Debbie Chinn's first book, "Dancing in Their Light: A Daughter's Unfinished Memoir," (Strange Fate Publishing, 2022) encapsulated her life as a 'restaurant kid, ' growing up in her family's prominent New York restaurant and Polynesian nightclub, Mah Jong Restaurant, during the 1960s and 70s.
Debbie wondered how she might tell the story of "Dancing in Their Light" in an educational and pictorial way to depict the arc of her family stories and of the defining bicultural moments in U.S. and Chinese civic relationships, in which her family of immigrants played a significant part.
At the same time, Debbie has long been intrigued by the power of art therapy. Music, theatre, and dance have been sources of balm for her, as she describes in "Dancing in Their Light." Moreover, a constant through line in her career as a successful arts CEO has been developing programs that connect art with emotional recalibration.
"Year of the Dragon" is the first in a series of "colorable graphic memoirs" based on the themes and stories of "Dancing in Their Light." It is an homage to Chinese New Year, representing new beginnings.
The series features the extraordinary talents of author and artist Ginna BB Gordon, editor of Debbie's first book, "Dancing in Their Light." A multitalented woman, Ginna is an artist at the core, and has painstakingly rendered the exquisite colorable illustrations in this book by hand, beautifully capturing the essence of Debbie's family's story.
The creators of this volume hope it serves as a fun, educational, and intergenerational activity to inspire you to learn more about the cultures and norms of Chinese New Year, and to give you an insight into how Debbie's family enterprise, Mah Jong Restaurant, grew to become one of the most popular culinary destinations during the gilded age of dining, 1960-1980.
About the Author
Ginna BB Gordon has been involved in art and books throughout her life. As a chef, she has written six books about cooking; as a novelist, she has penned four; at nine years old, her first, and hand-written book was an illustrated graphic "how-to" entitled How to be Obnoxious in Twenty-Five Easy Lessons, instigated by her annoyed 11-year-old brother. Although Ginna's career as a chef, retreat cook and event planner (for Rainbow Ranch in Calistoga, California, the Chopra Center for Well Being, Steven Segal, Carmel Music Society, the Carmel Bach Festival and a few other memorable people and notable institutions) demanded most of her time and attention, she studied and pursued other art forms as respite from the hustle and bustle of the food and event business. She was fortunate to spend a year with Alison Stillwell Cameron in the study of Chinese Calligraphy and focused a decade or more on the art of book design and construction. Add the years studying Tibetan Thangka Painting in Santa Cruz with a Tulku and you've got an artist comfortable with a calligraphy brush, pencils and pens and Asian design elements. Now Ginna, an editor and book designer, continues her love of the art of books with her husband and business partner, David Gordon (spiritsound.com), an illustrious tenor, also a book designer and typographer. If they had met during their careers as chef and tenor, she would be getting up to bake bread as he was getting home from the opera stage. Together, Ginna and David are Lucky Valley Press. Visit luckyvalleypress.com for more information and Ginna's complete Bio. www.luckyvalleypress.com