Year of the Dragon: A Colorable Graphic Memoir Based on Dancing in Their Light


Product Details

$19.99  $18.59
Strange Fate Publishing
Publish Date
8.5 X 11.0 X 0.26 inches | 0.53 pounds
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About the Author

My first job was at the age of three. I was put to work selling cigarettes and cigars at my parents' restaurant, Mah Jong Restaurant, on Long Island, New York. This is when I first learned how to calculate math. Cigarettes were 45 cents/pack. I was usually given a dollar bill and I had two quarters and a nickel ready to hand back over the counter. As I got a little more brazen, I would upsell ("if you want to buy a pack of Winstons, I can give you a cigar for 25 cents").I got my first promotion when I turned six. My mother sent me to the bar to help put toothpicks into cherries, pineapple slices, onions, and olives. Had I been given a title, it would have been Barback - the person who assists the Bartender in maintaining smooth operations. I was pretty good at it and I was also asked to squeeze fresh lemons and oranges and stock the glassware on the lower shelves - easy to do when you are 3'6".Sitting at the barstool doing my barback services gave me the opportunity to engage in small talk with our customers. "I made the garnishes!" I would exclaim to the customers who couldn't resist ordering another round or two as we all admired my toothpick artwork. My father took note of my ability to cultivate attention and told me to just stay there since I was good for business.I graduated from the barstool and by the time I was eleven years old, I was thrust into the world of the South Seas when our restaurant became a Polynesian nightclub. I became an exotic hula dancer and a sword dancer during my teenage years.Little did I know that selling tobacco, fixing drink garnishes, and dancing with sharp knives would be the key steppingstone to my career as an arts executive.I have long hung up my grass skirt and, over the past 30+ years, have held C-suite positions as Executive Director of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Opera Parallèle, Carmel Bach Festival, as Managing Director of California Shakespeare Theatre, Baltimore's Center Stage, and Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. Since 2020, I have been engaged as the Managing Director for Anna Deavere Smith's "Pipeline Girls" Project. I inherited an ethos of enriching the communities where I live and work. I'm so honored to serve as Board President of the San Francisco Community Music Center, the boards of the Playwright Foundation, and the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco. I am the past Board Chair of Theatre Bay Area and my past board affiliations include Theatre Communications Group, the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (Board President), and Network of Ensemble Theatres.My transformative leadership work in the realm of community engagement is featured as one of 13 case studies in "Creative Social Change: Leadership for a Healthy World" in the International Leadership Association Series, available through Amazon, which assembles thought leaders to reimagine leadership in building a healthy, sustainable, and equitable world.The breadth of my work - as an artist, performer, community builder, event producer, board member, author, mentor, consultant, activist, as well as a CEO - will be archived with the Performing Arts Legacy Project as a resource and a hopeful inspiration for those - particularly women of color - who aspire to take on leadership positions in the non-profit sector.I am the first arts CEO to have my career archived as part of the Performing Arts Legacy My book, "Dancing in Their Light, a Daughter's Unfinished Memoir," published in March 2022, chronicles my life growing up in a restaurant and Polynesian nightclub as influenced by the pioneering impact my family of immigrants have made to advance the fields of research, science, medicine, academia, engineering, arts, humanities, cultural diplomacy, and culinary hospitality in the U.S. I still love to dance...and I may pull my grass skirt back out of the closet soon...
About Ginna BB Gordon: Ginna has owned businesses (the Book Studio, Ginna's Café, Ginna & Co.), managed kitchens and cafés in other folks' businesses (Rainbow Ranch Calistoga, the Chopra Center for Well Being La Jolla, The Thunderbird Bookshop & Café Carmel, Cornucopia Café & Market Carmel) and created events for non-profits (the Carmel Music Society, the Carmel Bach Festival, the American Tall Ship Institute) as well as for many private clients (including Steven Seagal at his home in Southern California, where Tibetan monks roamed the halls and created fire pujas in the backyard while Ginna prepped dinner for six, or eight or 20, depending upon the star's whim). Throughout her busy 30-year career in the food and event business, Ginna has entertained herself and friends with art and garden parties, ceramic workshops, gifts from the garden and kitchen and herbal products for the body and table. Ginna is a dedicated Maker, DIY Artist and Upcycler. Ginna has (so far) authored four books about cooking: A Simple Celebration - the Nutritional Program for the Chopra Center for Well Being (Random House/Harmony Books 1997); Bonnebrook Farm and The Gingerbread Farm, glimpses of the many teachers and styles of cooking Ginna experienced in her journey as a retreat cook and café chef; and First You Grow the Pumpkin, which shares favorite tricks for growing, preserving and creating in the kitchen. The Soup Kit continues the "how to" series. Ginna studied Ayurveda and the Ayurvedic cooking style with Drs. Deepak Chopra, David Simon and Shamali Joshi. Her studies in the arts included UCLA Interior Design, the Guild of the Books Arts Carmel, Monterey Peninsula College and privately with myriad artists in and around California, including Alison Stillwell Cameron (Chinese Calligraphy), Tulku Jamyang Rinpoche (Tibetan Thangka Painting) and Louisa Jenkins (collage). Currently, Ginna and her husband, performer, lecturer and author David Gordon ( are partners in Lucky Valley Press, a pre-press and indie publishing company.