Thursday, September 30, 2010

Knitspot Videos

A while back I already posted a short write-up about my friend Anne Hanson's blog: Knitspot. Anne not only designs and creates the most beautiful feather-light seeming knitted items, she also writes this very personal and entertaining blog about her knitting, her gardening and the people she meets along the way - with lots of photos rounding out her very popular website.

What's new now is that her husband David Whitfield is producing short videos about Anne's fabulous creations. When I met Anne and David we all worked in graphic design (in a former life or parallel universe or something) - so it's not surprising that David has a great eye for composition. Apparently he also has a good sense for editing and music. And of course, Anne makes a great model.

Here is the latest video, called "Pea Vines Designed by Anne Hanson".

You can watch all the videos on the YouTube Knitspot channel.

Oh, and yes, you can purchase the design patterns - so that you can recreate any of the clothes and accessories.

Monday, September 27, 2010

MusicMonday: Fol Chen and Miss Kittin

While I impatiently wait for the online premiere of a certain video by an artist who plays beautiful analog music, I'll share some current favorites of the electronic persuasion: new music by Fol Chen from the US and some classics by Miss Kittin from France. And I'm not saying that these songs represent my emotional state of recent times.

"In Ruins"* by Fol Chen

The song above seems especially timely because I was recently reminded of it again when my friend Robert (visiting from Mainz) brought me a German sampler that included this song - and because Marisa and Nuno recently introduced me to the concept of projection mapping (projecting precisely calculated images onto other surfaces, bringing them to life or creating new shapes, including 3D)

"Barefoot Tonight" by Miss Kittin

* For a fun alternate version:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Graffiti Factory - In A Berlin Minute (Week 21)

Apparently Berlin has several abandoned factories covered in grafitti that also allow beautiful views of the city- when you sneak inside...

The factory featured in my 21st weekly video from Berlin is the first one I have explored. It's on Köpenicker Strasse, west of Kiki Blofeld (not to be mixed up with the Graffiti-covered ice factory on the east side).

Btw, right now I'm a bit frustrated with all this buzzing on diagonal lines in the videos. Not sure if a different codec or camera setting would help. Does anyone have any ideas? I'm shooting in AVCHD Lite on the Panasonic TZ10. And yes, I'd love to shoot on a Canon 5D - but unfortunately it doesn't fit into my pocket or my budget.

Graffiti Factory before it became Kater Holzig (Berlin)

Monday, September 20, 2010

MusicMonday: Nils Koppruch - Kirschen (Wenn Der Sommer Kommt)

Nils Koppruch, a visual artist and the singer of the Hamburg band Fink*, just released an excellent second solo album: Caruso

The song "Kirschen (Wenn Der Sommer Kommt)" [Cherries - When The Summer Comes] makes me quite happy. Lyrics and melody spread that feeling of "enjoy the good things as they come - especially since they are limited". Probably the best attitude in life. 

Nils Koppruch will be playing at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg on the 25th. But it looks like work will keep me in Berlin this weekend. More on the work when it's finished... 

*not to be mixed up with the British singer called Fink

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Berlin Festival 2010 - In A Berlin Minute (Week 20)

This past weekend the annual Berlin Festival, 2 days of music, took place in the hangars of the former airport Tempelhof. In the words of James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem): "I was there."

Even though there were some security concerns and the first day ended early, certain acts were cancelled and the second day's schedule changed, I personally had a wonderful time. Not only did I manage to get into all the shows I wanted to see (except I couldn't stay for Peaches and Hot Chip on Sunday) and got to see some great performances, it was just wonderful to spend two days with friends (including Erica visiting from Brooklyn) on a big musical playing field.

What helped make our experience so great is that our group picked the big disco ball as a designated meeting spot for whenever - so everyone could run off to see the bands and DJs of their choice and always re-connect with the others later on.

My favorite shows were definitely LCD Soundsystem (the main reason I wanted to attend),  Junip (beautiful), Robyn (that girl's got energy!) and Lali Puna (charming surprise).

Others featured in the one-minute video: Editors, Caribou, Erol Alkan, Jesus Zola, Gang of Four, Soulwax - and people not dancing so silently to Justice.

Berlin Tempelhof

Monday, September 13, 2010

MusicMonday: Junip - "Rope and Summit" (+ "Always")

Erica, this song is for you! Miss you already!

The performance of Swede José González with his new band Junip at this weekend's Berlin Festival was an absolute highlight* for me - and for my friend Erica Stoltz (Lost Goat, Dirty Excuse) visiting from Brooklyn.

