Friday, April 29, 2011

Tschüß Mitte - In A Berlin Minute (Week 52)

After 52 weeks (one entire year!) it's time to say goodbye again - but not quite yet to all of Berlin (although it was a close call). We've decided to stay on a little longer and are just changing neighborhoods again. So the 52nd weekly video is dedicated the geographic heart of Berlin: Mitte.

To be precise it's a personal view of Mitte, featuring spots that are meaningful to me (and not all fit):
Rosenthaler Platz and Scott and Sankt Oberholz and Rosenthaler Grill
Plattenbauten and Squat and new buildings on Linienstrasse (and Kleine Rosenthaler Strasse)
Alias street art on Brunnenstrasse
Alexanderplatz with Weltzeituhr and TV Tower
Cheesecake at Kaffee Mitte
Wei Wei and other street art on Alte Schönhauser Allee (across from Good Morning, Veitnam)
Weinmeisterstrasse Haus
Elke Holzapfel and Mandy Witt at Soma
Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit at CO Berlin on Oranienstrasse
Tacheles with Polizei and Scott Solary and John Jasek

Robert Mapplethorp exhibit at CO Berlin
And last but not least "The Beach" on the Spree across from Museumsinsel where we've had many sunset beers and will hopeful bid farewell to Marisa Baptista tonight before she moves back to Portugal tomorrow.

Oh, "what a difference a year makes" or "Kinder, wie die Zeit vergeht".

And the amazing song you've heard in this video and also in the "Ciao Kreuzberg" episode (Week 14) is the still unreleased track "Berlin - New York" by Ralf Zwiebel (of Radiopilot and All Button In).

Monday, April 25, 2011

MusicMonday: "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N." - Noah and the Whale

It seems that a song like "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N." by British band Noah and the Whale always seems fitting - maybe some days a little more than others. I certainly can imagine that it will find its way on several encouraging mix tapes soon.

This song is kind of making my day right now - as we figure out where exactly we'll live after this week and what may happen next...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

David Sedaris' Easter Story...

... or "The Rabbit of Easter and The Easter Bell"

Easter is my favorite holiday because I love spring and chocolate and being with family + friends, because it's often around my birthday and it's the time to listen to one of my favorite stories by David Sedaris, an American writer who we were lucky to recently see read in Berlin - wearing bunny ears: 

David Sedaris and Gerd Köster at Babylon, Berlin (March 2011)

The Easter story is called "Jesus Shaves" and is included on the CD Crimes and Crossed Wires, a collection of stories from This American Life (my favorite radio show - hosted by Ira Glass on NPR) and in the David Sedaris book Holiday on Ice.



Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Market - In A Berlin Minute (Week 51)

It's that wonderful time of the year: Easter, Passover, Spring Rites... however you celebrate this time of renewal and rebirth... and it's also my birthday. So I'll keep it short.

On Alexanderplatz there is currently an Easter Market, which is like a Christmas Market with less snow. I filmed it for you. The music is by my friend Jason Matherne (Goonygoogoo Productions) and is called "Clown Face".

Now please go outside and enjoy the beautiful spring!

Frohe Ostern!

Happy Easter

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shortcutz Berlin

Shortcutz Berlin - Session 12

Shortcutz Berlin is a weekly short film screening series held at Roderich, a cool theater - video rental - cafe in Kreuzberg. The event was initiated by the Portugese Labz, which also started Shortcutz screenings in Lisbon and London - creating a unique international film network.

Every Thursday two new short films will be shown as part of a best-film-of-the-month competition. A third film is shown out-of-competition and a guest speaker talks about their film work. In general the idea is not only to watch films but also to have a strong interaction and meeting place between filmmakers and film viewers.

This week I've been invited to show a few of my "In A Berlin Minute" videos. 

I'm really excited about the opportunity to share the videos that started online with a real life audience, to see their reactions and to watch the videos on a big screen. It's quite odd to have started out more or less anonymously online and then now sharing with a live audience. 

On a side-note: at midnight will be my birthday - and I can't imagine doing anything better on my birthday than sharing my work. 

Glogauer Straße 19
10999 Berlin Kreuzberg

20 Uhr - 8pm
Free to get in
Screenings are in the basement

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flash Mob - Die In - In A Berlin Minute (Week 50)

Flash Mob - Die In - In A Berlin Minute (Week 50) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

On April 12th at 6:30pm a German-wide flash Mob called "Die In - Fukushima Wahnt!" took place.

Flashmob is an unusual and often pointless-seeming activity that is done by a group of people in a public place. This particular flash mob isn't supposed to seem pointless though. Exactly four weeks after the earthquake caused the nuclear catastrophe at the Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan, this group activity is supposed to make a point: Fukushima is a warning - let's turn off all nuclear power plants.

April 12th also turned out to be the day that, after another big aftershock, the category of the nuclear disaster was changed from 5 to 7, which was the rating for Chernobyl.

Apparently initiated by Castor TV, people all over Germany laid down (as if dead) at 6:30pm and remained on the ground for 3 minutes with a radioactivity sign attached to their body.

