Monday, October 31, 2011

Music Monday: Favorite Songs of 3rd 1/4 of 2011

Little late, I know. But really, is anyone counting? 

Here are my favorite songs form the last few months as they fit on a CD, which I like to share with friends. As always, here is the song list with links where you can watch videos or maybe even get a download. 

Different this time, here's the mix tape's Spotify link : 2011 - 3rd 1/4  Very curious if that Spotify Link sharing works. If anyone tries, let me know if it works.

Ritual Union  -  Little Dragon

Let's Get Out Of Here  -  Les Savy Fav [True Blood] 
(very cool projection / skateboarding video!!!)
I'm A Goner  -   Matt & Kim (feat. Soulja Boy and Andrew W.K.)

Techno Fan  -  The Wombats

Morgens immer muede  -  Laing

Shuffle A Dream  -  Little Dragon

27  -  M.I.A.

What Can I Say?  -  The Pigeon Detectives

Tongue Tied  -  Grouplove
(reverse / backward video!)

Back In December  -  Kaiser Chiefs

Georgia -   Band Of Horses (feat. UGA Redcoat Marching Band)

Always On The Run  -  Yuksek

An Argument With Myself  -  Jens Lekman

She's Not There  -  Neko Case + Nick Cave [True Blood]

Born To Be Loved  -  Lucinda Williams

Home (Live on KBCO)  -  Mumford & Sons

Run Myself Into The Ground  -  Jessica Lea Mayfield

I'm Losing Myself  -  Robin Pecknold (Feat. Ed Droste)

Friday, October 28, 2011

California - In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 78)

One week in California.
Los Angeles: hiking in Griffith Park with James Israel, Lisa Goldfarb and John - camera shopping in West Hollywood with Christina Fiers and Franc Tausch (FilmKritikTV) - discovering random pieces of street art (Mr. Brainwash or isn't it really Banksy?) - relaxing in Manhattan Beach.

The road trip to Palm Springs for Nick Rufca and Paul Croce's wedding (the reason why I was in California), which was celebrated in style at the Ace Hotel with friends from film school Kelly Kall, Nicki LaRosa, Jamie M. Fox and many more.

Congratulations, Nick and Paul! 

All the other wonderful people I met and all the other great things we did couldn't fit into the one-minute video - so they're for us to know and relive through photos and shared memories in another place and time.

Music: Soundtrack Pro

Street art on La Brea by Mr. Brainwash (aka Banksy?)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Music Monday: Billy Bragg and Wilco - "California Stars"

Beatles Street Art on La Brea, LA - by Mr. Brainwash (or Banksy...)
today - October 24, 2011

In 15 minutes I'm heading to the airport to fly back to NYC from LA. So no time for a full blog post about this wonderful week in California with lots of old and new friends and not much sleep. 

Camera Boy Street Art on La Brea, LA
today - October 24, 2011

Here's today's song by Billy Bragg and Wilco: "California Stars" from one of my favorite albums of all time: Mermaid Avenue (all Billy Bragg + Wilco covers of songs written by Woody Guthrie, who used to live in Coney Island, Brooklyn).

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chicago (Art Show) - In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 77)

Chicago Art Show - In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 77) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

This week I was invited to show my "In A Berlin Minute" videos in Chicago - naturally I had to make a  "In A Brooklyn Minute" video about the experience.

Because I also wanted to show a little bit of Chicago it's a mix of city impressions and moments from setting up the show, the opening night and short glimpses of some of the art work. Please DO pause the video whenever you want to look at something for longer.

I wanted to take this opportunity to give special thanks to Pat McDonnell for originally asking if I would want to participate in the show, to Robyn Maitland and Phillip Schalekamp for organizing the event and including me, to Victoria and Phillip for hosting me.

An extra special thanks to Margaret Hicks for taking the two Pats and me on one of her amazing Chicago Elevated walking tours, which is how I got the more elevated shots of Chicago. I originally "met" Margaret together with her husband John through their awesome YouTube travel channel LostAndFoundTravel last year. It was amazing to finally meet them in person.

John and Margaret of LostAndFoundTravel "in Berlin"

Thanks to everyone who came to the show, especially Ryan Sarnowski, and Rich and Donna Darr!

