Friday, July 29, 2011

Sanssouci - In A Berlin Minute (Week 65)

Sanssouci Park is a vast park in Potsdam, just outside of Berlin. It contains several castles, most famously Sanssouci Castle (Schloss Sanssouci) - the summer residence of Frederick the Great (aka Friedrich der Grosse), the king of Prussia in the late 1700s.

Sans souci is French and means without worry. Sanssouci is a World Heritage Site in 1990 under the protection of UNESCO.

My friend Judith's family was visiting and they took Scott and me on this wonderful trip out of the city on the only truly beautiful day this week (it's been raining mostly since then again). So it didn't even cross our minds to go inside any of the castles.

Instead I'd like to share with you the outside views of:
Schloss Sanssouci (Sanssouci Palace)
Orangerie (Orangery Palace or New Orangery)
Chinesisches Haus (Chinese House)
Neues Palais (New Palace)
... and many statues... 

Because we came into the park from the (wrong) side of the Potsdam University we happened across the statue repair shop, which was one of the highlights for me.

There are many more buildings and statues and plants to see. So I hope I can visit again another time - and I highly recommend a trip out there to Potsdam not only for this park.

The music is an excerpt from Clarinet Concert - 3rd Rondo - Allegro. Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Performed by Merkur Orchester Wiener Neustadt, conducted by Willibald Zwittkovits with Markus Krumpöck on the clarinet. The performance is under Creative Commons license.

Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam

Monday, July 25, 2011

Music Monday: Amy Winehouse (+ M.I.A.)

Amy Winehouse (

 "What kind of fuckery is this?"
- "Me and Mr. Jones", Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was an obvious choice for today's videos.

I very much adore the music of Amy Winehouse, who died on Saturday at age 27 and thus sadly joined the 27 Club of amazing musicians who all died at age 27 (most famously Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison).

It's heart-breaking to think how sad her life must have been battling addiction and continuously hiding behind drugs and alcohol. So many of us wanted to continue to celebrate her, be inspired creatively, work with her and cherish the new music she could have given the world if she had only lived.

Instead we're left with a much too small catalog with songs from this gifted singer and songwriter. But she certainly left her mark on this world and opened up many people to a different genre of music. And maybe, just maybe some people can take this sad death as a warning to choose a healthier life.


I stay up clean the house
At least I'm not drinking
Run around just so I don't have to think about thinking
That silent sense of content
That everyone gets
Just disappears soon as the sun sets
- "Wake Up Alone", Amy Winehouse

RIP Amy - We had been rooting for you!


Here are a few of my favorite songs performed by her.

"Valerie" - live

I would also have liked to share "Back To Black" - but the ridiculous powers that be have it completely blocked on all video sites in Germany except for some terrible live versions. If you live in the free (music) world, you'll be able to find it on YouTube and DailyMotion.

Yesterday M.I.A. released a song called 27, which she had apparently recorded last year already - but waited to release until now. Download it here.

27 by _M_I_A_

Friday, July 22, 2011

Instagram (NYC) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 64)

Instagram is a free photo and social network app for the iPhone. I tried to resist (I'm already an obsessive photographer and over-sharer)... but three weeks ago I broke down and now I'm hooked.

Before I collect even more photos, here are a few favorites from my last few weeks in New York City.

After taking a photo with your iPhone (directly with or via another iPhone app like Camera+), you can then add a filter (oh the labor of choosing), title, geotag, peopletag and hashtag it, then share it via, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Facebook - even attach it to your foursquare check-in.

Of course, it's not just about your own photos. also functions as an artsy social network where you can view, heart and comment on other people's photos... and make new creative friends.

It's unfortunate that this app doesn't seem to work for other phones yet and that you can't view the stream or albums on the web yet. But I wouldn't be surprised if that's in the works.

By the way, the images of the beat-up car show all the filter options available within Instagram - but it seems to not be uncommon to use filters within other apps.

Sky over Brooklyn via Instagram
Connect with me on instagram: luciwest
Connect with me on Flickr: luciwest
Connect with me on Twitter: luciwest
Connect with me on Facebook: InABerlinMinute

And yes, I'm on Google+ as well. Try and find me ;-)


The background song is "Storm Comin' Round" by Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Music Monday: "Planking" - The Planksters

I just got back to Berlin from New York a few hours ago - so I'm a bit jet-laggy, hungry and, let's face it: a little cranky.

So I'll make this a super quick Music Monday post - one that might not only remind me of all my fun friends here but also replace the crankiness with silliness... or inspire me to take another long nap... 

Please let me introduce to you the full version of "The Planking Song" by the Berlin-based band The Plankers (it seems they'd prefer to remain anonymous at this time).

A one-minute version of this song was featured in "Planking" - In A Berlin Minute (Week 61).


We would appreciate any help getting these videos to go viral: so PLEASE spread this video on YouTube, Facebook, Google +, Twitter, StumpleUpon, Reddit, etc.