More videos from the various flash mobs can be seen on the Fukushima Mahnt Facebook page.

The music in this video is from Soundtrack Pro.

The attentive viewer may have noticed that I broke a rule with this video: I had Scott shoot a bit of footage with another camera (bird's eye view). Thank you, Scott!

For the overly curious: the close up is of my BFF Erik. Thank you, Erik, for laying down on the dirty ground - against nuclear power and for my camera.

Anti-Nuclear Protest at Alexanderplatz on 12.04.2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Paths To Zero" - Eliminating Nuclear Weapons In The 21st Century

Almost exactly a year ago I finished editing a video for the Federation of American Scientists: Paths To Zero: Eliminating Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century.

Last May the 44-minute documentary screened at the United Nations. The video, narrated by Dr. Ivan Oelrich, focuses on the history of the nuclear weapon, explains the development of the arms race and suggests a strategy toward eliminating nuclear weapons.

Today the dangers of nuclear power are on everyone's mind again due to the Fukushima disaster. I thought it would be a good time to share this very informational video with you (again).

In a post last year I embedded the full version. Here now are the five individual segments:

History: Beginnings of the Nuclear Age and the Nuclear Buildup





More information about FAS and ways to support their cause:

Monday, April 11, 2011

MusicMonday: "T-Shirt Weather" - The Lucksmiths

Unfortunately there's no video for this song, so I went with an amateur live recording that doesn't look great - but the sound is pretty decent. Also, the first two lines are cut-off (so I'm adding complete lyrics below).

It just had to be this song for this Monday after such a beautiful weekend in Northern Germany.

Happy Spring, Everyone!

"T-Shirt Weather" by the (now defunct) Australian band The Lucksmiths.

Hey Mike, you busy?
All this sunshine’s making me dizzy
Went outside, all my clothes dried
And if I’m babbling, please forgive me
But it’s the first hint of sunshine
For a week or so, I’d say
And I’m keeping well, I’m in good health
But I sneeze when I look into the sun today

There’s my bike looking dusty
The spokes are broken and rusty
But I’m happy to walk
I’m happy with anything today
‘Cause I’m out in the sunshine
While my friend’s at home asleep
I guess that’s just the downside
To the money he makes and the hours he keeps

And I say hey, it’s a beautiful day
And I’m starting to feel a lot better
So wake up, wake up
It’s T-shirt weather

Ba-ba-ba how could things be better?
This afternoon in the pub I met her
Maggie May on the juke-box
Hey, things are okay
“Just two things” she tells me,
“If you want to keep things friendly –
no beer for me, no peanuts, and I’ll be happy…
oh, and no football, well I guess that makes three”

It’s a beautiful day
And I’m starting to feel a lot better
So wake up, wake up
It’s T-shirt weather
It’s T-shirt weather

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Blooms - In A Berlin Minute (Week 49)

Spring has sprung in Berlin. There are colorful blooms and freshly green leaves popping up everywhere. Can you help me name all the blooms and blossoms?

This must be my favorite time of the year (although I have some fondness for summer and autumn as well). The sun comes out, the earth comes back to life, the spirit lifts, the heart sings - everyone is full of hope for new beginnings, rebirth and the satisfaction that we somehow have survived another winter.

It reminds me of a Brooklyn neighbor years ago, whom I saw for the first time after months of winter when we both ran out into our backyards on the first spring-like day and she exclaimed: "Ah, it's good to know it wasn't depression after all - it was just winter."

Also I have to think about a recent Twitter conversation with Franc Tausch of FilmKritikTV who lives in LA and, like all people living in "year-round-great-weather", must miss out on the sudden joy over this drastic change in weather and atmosphere. Okay, it's only a little consolation - I'd be very happy to live in the Southern California climate, if it wasn't for all the driving and the suburban feel.

On a more serious note, the fresh cherry blossoms also make me think of Japan, where they are probably in full bloom now as well. I'm afraid they may be in a cruel juxtaposition to the devastation, the lives lost and the uncertain future in many areas, especially Fukushima. But maybe they also bring hope to people: as a symbol of that new beginning and rebirth.

The music featured is the song "Elevator" by Jason Matherne.

Crocus Field in Humboldthain Park

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Where To Watch "In A Berlin Minute"

My weekly one-minute video series In A Berlin Minute gets most of its views on YouTube. That's where in recent months I've been most active in the community and therefore get the most response, which has made a huge difference in staying motivated and inspired. 

But it's not the only place you can watch these short videos every week - and it may not be the method that works best. 

So I thought it'd be helpful to give an overview of where you can be first to watch the latest episode every Friday or where it can leisurely wait for you until you're ready to watch. 
  1. My blog:
    Here I embed all videos and include links to further information. And occassionally share other recommendations and thoughts. 
    - I recommend adding your email address to the box on the top right, so that you get all posts automatically in your emailed to you.
    - You can subscribe to the RSS feed of this Blog by adding this url to your preferred RSS reader - or (if you see it) by clicking on the RSS symbol towards the top of your browser.
    - If you want to watch old episodes, search by title or keyword in the search box at the top right or click on the category "In a Berlin Minute" on the ride and look around.

