Marcie Chin (the interview) | #TRUE20

IMG_6403

1. Name, position at True & dates worked there?

Marcie Andrea Chin, a.k.a. mars

Office Manager, September 2005-April 2007 (IIRC!)

2. Work experience prior to working at True & what is your current occupation and employer?

Before True, I was working on a PhD in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. Currently, I’m a Director of Product at Vevo in NYC and working on a Design MBA at California College of the Arts in SF.

3. Fondest memory of your time working at True?

Working at True was so fun, it’s hard to pick just one memory! The first one that comes to mind is the time when Mike called me down from the office because he needed me to look up sales records for a t-shirt that we had sold out. He needed the info right away, and as I turned around to run back upstairs I made eye contact with the guy he was talking to. We both paused, looking at each other like “How do I know you?” After a few awkward seconds, he smiled and introduced himself “Hi, I’m Mos.”

4. Worst memory of your time working at True?

I can’t recall anything really negative, but there was one time my dog almost got kidnapped. I used to have the cutest and bestest little snaggled-toothed black & white Shih-tzu named Morey that I would bring with me to work. He would hang out on the floor (and sneak next door to People’s Café almost every day to scavenge for food) while I worked upstairs in the office. One day my coworker, Rush, busted into the office “Marcie, some woman just tried to steal your dog! Pull the security tapes!” We rewound the tape 20 minutes and played it back. Rush pointed out a woman who was clearly following Morey around the store, likely as he was looking for another opportunity to escape to People’s. As he wandered towards the entrance, the woman looked around as if to make sure nobody was looking and SCOOPED HIM UP and started WALKING OUT. Next thing you know we see Rush going after her, with one arm outstretched, finger pointing in her direction, like, “HEY LADY, WTF ARE YOU DOING!” To this day I can still see that video clip in my head, and I’ll always be grateful to Rush for looking out. True fam!

“At True I was so lucky to work with some of the most talented and genuine people I’ve ever met – people who truly represented the creative subculture of San Francisco.”

 

IMG_4105

 

5. Tell me about some of the people you met while working at True, customers & co-workers. Any good stories?

At True I was so lucky to work with some of the most talented and genuine people I’ve ever met – people who truly represented the creative subculture of San Francisco. From the legendary Mike Brown whose vision and passion was contagious to everyone around him, to my life-long friend Josh(ing) who I probably spent the most time with up in the office (me filing, him designing dope shit while tormenting my dog with Apple computer noises), to Spank Pops who greeted me every day “Marcie, son!” (which I hear in my head every time I pass Marcy Ave in Bk), and of course my lil bro Rush One <3. Ironically, Mike Baker the Bike Maker and I worked at True at the same time but we NEVER met each other until we both moved to NY. And now he’s one of my closest friends, so I’m going to count him anyway.

6. What did you learn (if anything) during your time working at True that continues to be useful to you today?

To this day, I credit Mike Brown and my time at True for influencing my decision to pursue a Design MBA. I really can’t say enough about how much Mike inspired me to see business and entrepreneurship as a tool to create community and support local artists, from designers and illustrators to graf artists to dj’s to rappers, you name it. If they were authentic and fresh, Mike put them on. He really took care of his people. He created something really special. In fact, I still remember when I first heard about True opening up in 1996. I was a senior in high school and a couple of my classmates were his first employees. It was the FIRST hip hop store in SF, and it was on Haight Street. Back then I didn’t think I was “cool” enough to work there (especially because an older boy that I was crushing on SO HARD, who eventually became my (ex)boyfriend, worked there at one point too, hehe. We still frenz tho, hey boo!). But I learned it’s not so much about being cool as it is about being real. I’m still not that cool.

7. Any advice to future employees or customers of True?

If you love something, take the time to learn its history and influence on the world. Remember that everything we do, whether it’s running a business or creating art or buying a cup of coffee at the corner store, has an affect on the people around us and the world we live in. Support your local businesses! Be True!

IMG_3526

Music Monday | Sly & The Family Stone (Live 1973)

Sly and the Family Stone was an American band from San Francisco.

Active from 1967 to 1983, the band was pivotal in the development of soul, funk, and psychedelic music.

Headed by singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, and containing several of his family members and friends, the band was the first major American rock band to have an “integrated, multi-gender” lineup.

— source wikipedia

RR_Sly_and_Family

I miss San Francisco

IMG_3679

[t-shirt design by www.joshinguno.com for TRUE clothing — available in SF & WC or online here]

Everyday when I wake up and walk to work, or to my son’s school, or to the park, something is closed for good. I know that it’s a regular part of the life of a city, to have businesses opening, closing, being replaced, etc., but there is something different happening now. Every single time a business closes in San Francisco, it’s being replaced by a business that is unaffordable to the general population, very often owned by someone outside of the city, and most often taking the place of business that was a useful part of the community. Having the occasional wine bar, high end boutique, artisan cafe, and top tier restaurant is a wonderful thing. But having a glut of these businesses at the expense of markets, laundromats, breakfast cafes and musical venues that helped make the city what it was, is a disaster.

It’s part of a larger conversation about gentrification, displacement, and replacement that is taking part all over the Bay Area, and the country, but we seem to have a hyperactive version of these things here. Not all the businesses or locations on this design have been part of this process, but it is what prompted it. In fact, I had to redesign it a few times over the last few months as more spots were shuttered. I just had to call it one day and say “it’s going to print”. Within the next seven days, three of my favorite food spots, each with a history of more than 20 years each, closed its doors for good. Since then, I’ve added at least 6 more. That is hyperactive replacement.

“That is hyperactive replacement.”

Some places listed on the tee closed decades ago, but were a part of a larger story of SF, one that I was too young to be a part of, but the stories of which are passed down. Some of the spots were unsanctioned meeting places, the names of particular parties, and places of interest that met a natural end. I will update again this year. I will add all those other places that were removed from my neighborhood recently, due to rental increases built from the entitled outdoor-mall atmosphere that is crawling across the city. It isn’t an old, foggy, and romanticized version of San Francisco we are missing, it IS San Francisco. It’s being replaced plot by plot and flat by flat. Change is good, but erasing and replacing is dangerous. People’s lives and livelihoods are being erased and replaced daily in a concerted effort to create spaces more accommodating to the young rich.

There is no balance here anymore, and it makes me miss San Francisco.

– Joshua Bruner –