Never Forget by Jocelyn Duke

soul orbs, watercolor on paper. 2017

soul orbs, watercolor on paper. 2017

Like most people, I will always remember where I was on September 11, 2001. And like most people, the entire day was utterly surreal.

I had graduated from college and was working at Shake The Tree Gallery, a little gift shop in Brookline Village. I had just opened the shop after riding my bike from my apartment in Allston. I turned on the shop's light, some music, listened to the answering machine's messages, and did other opening duties. The owner of the shop was on vacation with her family in the Berkshires and she had entrusted the shop to me.

@10am the little Brookline Village shop was open. @10:45 my first customer...was a zombie. As she walked through expressionless, I let her know if there was anything I could help with I would be happy to do so. She just looked at me, said nothing and left. @10:50 my second customer walked in. Same thing. @11 am the phone rings and it was the owner's mother hysterically asking where her daughter was, "The towers! The towers! We are under attack. New York is under attack! Get out of Boston". Then she hung up.

For the next couple of hours customers came in blankly looked at trinkets & home accessories then left. Everything felt still.

The shop's phone rang again, it was my mom. "Are you ok? I can't get in touch with your brother." He lived in Chelsea at the time. She was worried. I was confused, "What's going on? People are acting strange." That's when she told me. We ended the phone call with "please try getting in touch with your brother. I love you."

I didn't have access to the internet or a reliable radio, so I kept the shop open until closing time. When I got home all my roommates were sitting on the sofa watching the footage of the collapsing towers. It didn't seem real. 

My family got in touch with my brother and my mom's cousin who had worked in the Twin Towers for over two decades 2 days later. They were both traumatized in different ways. One watched both towers fall from his rooftop and the other barely escaped tower 2. Still my emotions felt surreal.

March 2002, I went down to visit my brother in the city. My train arrived into Penn Station. When the train stopped, I grabbed my bag, breezed off the train and thorough the station's lobby. Once I got to the steps leading up to the street I froze, realizing the wall which I had just passed. Pictures of the missing. Hundreds of pictures. My heart dropped to my stomach. I took a deep breathe and went up the stairs.

I met up with my brother, we went out to dinner never discussing 9/11 until we walked back to his apartment. "Do you want to see the lights?" he asked. "Sure" I responded. We went up to his rooftop. Where the towers used to stand now were two columns of lights shining up into the heavens. My brother put arm around my shoulders and we embraced.

Munchies Happen by Jocelyn Duke

Munchies Happen 2014, pen and marker on paper

Munchies Happen 2014, pen and marker on paper

I am so happy to announce that Marijuana Movie Night has a new chapter called Munchies Happen. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Marijuana Movie Night (a.k.a MMN or MMNight), let me catch you up to what's what.

Roughly 7 years ago, my partner in crime, Primo Duke, started the Marijuana Movie Night blog primarily to keep his writing chops sharp and feed his love for film, writing about the most recently released to the very forgotten. We also started hosting small events in our living room, eventfully moving to a friend's backyard for projector viewing. It was a good time, with lots of laughs and solid cinematic conversations. I personally am not a big movie buff, but these events were fun so I was down for that. The environment itself was open for weed smokers and not, so whoever wanted to hang could without exception, and enjoy the company & films.

As Marijuana Movie Night has developed over the years, it has also taken shape. Starting the blog on Blogger was a good beginning, but after a few conversation with potential investors, both Primo and I thought it would be best to upgrade the site platform to a more scalable one. So Marijuana Movie Night underwent a redesign and relaunched on 4/20 of this year. Since that time, it's been well received by many.

Fast forward to this Father's Day weekend...I'm welcoming Munchies Happen into the Marijuana Movie Night family. The inception of Munchies Happen came to Primo and I about 4 years ago. We wanted to cover at home dishes made from scratch, local Los Angeles eats, travel eats and guest writers from all over the globe. The pairing of weed & film is one idea, but adding food to the mix seemed very natural. We initially thought we would create a whole new website, but that quickly felt like we'd be spreading ourselves too thin. So we shelved the idea...

Now that Marijuana Movie Night has a new home at Squarespace, the addition of Munchies Happen makes sense. It's already a fun site to browse through and read posts, but you have more. You're welcome

By the way, all the photography on Munchies Happen will be by yours truly unless otherwise noted.

Polkadots by Jocelyn Duke

Polkadots, 2017. marker on paper. by Brigitte & Jocelyn Duke

Polkadots, 2017. marker on paper. by Brigitte & Jocelyn Duke

I'm not a huge Picasso fan. He just doesn't do it for me. However, I do respect his place in the art world and recreating a global conversation around perspective. Plus, who doesn't appreciate his famous quote, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once (they've grown) up."

To me, this quotes represents trust or the lack there of. If you remove stress from a child's life, you will find that the child has an unbound amount of trust in the present moment. There is no past and there is no future. The concept of time is abstract. The problem isn't remaining an artist. It's allowing the past memories not to interfere with the present.

Just letting go. This is perhaps the most difficult concept for many, including myself, to comprehend. Even the most self-proclaimed, enlightened individuals have a difficult time letting go of some hangups. And if you meet someone who claims zero worries, be wary. They are not being truthful.

My 3 year old daughter, Brigitte and I have collaborated on a few pieces together. Whenever we do, I am faced with a certain amount of resistance from myself while she is no holds barred. With every new project, I am confronted with a litany of control issues. I think about the mess, cleaning up the mess, the cost of my markers, don't draw on this, don't draw on that... And that's when I am reminded, I am not as relaxed and easy going as I'd like to daydream I am. 

These anxieties take me away from those pure creative moments. And at that moment, I recognize I am no longer with her, but off battling these emotions of anxiety. I cringe just thinking about my control issues now. But I do recognize that the now is the only thing that is real. It is the only thing that matters and in 5 minutes from now, everything will be ok. We will all be ok.

So I let go and let her create. And life becomes beautiful.

Wake Up (to Summer)!!! by Jocelyn Duke

wake up.jpg

It's Tuesday and now time to wake up from all the Memorial Day weekend festivities. All in all, it was a very relaxing weekend: huge car crash across the street from my house, awesome worldly events and champagne popsicles (I kid). But besides all the WTF moments outside of my family unit, I'm grateful to say life was enjoyable. I hope yours was too.

The Starting Line of Summer by Jocelyn Duke

Once again, the beginning of summer parties are about to gear up for many. I've always loved a good party - especially the colorful ones. Red cups, weed, and other party favors... you name it. But with every party fun there always comes a time when one needs or wants to go home. So on that note, please party responsibly...meaning use common sense and take an Uber or Lyft
Simple.

Happy Memorial Day weekend. 
Now party on y'all!