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Born and raised in Normal, Illinois, Winston Gieseke craved attention at a young age. To escape the banality of a healthy, cornfed Midwestern existence, he studied piano and music theory in a children's program at Illinois Wesleyan University, wrote short stories and plays, read true crime books, and performed in various high school and community theater productions.
His dream of becoming the next Woodward and Bernstein was thwarted when he was denied entrance into the University of Iowa's prestigious journalism school, so, inspired by the Village People, he went west to Los Angeles at 18 and graduated three years later from California State University, Northridge, with a degree in screenwriting.
He wrote episodes for Hollywood Off-Ramp (the E! channel's first fictional series) and penned the made-for-cable movie Romantic Comedy 101, which starred Tom Arnold and Joey Lawrence.
Still thirsty for attention, Winston began mic-crashing at now-defunct L.A. piano bars like The Oasis & The Other Side. He auditioned for and was rejected by L.A. productions of Falsettos and Rent before making his professional singing debut on a grisly episode of Millennium, Fox's X-Files spin-off, crooning "This Little Light of Mine" as a woman faced death by real estate sign.
Not content to be a mere brushstroke in someone else's painting, he took to performing solo wherever he could find an audience. His first one-man show at the Gardenia in Hollywood played to a sold-out house, and a CD of that event is available if you can find someone to burn it for you. His second musical showcase wasn’t as good, but there's a CD of that one, too.
When performing for small, drunken audiences grew tiresome, Winston entered a contest to sing the National Anthem at an L.A. Dodgers game and won. He was invited back twice and hopes to one day have the stadium renamed in his honor. His 2004 production, Giving 'Til It Hurts You, a one-man musical extravaganza that featured three other people, played for four weeks at the Split.Id Theater in Hollywood.
Winston next spent two seasons simultaneously working on the hit ABC Family series Wildfire and composing tantalizing copy for adult sites like Penthouse online and Napali Video ("Home of Big Breast Glamour & Cat Fights").
Doing his part to save the planet while also titillating it, he has written informative articles for a green alternative lifestyle website and an indie rock magazine, as well as tantalizing features for Men and Freshmen magazines, for which he somehow ended up becoming editor in chief. His dreams of becoming a respectable journalist were finally realized when he was hired as managing editor of The Advocate. He has also been a contributor to Queerty.com, Frontiers, Palm Springs Life, GayDesertGuide.com, PetLife, Me Yah Whae, and The Guide.
In 2011, Winston returned to the stage for a two-night gig called Accidentally Overserved at M Bar. A live recording of the show titled On The Edge was released on LML Music in August 2012. In addition, he's performed with the Palm Springs Gay Men's Chorus and been a soloist with Harmonic Voices.
He spent two years in Berlin, an experience he shamelessly exploited at the now-defunct ExpatsInBerlin.us, and is the editor of the anthologies Indecent Exposures, Daddy Knows Best, Straight No More, Blowing Off Class, Whipping Boys, Until the Sun Rises, Out of Uniform, Hired Hands, Slave Boys, and the 2014 Lambda Literary finalist Team Players.
His passions include history (he has served on the board of the Culver City Historical Society), criminology, the musicals of Stephen Sondheim, and the films of Nacho Vidal. He counts Henry Rollins and Patty Hearst among his many influences.