  2. YouTube:
    Best place to see what other people are thinking and an easy way to leave me a nice comment.
    - If you have a YouTube account you can subscribe and even choose to receive an email when there's a new episode available.
    - If you watch on YouTube I might even make a little bit of money (especially if you click on an ad).
    - You choose the picture quality of the video (I recommend 720p), which makes this friendly for all Internet connections.

  3. iTunes:
    This would be the method to get the highest quality video with the least amount of effort: each episode will automatically show up in your iTunes (or other podcast software) as soon as its released. Honestly it would be really great if some people would do that and maybe even rate the show or go as far as writing a review...
    - In the iTunes store just search for "In A Berlin Minute" and then subscribe.
    - Or click on the link above.
    - Please don't be discouraged that it says the episodes are 6:04 minutes long. They're not - according to it's an error caused by meta data. Whatever that means.
    - Two catches: no links in the descriptions and no bonus clips.

  4. Blip:
    All episodes, including descriptive text with all links are first uploaded to blip, from where they get distributed to all other platforms.
    - The quality on blip is great, but requires broadband.
    - All videos have a pre-roll ad. Sitting through that might one day lead for me to make enough revenue to receive a check. Probably not.
    - On you can discover many great web series.
    - No subscription, you have to visit at your leisure.

  5. Facebook:
    - If you "like" the Facebook page, you'll see the new videos come up in your Facebook feed.
    - Great place to see what others think and interact and easily share via Facebook.
    - I'm adding additional content, like photos.

  6. Vimeo:
    Good quality of videos in general and a community element - but no way to subscribe or be notified: visit at your own leisure.

  7. Twitter:
    Okay, Twitter isn't really the best place for you to watch the videos. But I do share a link to each video as soon as it's available. So if you use Twitter, you may be the first to know. And the YouTube links now are actually viewable directly in Twitter.

  8. Vodpod:
    This is actually a great way to watch, collect and share videos - however, I'm not very active there. But my videos are all there. So if you use Vodpod, please check out my videos there.
If you want to help me share my videos, please share this post or any video via Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Google Buzz... or any social network of your choice.

Please know I appreciate every view and every comment (um, okay, every nice comment, I admit it). I know this project isn't saving lives and it's not helping pay for my cost-of-living, but through your viewership and response it has moved beyond "just a weekly 60-second moving postcard to my friends and family around the world".

Thank you for making me think I make something worth watching. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

MusicMonday: Favorite Songs of 1st 1/4 of 2011

Can't fight time - a quarter of 2011 is already over. 
But you can sweeten everything with a little bit of music. Here are some of my favorite songs from the first 3 months of the year. 

Breaker, Breaker  -  Peter Bjorn and John

Four Letter Word  -  Beady Eye
Under Cover Of Darkness  -  The Strokes
Bigger Than Us  -  White Lies
Satellite  -  The Kills
Shot Yourself In The Foot Again  -  Skream & Example
Second Chance  -  Peter Bjorn and John
Smarter  -  Eisley
Chapter 2  -  The Joy Formidable

ÜBerlin  -  R.E.M.
Shell Games  -  Bright Eyes
This Is Why We Fight  -  The Decemberists
Sunny Adventure  -  Best Coast

No Harm  -  The Boxer Rebellion
Helplessness Blues  -  Fleet Foxes
June Hymn  -  The Decemberists
Damn These Vampires  -  The Mountain Goats
Song That Sorrow Sings  -  The Sand Band
Someone Like You  -  Adele

Friday, April 1, 2011

Crosstown Train - In A Berlin Minute (Week 48)

Alexanderplatz seen from the S-Bahn
Back by popular demand: another trip through the heart of Berlin. 

When I realized how many of you liked the "transportation videos" (the videos that show you the world whisk by outside the window of a bus or train), I thought I'll make another one for you: "Crosstown Train - S-Bahn durch Mitte" (and yes, I know the train doesn't just go through the neighborhood "Mitte".

This week my friend Julia and I took the S-Bahn (elevated train) from East (Jannowitzbrücke) to West (Zoologischer Garten or "Bahnhof Zoo") through the center of Berlin and back again - passing by some of the major sights in Berlin: Fernsehturm (TV Tower), Alexa, Alexanderplatz, Hackescher Markt, Museumsinsel, Berliner Dom, Friedrichstrasse, Reichstag, government buildings, Hauptbahnhof, Siegessäule, Tiergarten, Bahnhof Zoo and lots and lots of buildings.

To make sure I don't miss anything, I made the entire round trip again, this time looking out of the other window. 

The actual one-minute video (even though it's at 7x speed), of course, only shows a fraction of the trip - and only the perspective of the right window (going west, then going back east).

So if you have 9 minutes, I highly recommend watching the full bonus clip for this week, which shows both directions from both perspectives (right and then left window) - and is also not quite as fast.

The wonderful music again is from Jason Matherne. The featured song in the one-minute video is called "Half Boy Half Girl". You can listen to a large catalog of his music on his Goonygoogoo Productions page on Facebook.

While we're at it "In A Berlin Minute" is on Facebook as well - so please "like it":