Artist Interview: Theresa Wong


We asked Theresa Wong, one of the many performers contributing to the over-the-top atmosphere of Glamorgeddon’s Opening Night Spectacle, for a biography. She submitted this: 
Her Unholiness the Nth Incarnation of the Dolly-Lama, was born in the obscure state of confusion and bliss. She is thought to be the successor to a long lineage of under-worshipped female deities promulgating the importance of fake beauty and pureness of heart. She received third prizes at the international “Big Messiah” sing-along competition and will be performing a selection from her hit album, “I Will Sometimes Love You.”

Naturally, we needed to know more… 

The phrase “fake beauty and pureness of heart” in your bio is exceptional. Can you please say more? Has Dolly Parton really been a big influence on you and your work?
The word ‘glamour’ was used in the olden days in Scotland, where it referred to ‘magic’ and ‘enchantment’ – as in the phrase, “to cast the glamor.” To me, beauty is about casting a spell. Dolly Parton writes gorgeous songs and boasts about how unnatural she looks, but her spell is undeniable.

I was and remain a HUGE fan of the song “I Will Always Love You.” But let’s talk about I Will Sometimes Love You – your hit new album. Is consistency a threat to the glamorous?
I Will Sometimes Love You is out of the hymnal at the monastery where the Dolly Lama grew up. It is a song about the middle way and staying honest in a relationship, whether with yourself or with another. There’s another regional version, which is: I Will Always Love You Sometimes. Even the glamorous have to keep it real.

Theresa Wong

What do you hope the audience takes from your Glamorgeddon performance? How have you been preparing for it, and has that differed from other performances you’ve done?
Well, I’ve been lookin’ for a real nice wig. Other than that, it’s the usual business of writing a song and practicing it. I hope the audience will have a lot of fun– I’m planning on it!

Can you talk about the importance of collaboration in your work?
The very nature of making music is rather social, so collaboration is quite natural.

I’m intrigued by Ulf Olsson’s description of the first time you improvised music with a certain musician: “It was not about expressing one self, but about listening and [being] in dialogue to shape a language.” How might this kind of improvisation and receptivity be applied to one’s engagement with society? Could society really benefit from more improv?
For sure! The answer is in your question. Basically when you improvise, you are taking responsibility for what you put out there and not just following instructions – so this can be directly applied to a way of living too… but of course each of us must figure out for ourselves how to do it.

About the Interviewer:
Evan Karp is Events Fellow for SOMArts Cultural Center and the founding director of Quiet Lightning and He writes literary columns for The San Francisco Chronicle, SF Weekly, SF/Arts, and The Rumpus, and develops programming at The Emerald Tablet.

Image 1 is Theresa Wong as Her Unholiness the Nth Incarnation of the Dolly-Lama, courtesy of the artist, Image 2 by Peter B. Kaars