Seeing the entire series of 70 (+1) weekly one-minute videos from Berlin projected in a room of very impressive art was incredible. I had never seen the videos as a body of work like this - nor had I shared equal space with art gallery artists. It gave me a different perspective of what I've put together.

The nice things that were said were, of course, more than appreciated.

It was wonderful to feel a sense of connection with the other artists. A definite highlight of this whole experience is that I've been able to reconnect with some people and have built new friendships with others. All people who are inspiring to me.

Extract; a multi-discipline, 2-day art event took place during the Chicago Artists Month and was presented by S3 Gallery, in conjunction with the Hive.

Featured artwork by:
Phillip Schalekamp | drawing |
Robyn Maitland | painting
Pat McDonnell | film / mixed media |
Brian O’Donnell | painting
Luci Westphal | film |
Sung Jang | drawing |
Nathan Mason | ceramics
John Joyce | architecture
Jason Brammer | mixed media / painting |
Kevin Lahvic | painting |

There is an open studio event at the space this Sunday.

S3 Gallery
1907 N. Mendell Street, Suite 4-H
Chicago, IL

Monday, October 17, 2011

Music Monday: "Chicago" - Sufjan Stevens

Chicago Skyline seen from S3 Studio

After four wonderful, inspiring, creative and exhausting days during which I met so many wonderful people, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, I am now back at the Chicago airport waiting for my flight to LA.

Participating in the Extract art event at the S3 Studio / Gallery was an incredible experience mostly because of the connection with people and discovering their works and passions - but also because of seeing my "In A Berlin Minute" in the context of a an art show screening (vs. online viewing or a film festival screening).

Chicago now has gained a new meaning in my life. With that in mind, today's Music Monday song is "Chicago" by Sufjan Stevens

Chicago Skyline seen from S3 Studio
(taken with Hipstamatic)

On a side note, the first time I went to New York I actually did arrive in a van with a friend and we did sleep in the van on the way.

"Chicago" (acoustic) - Sufjan Stevens 


"Chicago" (album version) - Sufjan Stevens 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Extract Art Event in Chicago

This weekend I'm honored to be part of a very special art exhibit in Chicago called Extract (presented by The Hive) - part of Chicago Artist Month. Pat McDonnell of Medicinebleu Films originally invited me to screen my "In A Berlin Minute" (70 Weeks - 70 Minutes) videos  in this cool artist loft / gallery together with a group of very impressive artists (including Pat, of course). 

I'm really grateful to all the awesome people organizing this and including me and my work: (Robyn Maitland, Phillip Schalekamp, Brandy Reinhart, Victoria Gunn - to name a few.

It will be a very unique experience to show the videos projected (without sound) within a space full of visual art - and thus trying out a life as purely visual art itself. Very different from the experience of watching individual videos online within a context of sound and written word. 

Testing projection of "In A Berlin Minute" videos for Extract art event

In another room the videos will be shown with sound and I'm also thinking of setting up a computer so that people can try out the live interactive online experience of choosing the video and commenting. 

I've been in Chicago less than 24 hours and it's been amazing to be thrown right into prepping the space for the show and working collaboratively with other creatives. Something I've been really missing while doing my one-woman video series. 
If you are in Chicago this weekend, PLEASE come by and say hello. If you're not, maybe you can participate in live commenting on the "In A Berlin Minute" YouTube channel... 

Here are the all important details:

EXTRACT: A 2-Day Multidiscipline Art Event

S3 Gallery
1907 N. Mendell Street, Suite 4-H
Chicago, IL

Saturday, October 15th from 6 to 10pm (Opening Reception)
Sunday, October 16th from 12 to 5pm (Daytime Event)

As part of Chicago Artists Month, S3 Gallery, in conjunction with the Hive, presents: Extract; a multi-discipline, 2-day art event exploring diverse aspects of the human experience.

Phillip Schalekamp | drawing |
Robyn Maitland | painting
Pat McDonnell | film / mixed media |
Brian O’Donnell | painting
Luci Westphal | film |
Sung Jang | drawing |
Nathan Mason | ceramics
John Joyce | architecture
Jason Brammer | mixed media / painting |
Kevin Lahvic | painting |

Located in East Bucktown near Elston & Cortland.

