Spotlight on Alice Tong

Alice Tong - photo by Anna Wu

We here at ATO fancy ourselves a rather eclectic bunch; we’re into a mad, disjointed variety of unrelated people, places, things, etc.  We seldom agree on anything, but two interests do top all of our lists – good animals and good music.  Imagine our surprise when we stumbled across an artist whose main passions matched ours!  That person is California-based singer/songwriter/shelter dog trainer Alice Tong. 

Alice and Lance

By day Alice (who is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker) is employed at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, CA – plus she offers private dog training, as evidenced HERE.  She has also assisted SIRIUS Puppy/Dog Training Classes, East Bay SPCA’s TLC (Teaching Love and Compassion) dog training classes, and trained service dogs for individuals with physical disabilities. Alice graduated with distinction from the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior- one of the most respected and comprehensive dog training programs available using force-free methods.  How cool is that? 

Anybody that involved with animals must have a big heart — and Alice just happens to have a big talent to match.  Her first album, “Small” (2005) reveals huge singing chops she puts to good use on sultry standards like “Black Coffee”, “Round Midnight” and “Nature Boy” — along with a sprinkling of original material. To say this collection is gorgeous is an understatement — and it only gets better with her more recent offering, last year’s “Please Be Brave Before The Lions They Come”.  Despite the Yoda-esque title (just kidding Alice) the album brings into sharp focus the masterful songwriting and warm, unique voice possessed by Ms. Tong.  I must also add that Alice plays piano, guitar, ukulele and harmonica on these cuts – and her musicianship is second-to-none. You can hear all this for yourself AND download these albums at Alice’s OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

Right now — here’s a little taste of the music courtesy of the Alice Tong Youtube Channel – where we strongly encourage you to spend a great deal of time.

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Obedient animals and good music — two of life’s great pleasures — both supplied by Alice Tong.

Sue Jin’s “Road”

Sue Jin

ATO favorite Sue Jin has accomplished the near-impossible:  she has just delivered a new album that surpasses even the enormous breadth and depth of her previous “Worth the Tears” CD.  The new one, entitled “The First Installment – I” is being released slowly, one or two songs at a time on YouTube and elsewhere.  Truth is, we haven’t heard the whole thing yet — but the selected cuts available at this writing are worth the price of admission by themselves.  Example below – “The Road”

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Now that you’ve heard it — learn why it is so special to Sue in the moving video here:

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We’ll have updates on Sue and her great new album soon — but if you’re hungry for more info right now, check her out on Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/suejin

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… and here’s one more from the album — in case you’re not sold already …

Cold Tofu, Corinne Chooey and Chinatown Rhapsody

Jed, move away from there

Remember the scene in the Beverly Hillbillies when Jed is “shootin’ at some food” and suddenly “up from the ground comes bubblin’ crude”?  Well, that’s similar to what happened recently when ATO did a brief story on S-Cube Entertainment’s girl group Umamiya.  We, figuratively, poked at the ground a bit and up came a geyser of talent – in the form of Cold Tofu, an L.A.-based Asian American comedy improv and sketch group. 

Cold Tofu

Ya see, for those who haven’t yet caught on, the whole S-Cube/Umamiya “phenomenon” is the … er … work of Cold Tofu.  Cold Tofu deserves a huge article – something beyond the scope of this humble website – but you can and should check out their website at www.coldtofu.com.

Corinne Chooey

Much to our amazement, our little Umamiya feature brought a flurry of positive comments and emails from the Tofu gang themselves — and we appreciate that more than they know.  One of the responders was Tofu core member Corinne Chooey (aka Cathedral Leung of Umamiya).  Her photo looked pretty interesting, so we began poking around at her — um, FIGURATIVELY of course — and again the geyser raged forth. Hmm.

OK — right here and now we’re going to abandon the Beverly Hillbillies parallel ‘cuz it’s getting a little iffy. 

Nevertheless – closer examination of Ms. Chooey/Leung’s background revealed a wealth of captivating data:  raised in Frisco’s Chinatown, Chooey has been performing since an early age. Church plays and community theatre led to gigs with everything from Lodestone to Sara Lee — and she’s appeared in fare like Reno 911 and flicks with stars like Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx.  She’s SAG, AFTRA and AEA — and that’s just scratching the surface.  For the whole story, check out her webpage:  www.corinnechooey.com.

To get to the point of all this — Chooey is also a writer and a while back she wrote (and produced) a real jewel of a short film, “Chinatown Rhapsody” — which we present below for your viewing pleasure.

 

Of this film, Chooey says “This is my homage to the San Francisco community that will forever be near and dear to my heart.  Growing up, I often heard stories from my grandparents about a swanky Chinatown Nightclub they used to visit in the 1940’s.  Rumor has it, I actually had an aunt who danced in the chorus. ”

No doubt that’s true — Chooey’s Grandmother and Grand-Aunt were both film actresses in the U.S. and Hong Kong.  Entertainment runs in Corinne’s family — and we are certain we’ll be hearing lots more from this multi-talented individual.
 
 
 

Is This The Final Chapter of Umamiya?

Cold Tofu

If you haven’t followed this, you’ve simply gotta go back and piece together the story of S-Cube Entertainment and their girl group Umamiya.  This saga beats most anything you’ll see on WWE — but don’t take it any more seriously. 

 Prepare to be mystified.

Want more?  Here’s the video that, er …. “started it all”  I guess —