Friday, February 26, 2010

Eternal Moonwalk - A Tribute To Michael Jackson

Yet again: old to some, new to others, still interesting, I think...

Michael Jackson was never my thing (rather on the contrary) nor did I ever get caught up in the fascination with the Moonwalk (I prefer doing the robot if necessary). Maybe that's why I just saw this now (thank you for the link, Adele). But this Belgian Michael Jackson tribute site "Eternal Moonwalk" featuring an endless array of videos with people moonwalking across the screen and the video frame moving along like a slide show is so clever, so mesmerizing. 

Great job, Studio Brussels and the creatives who came up with the idea.

Unfortunately, since that site was created back in the summer 2009, they no longer take video submissions. 


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gebrauchsanweisung für Berlin (A "manual" to the city of Berlin)

Gebrauchsanweisung für Berlin Gebrauchsanweisung für Berlin by Jakob Hein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Great way to get insight into the city and people of Berlin. Appreciated the author's preface pointing out that yes, the author is wrong about everything and everyone else will know better... Would be great to read similar book about New York and see how much I'd agree.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Will To Do The Right Thing

Just watched another great TED Talk* from last year: "The real crisis? We stopped being wise." by Barry Schwartz.

A sensible and moving account of why it is so important for us to embrace virtue (again) - especially practical wisdom: to think, care and make wise moral decisions. He calls on the listener to "be an ordinary, if not extraordinary, hero" and do the right thing.

Another quote worth contemplating: "[...] the truth is that any work you do that involves interaction with other people is moral work. Any any moral work depends on practical wisdom."

Ah, if our bureaucratic, extreme capitalist, bottom-line society could only transition into a society of people who base their actions on caring about one another, making their own decisions and doing "the right thing."

* From the TED site: TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with the annual TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK, TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Program, the new TEDx community program, this year's TEDIndia Conference and the annual TED Prize.

Monday, February 22, 2010

MusicMonday: Favorite Songs of 2009

Yeah, I know I'm late - it's almost March. But it was a challenge to distill the four Favorite of Quarter CDs down to a more manageable "2009 Up" and "2009 Down" - not to mention, decide if to add anything I had previously overlooked.

"2009 Up"

No You Girls by Franz Ferdinand

Heads Will Roll by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Percussion Gun by White Rabbits

I'll Have To Dance With Cassie by God Help The Girl

Straight To Hell (The Clash cover) by Lily Allen (featuring Mick Jones)

Never Forget You by Noisettes

Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Search and Destroy (Iggy & The Stooges cover) by Peaches

Feel Like Taking You Home by Brendan Benson

Obsessions by Marina & The Diamonds

Dominos by The Big Pink

Sick Muse by Metric

Taller Children by Elizabeth & The Catapult

Dog Days Are Over by Florence & The Machine

Nothing To Worry About by Peter, Bjorn and John

15 to 20 by The Phenomenal Handclap Band

So Human by Lady Sovereign


"2009 Down"

So Far Around The Bend by The National

First Of The Gang To Die (Morrissey cover) by Zee Avi

Blood Bank by Bon Iver

I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers

Eid Ma Clack Shaw by Bill Callahan

Lua by Conor Oberst & Gillian Welch

Prison Girls by Neko Case

Airport Surroundings by Loney, Dear

Swim Until You Can't See Land by Frightened Rabbit

Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons

French Navy by Camera Obscura

VCR by The xx

Cornerstone by Arctic Monkeys

Laughing With by Regina Spektor

First Love by Emmy The Great

I Just Want Your Jeans by God Help The Girl

Heart of Glass (Blondie cover) by Old School Freight Trains

The song definitely missing from the 2009 Down CD (because at 8 minutes long it just wouldn't fit) is Sleepless by The Decemberists. 

The complete lists for the 4 Favorites of the Quarter: 

And as usual, if we know each other and you want to hear the whole mix, just tell me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Phantom Menace & Avatar Video Reviews by Mike Stoklasa (Red Letter Media)

In the category "old to some, new to others - but always interesting, right?" I'm finally getting around to posting about this fantastic video review of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace that was brought to my attention a few weeks ago by James Israel, the east coast half of the Israel Brothers.

I really need to catch up on my "still to blog about" list so I can stay a little more current. It might help if I was only a little less wordy, so each post wouldn't take me quite as long. Hm. It's a thought. But maybe not a realistic one.

The epic 70-minute "review/critique/analysis/film making educational video" about the 1999 film Star Wars: The Phantom Menace at least isn't actually from back in 1999, but seems to be from December 2009, when Mike Stoklasa of Red Letter Media uploaded it to YouTube.

You don't have to like, or even know, The Phantom Menace to enjoy the review, learn interesting facts about filmmaking (and also some total total nonsense about other things) and hopefully have quite a few laughs. Enjoy!

Here is the first segment of the Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review:

Links for the other 6 segments: 

And now Mike Stoklasa has done a shorter video review of the recent blockbuster Avatar. I'll watch that one myself now. (Hah, posting about something I have yet to check out myself, that's way ahead of the "still to blog about" list. Especially because my Internet connection is so slow today that I might not even watch this until the future. My, my.)

On Mike's Red Letter Media YouTube channel you can find a few other video clips and watch out for the review of Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones to come out...

Monday, February 15, 2010

MusicMonday: Spoon and White Rabbits

In honor of White Rabbits and Spoon playing in Berlin this Saturday, here is my favorite song by Brooklyn-based White Rabbits: "Percussion Gun"...

