commissioned to illustrate "The Dinosaur Coloring Book", by Malcolm Whyte, which was published by Troubador Press and later Price Stern Sloan.
After graduation, Tong then established a reputation in the Bay Area with a string of charismatic, left-field performance pieces such as "Wild Boys," "Eliminations," "Frankie and Johnnie" and the award-winning "Bound Feet," which was loosely based on traditional oriental puppet theatre. "Frankie and Johnnie" appeared in the 1981 documentary Theater In Trance by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who shot the film at the "Theaters of the World" Festival in June 1981 in Cologne.
Tong joined Tuxedomoon in 1977. He sporadically recorded and performed live with the group, as well as recording solo material including the electro-pop dance album "Theoretically Chinese" in 1985, a 9-song set produced by Alan Rankine which featured guests such as Stephen Morris of New Order, Dave Formula and Jah Wobble as well as many other familiar musicians from Tong's past. The album and its subsequent singles, "Theoretical China" and "Reports From The Heart", were released via Les Disques du Crepuscule.
His composition "In a Manner of Speaking" from 1985's Holy Wars, was later covered by Martin Gore, Nouvelle Vague, and Amanda Palmer, and remains his best known song. Tong left Tuxedomoon in 1985.
In March 2005, Tong was reunited with Tuxedomoon for two performances in San Francisco, which is the first time they had performed together in over twenty years.
Tong's career, including solo activity, was examined in detail in Isabelle Corbisier's Tuxedomoon biography ("Music for Vagabonds - the Tuxedomoon Chronicles"), published in 2008.