Occupy Wall Street - In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 76)

Occupy Wall Street Protesters in Soho
(Broadway at Houston, October 8, 2011)

Since September 17th a few hundred people have been occupying Zuccotti Park (aka Liberty Square), a square in the Financial District in Manhattan close to Wall Street - calling the action Occupy Wall Street.

In their own words (website): Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants. 

During the day the numbers swell to the thousands, depending on what protests or activities are taking place. At night when it comes to sleeping on air beds and sleeping bags, the numbers dwindle some.

By now the movement has spread across the country and the globe under the name Occupy Together.

Over the last few weeks, I've stopped by and participated a few times. I've published several longer videos already on my luciwest channel.

This video is a quick 1-minute collection of some impressions, including footage from the march from Foley Square on October 5th, the occupation of Washington Square and the march through Soho. For the video I did not include any of the night time footage or anything from the No Comment art show. You can watch those videos at

There are lots of activities planned for tomorrow October 15th around the world. Come and join and say: Enough Is Enough! 

Police Woman watching Gawkers Watching Protesters in Soho
(Broadway at Houston, October 8, 2011)

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: The entire 70-minute "In A Berlin Minute" series will be screening at the Extract art show in Chicago this weekend. I'll be there. So if you're in Chicago come on by and say hi.

S3 Gallery
1907 N. Mendell Street, Suite 4-H
Chicago, IL

Saturday, October 15th from 6 to 10pm (Opening Reception)
Sunday, October 16th from 12 to 5pm (Daytime Event)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New videos from Occupy Wall Street (October 8)

Occupy Wall Street - No Comment Art Show Opening

There are two more videos I shot and roughly assembled and uploaded to YouTube.

Both are from October 8th.

The first one shows the General Assembly (with the prominent people's microphone) at Washington Square Park and then the protest march along Broadway through Greenwich Village, Soho, Chinatown and the Financial District back to Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park).

The second one shows the art event No Comment which was originally only planned for one night, but which continues this week at 23 Wall Street. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Music Monday: "A Change Is Gonna Come" - Sam Cooke

Anonymous: Justice is coming
March from Washington Square to Liberty Square (October 8)

In the spirit of these days of Occupy Together in all its different places, the song on my mind is "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke

I'm fully aware that this song was about a different change - racial equality in the US. But the song is sadly timeless and the spirit resonates especially at this time.


If you're looking for more Occupy Wall Street - related music, check out this interesting NPR blog post by Ann Powers and the two great playlists she recommends:

More photos from Occupy Wall Street (October 8)

Always a beautiful sight: Veteran For Peace
Washington Square Park

Last night I uploaded quite a few more photos from October 8, the 22nd day of Occupy Wall Street

Marching through Soho
Corner of Houston and Broadway

The photos are from the occupation of Washington Square Park, the march through Greenwhich Village, Soho, Chinatown and the Financial District back to Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) and from the No Comment art show at 23 Wall Street. 

Police officer watching watchers watching demonstrators... THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING!

Photographing signs marching through Soho

These are just a few photos. You can look at my entire OWS album on Flickr

NYPD making YouTube videos...

I've also shot a lot of video footage and will try to have that assembled and publish the videos online as soon as possible. 

NYPD watching Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) from across the street

The words that caught me the strongest from the march: "We are the 99%. And so are you." and "This is what democracy looks like." 

Having seen uncountable demonstrations in Germany over the years, I am so glad that the Americans are taking a stand and voicing their opinion more now as well!

Street art style piece at No Comment art show

Friday, October 7, 2011

Water Taxi to Brooklyn Bridge - In A Brooklyn Minute

Luci, Ove, Judith, Derrick, Scott

This week's video was supposed to be about the special meeting with my German friends Tobias and Ove on the Brooklyn Bridge every 11 years. But things turned out a little differently than planned...

At first it was just my German high school friends Tobias and Ove standing on the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time in their lives in 1989. In 2000 Ove and I (and Scott) were living in New York and Tobe came for a visit. We walked onto the Brooklyn Bridge and vowed: let's do this again in 11 years. A tradition was born.