Throat Plank

Here are the lyrics:

Well it's been a rough day
And your boss is a jerk
But you're tired of always just drinking

Parkour is a thrill
So is base jumping
Isn't that all kind of life-threatening

You should do more sports
So they don't call you fat
Your belly doesn't show
When you're planking

When life's got you down
Go on laying around the town
Sometimes all you need to do
is go planking

Life's full of choices
And big contemplations
Sometimes it feels right
to be planking


You can do it anywhere
And in the end who really cares
You're just planking


Friday, July 15, 2011

Brooklyn Street Art - In A Berlin Minute (Week 63)

'Brooklyn Street Art - In A Berlin Minute (Week 63)' from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

The diversity of street art in Brooklyn is really impressive.

Over the last week I've collected images of so many amazing murals, graffiti, wheatpaste prints (pastings), stickers, stencils, tar dripping, tags, tags on stickers and even a few installations - there is no way I can do justice to all of them in one minute.

So in a few days time I will release a bonus video with more of what I've seen - although it clearly will still only be a sliver of what is out there.

Going on video safari with various friends and discovering these gems has been an absolute high light of my trip to New York.

I love what artists are doing to the city - by turning it into an art gallery and a place of awareness and discussion. Keep them coming!

Neighborhoods filmed in: Crown Heights, Park Slope, Gowanus / Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, Prospect Heights

Artists: Swoon, Shepard Fairey, ROA,...



The music is once again by Jason Matherne of GoonyGooGoo Productions. The song is called "Life of Crime".

Squirrel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn by ROA

Monday, July 11, 2011

Music Monday: "The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala" - Arctic Monkeys

Always love hearing the Arctic Monkeys.

Love seeing documentary-style music videos. Love the Super 8 or Super 16 aspect ratio. Not sure about the lady in the car situation. Always a bit bummed when the film-look ends up in a video that is in 16:9 (read: HD) format - but I've had to make that same decision in the past.

Hope you'll enjoy this little trip:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

4th of July in NYC - In A Berlin Minute (Week 62)

'4th of July in NYC - In A Berlin Minute (Week 62)' from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Monday was the "4th of July" (aka "Independence Day" and often somewhat sarcastically "America Day").

Last year we were in Berlin for Independence Day and I made my 10th weekly one-minute video about it (then still called "Germany New Yorker in Berlin").

My goal had been to find the ingredients that make up 4th of July - even if you're in a foreign country:
Outdoor Fun
Red, White and Blue

This year I was back stateside and got to celebrate with my friends in Brooklyn. So I though it'd be fun to show the same elements. Not so different, really. Except that I replaced Family with Friends - although my friends really are my family as well.

Thank you to EVERYONE who made this year's 4th so much fun, especially Ginger for hosting, Alex for grilling (and too much wine), Jess for her special dancing and decorating, Adele for delicious treats, Katie for everything, and Erica for "fireworks chasing" with me. Can you guess what she mouths out on the Red Hook pier?

Thank you to Jason Matherne for providing another great song for this: "Who Wrote This".

And thank you to New York City for being you.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Music Monday: "Independence Day" - Elliott Smith

A 4th of July / Independence Day Music Monday?

That's easy. Here is one of my favorite songs (there are many) by one of my favorite singers:
"Independence Day" by Elliott Smith - performed live in Olympia, Washington in July 1997.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Planking - In A Berlin Minute (Week 61)

Planking aka Lying Down Game aka Face Downs apparently has been around since 1997 - but has gained more popularity over the last two years in England and then Australia - and by now people are randomly planking just about anywhere.

Clothes Rack Plank
All it is: lying down with your front towards the ground, legs stretched out, arms by your side... and all that in a unique or public place - alone, with friends, with strangers... then have a picture taken, upload it online and name it.

Car Window Plank
I just couldn't resist to get my friends to plank around Berlin. Sure it seems silly and pointless and like parkour for lazy people - but we've had such great laughs. And once you start, you can't help but see Planking opportunities everywhere...

"Planking" - In A Berlin Minute (Week 61) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Needless to say I have quite few more pictures and will post an extended version very soon (and get the photos online and name them).

And there are still a few Planks we didn't get around to, like the Berliner Bär Plank and the Family Stack Plank...


Climbing Rock Plank
The featured song is called "Planking" and was exclusively written and performed for this video by The Plankers (= some of us).


Well it's been a rough day
And your boss is a jerk
But you're tired of always just drinking

Parkour is a thrill
So is base jumping
Isn't that all kind of life-threatening

When life's got you down
Go on lying around your town
Sometimes all you need to do is go planking


You can do it anywhere
And in the end who really cares
You're just planking


It should probably be noted that someone recently fell and died when doing a very risky plank while being intoxicated. That is very sad. But obviously the point is not to put yourself in a position where you or someone else could get hurt.