The song "Rope and Summit" had been available as a free download - so we listened to it all weekend. The album Fields came out in Germany on Friday and is out in the US tomorrow. You can stream Fields on NPR.

And for good measure, here is the first official full video for the band, directed by Andreas Nilsson:

"Always" by Junip

* I'll be sharing a few other highlights later... 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Haseldorfer Marsch - In A Berlin Minute (Week 19)

Haseldorfer Marsch - In A Berlin Minute - Week 19 from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Waaay out in the country - this is where I grew up: Haseldorfer Marsch. Quite a contrast to New York City and Berlin! But actually this beautiful patch of Northern German country side, where the Pinnau river flows into the Elbe river, is not far from the city Hamburg.

Because Hamburg is only 1 1/2 hours away from Berlin on the ICE train, I was able to make a spontaneous trip out there this weekend to shoot footage for a bigger project (more about that another day).

Fortunately the weather was gorgeous and I could take some time to capture a few clips to share with you.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Theodor Fontane - "Effi Briest"

Effi Briest (Penguin Classics)Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well... I admit it, I thought reading it was a bit boring since not much happens. Even when huge events take place in the protagonists' lives, the author only shares the before and after, but not the actual event. Thinking of books like Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary that deal with similar subjects in a much more exciting, immediate and heartbreaking manner, Effi Briest got rather frustrating at times.

BUT there is a reason why this book is considered such a staple of German literature. Exactly through these methods it does a great job capturing how distant the characters are from real passion, how they put society and morals above happiness and experience - and how they all seem to be drawn towards their negative fate without any power or control to change anything. That is heartbreaking and can certainly be read as a warning even in our days.

Monday, September 6, 2010

MusicMonday: The Postelles - "White Night"

Looks like Brooklyn in the winter. Sounds like Liverpool (and Hamburg) and New York. Feels like youth with its fun and complications and hardship - not to mention the excess. And "cause it's a long way down in New York City"!

Of course, I REALLY like that the video directed by Max Lanman includes credits for (some of?) the film crew.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Street Art 2010 - In A Berlin Minute (Week 18)

I love the street art in Berlin - graffiti, murals, stencils, slogans, stickers, poster-sized prints and my favorites: prints that have been cut out to match the shape of the image - especially the life-sized ones. I don't know if there's a term for that.

I also don't know who the artists are. That's one of the things that most amazes me about these art forms: if you're just a casual observer you have no clue who is creating this art. And it seems utterly non-commercial since the viewer doesn't pay to see or take home the art. So essentially the work seems to be driven by neither by the search for fame nor fortune.

But then of course, within the respective scenes people do know each other. And if you think of artists like Banksy or Obey (aka Shepard Fairey), you know they're making money. And then there is the site deviantART where you can purchase beautiful pieces of street art.

I still like it best on the walls and sidewalks of the cities - Berlin, New York, Hamburg, London... And when I say street art, I don't mean lame tags or the annoying subway window scratchiti. On that note: is the reason for the Brandenburger Tor images on Berlin subway windows to discourage people from scratching the glass?

My favorites in the video are the print featuring Sophie Scholl (an image I've had a postcard since I was a teenager) and the rabbit behind the bush. 

Of course, I only captured the tiniest sliver of what street art is currently to be found in Berlin. I'm tempted to make another video down the line when I've collected more...

And last but not least: a big shout out to Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions who allowed me to use his song "Space". I wish I could give credit to the visual artists featured - please share if you know any of them.

Sophie Scholl Street Art

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Character Animator and Designer Andreas Rohde

As I've mentioned in my post about Porkfish, I've been meeting a lot of inspiring, creative and good hard-working people since relocating to Berlin - people whose work I'd like to share with you if possible.

 Andreas Rohde: Illustration for Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung

I met Andreas Rohde through friends during the World Cup Semi-Finals match Germany - Spain. As you might recall the German team had an amazing winning streak (with only one blemish), were favored to win the Cup and (when wearing their black uniforms) were endearingly referred to as soccer assassins by some (and quite different things by others). Although that night Germany suddenly lost the match and thus their chance at winning the World Cup and putting a damper on the German summer, I try not to blame Andreas for it.

Instead I'd like to focus on the fact that he's such a likable and cheery fellow and a very talented artist. Andreas Rohde designs and creates illustrations and animations both in 2D and 3D and has been working internationally on CD-roms, TV and films. The first time I saw his reel and discovered his drawings, I was super impressed. I'm so in awe of people's natural talent.

Check out his 2010 show reel below and visit his website for more samples of his illustrations and animations.