... and the latest and greatest song (and brand new video) by Austin's Spoon (from their new, and very much hyped, album "Tranference"): "Written In Reverse"...

Rumor has it that the show at Frannz Club is sold out (and I didn't manage to get a ticket). But then I had understood that all the screenings at the Berlinale were sold out as well - however, yesterday I heard that people can still go and stand in line for tickets the day of. One of these days I'll figure out how things work around here...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tanzen and TED

Does time fly by even faster in Berlin or could it be because I'm still on New York time and therefore at least 6 hours behind everything? Okay, that makes no sense, anyway...

Last weekend, during my first 48 hours here, I was inspired to share two videos. With some delay, here they are.

The first video, "Hanas Tanz Team", I still needed to cut together, which I finally did yesterday - fittingly at the same amazing location on the Spree river where I shot it (although you don't see the river in the video) on Friday. Actually I was up until almost 5 this morning finishing it, which might explain the possible overuse of effects (a late night phenomenon). But maybe it perfectly captures the devil-may-care mood of the night (or the way the dancers looked to me through the wine curtain).

The song "Do That Again" is by beautiful Emma Van Hooven (recognize the singer from somewhere?). A big thanks to the fun dancers (Sophie, Rafi, Hana and Frankie) for letting me capture & share and for letting me dance along (Kinderdisco?) and, together with everyone else on Friday, for making my first night in the potential future home so welcoming and wonderful. Special thanks to Erik for driving me to town. And one more time: Happy Birthday, Hana!

Because of my slow connection here in Germany, the above flash version played majorly out of sync on my computer (now I understand why online video isn't as popular here yet). So below I also embedded the high quality Quicktime version, which I highly recommend for the in-sync experience. Just let it load in first.

By the way, there was no planning involved in this video. I was just taking pictures with my little Canon Elph snapshot camera while the others were dancing, next thing the first one jumped on the bench and then they all just "fell into place"... I thought it was a good omen for the Berlin chapter.

The evening also included another art opening with work by John von Bergen (a few weeks ago I attended his opening at Smack Mellon in Brooklyn - don't miss it!) and dinner and slip-sliding home across the ice... I get the sense I won't be bored here.  

Um... let's do that again, do that again...

Saturday I met my brother at the f6 Award, a talent award for musicians in the north eastern states. It was a long and rather chilly event, with surprise guest Polarkreis 18 (how fitting) and with the winner not being Berge, who was one of our favorites.

While observing the competition I thought about the TED Talk Video I had watched earlier that evening: "Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success". The ideas he shares in this video really speak to me and seemed appropriate in the light of the music award show and the Berlin Film Festival, which is starting here today (and to which I have yet to submit anything, so I don't feel rejected here, haha). He warns of the danger of us always comparing ourselves to others and assuming we could achieve the same success as they have and beating ourselves up when we don't. He makes some very interesting points about judging people and about career success vs. happiness.

The 2010 TED conference (bringing together people from the worlds of technology, entertainment and design and beyon) is going on in California right now - so watch for new videos full of information & inspiration soon - or catch up on old ones. You can subscribe to RSS feeds and a video podcast featuring a selection of archived "A Taste of TED Talks" (search via iTunes) or the full RSS feed "TED Talks", which offers new videos several times a week.

Monday, February 8, 2010

MusicMonday: Hefner & Jay-Z/Alicia Keys

Since getting hooked on Twitter, my favorite Twitter meme (a certain regularly scheduled subject/question/prompt that a lot of people share their input on) has been #MusicMonday: every Monday a gazillion people share via Twitter what song they currently like (mostly with a link to a video our clip) and (hash)tag it #MusicMonday.

I figured since I'm already doing it on Twitter, I might as well post them to the blog as well.

In an hour I will have been in Germany for exactly a week. After a few days with my family, I made it to Berlin where I'll be for the rest of the month; seeing old friends, making new connections, looking for clients/jobs and trying to figure out if we can make this city our home for an extended time.

In that context and maybe because I'm being especially sentimental or just feeling the backlash of an exciting weekend, the following two songs have been (rather appropriately) playing in my head for the last few days...

... an old favorite about old friends (Brent, buddy, this one is for you in particular, of course): "Don't Flake Out On Me" by Hefner

[Unfortunately, I couldn't find a video or an embedable song that would work in Germany - but you can listen to it in full on the link above]

... and a newer favorite about my big love, New York City: "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Finished! Well, almost...

After an intense few weeks of locking picture, getting the cut to the sound editor/mixer, reshooting some titles, reshooting some titles again, experimenting with codecs and uprezzing and exports, testing aspect ratios (deciding to go with 4:3 regular over all 16:9 or uprez options), collecting all credits and music info, getting some new last-minute music, and finally a mad dash 4-day marathon where days blended into nights or the other way around and all with the help of my amazing husband, Scott, I'm very proud to announce: we burnt the final DVD this morning and All's Well and Fair is finished!!!

Well, sort of. The documentary still needs the final sound mix and color correction pass. But for sound the film is in the trusted hands of sound man Tom Lino, who already designed and mixed the sound for All God's Children and Scott will take care of the color correction.

It's just a matter of time and I can finally show you this labor of love...

Thank you to everyone who helped get this film together - but especially to Scott!

Scott outside in the cold re-shooting some of the titles while I got to write them inside the warm house.