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OC Insider: Taking Center Stage

John Ginger, the former chair for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, knows how to stage a good production.

The owner of J. Ginger Masonry late last month threw a bash at Big Canyon Country Club to celebrate his and wife Toni Ginger’s 50th anniversary.

Phantom of the Opera star Amy Manford and Las Vegas headliner Daniel Emmet opened the night with “The Prayer.”

“That brought the house down – the place just went crazy,” said John McEntee, owner of Anaheim’s TEI Entertainment, which organized the night’s performers.

“It set the pace for the night.”

Other singers included Chubby Checker, The Romantics’ Wally Palmar and Tommy Tutone. The Pointer Sisters “rocked it – they were so good,” McEntee said.

Ginger remains active on the Segerstrom Center board, and attendees at the event included John Phelan, the new Chair of Segerstrom Center, as well as CEO Casey Reitz.

Also on hand: Robert Brunswick, the incoming Chair of Hoag, where the Gingers also play an active role, as well as Raj Bhathal, Jim Mazzo and Business Journal Publisher Richard Reisman.

“It was a great party,” McEntee, who has organized thousands of concerts, told the Business Journal. “I had never passed out so many business cards in one night.”

Big Canyon Country Club hosted a more somber affair last week, with a Celebration of Life event for Victoria Collins, who helped found what is now known as First Foundation (NYSE: FFWM), the wealth management and banking firm long based in Irvine.

In 1997, Collins, then with the Keller Group, earned a Women in Business Award from the Business Journal. She was also a charter member of the Center for Investment and Wealth Management at UCI, served on the board of Orange County United Way and was a founding member of both the United Way’s Women’s Philanthropy Fund and Lake Forest’s WISE, aka Women Investing in Security and Education.

The WISE board has established a legacy fund in Collins’ name, to provide scholarships to underserved girls and to support the sustainability of the philanthropic educational organization.

A decade ago, Din Tai Fung opened its 1st OC location at South Coast Plaza. The wait time for a seat at the famed Taiwanese soup dumpling spot, which got its U.S. start in Arcadia, remains lengthy during peak hours.

This month, its 2nd OC spot opens in Anaheim; see Emily Santiago-Molina’s story on this page for more on the latest addition to Downtown Disney’s food scene.

Disneyland goers aren’t the only foodies with ties to OC getting a new go-to spot.

Later this month, Din Tai Fung’s first East Coast location opens in Midtown Manhattan.

The office, at 1633 Broadway, serves as the U.S. HQ for financial giant Allianz, and the East Coast base for its Newport Beach-based Pimco division, which has prominent signage next to the new restaurant.

Any New Yorkers claiming that the Xiao Long Bao from Chinatown’s Joe’s Shanghai is superior are wrong.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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