By now Tobe lives in Portland, Oregon and Ove has long moved back to Hamburg. The guys flew in from different sides of the globe just for this weekend. By chance, Judith was visiting from Berlin (via Arizona) and of course, Scott and I moved back just in time.

We took the free (Ikea) water taxi from Red Hook in Brooklyn to Wall Street in Manhattan and then walked up to the Brooklyn Bridge - only to be stopped by the NYPD who had just closed the bridge after having arrested 700 people attempting to cross the bridge as part of a Occupy Wall Street / We Are the 99 Percent protest.

After 11 years of planning and flights from all over the world... just "No. You can't. The bridge is closed!"

So we did the next logical thing and brought to live a new tradition: to meet at the Lower East Side bar Welcome to the Johnson's every 2 years and drink PBRs (Pabst Blue Ribbon). That is where Judith, Hana and I happened to go when we first met in 2009.

And then finally, a few hours later, we made a second attempt and made it onto the Brooklyn Bridge (despite a really mean cold wind at that time, which also explains Scott's borrowed bright-yellow jacket). We stopped for a few photos, a chat with random fellow-bridge crosser Derrick and a vow to meet here again in 2022. Then we walked across and back home to Brooklyn.

Tobe photographing the Brooklyn Bridge

The only unfortunate thing: the night time conditions and footage weren't what I had planned to get during the day. Fortunately I had already gotten some shots on the boat and from the protest. 

In case you noticed: yes, I did use a different camera for this (Canon PowerShot Elph). My beloved Panasonic Lumix TZ10 is broken. It cannot be fixed by Panasonic in the US. In NY I could only purchase the American version (ZS10) - which only shoots in NTSC, not PAL - so it doesn't look (or act) the same and I'm very heartbroken about it right now.

'Occupy Wall Street' and 'We are the 99 Percent' and my hope...

Zuccotti Park

On October 5th, I joined tens of thousands of people and went to the financial district of Manhattan to say "enough is enough".

I was also there to record video and take photos. Friends from outside of New York have been asking me what's going on. This is my way to help spread the message and the facts as I saw them. The videos are pretty much unedited... make up your own mind.

As part of my weekly 1-minute series "In A Brooklyn Minute", I may cut together a more streamlined video for a future episode.

You can see more photos in my OWS Flicker album

Max records in 3D!

The following are some background and personal thoughts about what is going on.

A few years ago (vaguely around the time of the economic collapse, Obama election and WTO protests in, I think, Miami) there was an interview on NPR, I like to often quote to people - yet never managed to figure out who it was with. The expert told the interviewer (Brian Lehrer?) that there would be a time when capitalism ends and it would be replaced by a different system. The interviewer seemed as surprised as me: an end to capitalism? Isn't this the ultimate system, the one that is human nature and Darwinism and naturally evolved? The expert referred to all the other systems and times when people thought: this is the natural system and order of things (feudalism, colonialism, etc.). They were all replaced by something else.

Well, what will the new system be? He didn't know. He said, no one had figured it out yet. But the people getting the closest are the Anti-WTO (World Trade Organization) protesters. They see the flaws in the current system and they want to change it. The only problem: they have only been focusing on what they don't want - and haven't yet started focusing and verbalizing what they DO want. He suggested we should watch those people - although it may take a long time (decades?) for them to bring on the change. Or maybe we should actively participate?

This seriously opened my mind and I began believing that change could and would come. What was it that I wanted to see change? The imbalance of how money is spent in this country and others. Money spent on wars, instead of education - tax breaks for corporations, but no funding for art - CEO and celebrities raking in millions, while others barely get by with several jobs. The cost of health insurance, medical procedures and medications. Health care as a greedy business. Everything as a greedy business. Last but not least: the environment getting destroyed to make a buck.

I would like the system to be more humane. I would like for people to be more considerate: the politicians, the corporate board members, the decision makers.

When the economy seemed to collapse and President Obama was elected, I had hope. Based on his campaign and the election results, it seemed that Americans were standing up and saying: we want a more fair, humane and considerate world, where education, environment and community matter more than making the most money possible. It seemed that with the collapse of the economy this was the chance to adjust our economic system.

None of that happened. Maybe because everyone was quickly settling back into a comfortable zone? Maybe because the big banks were bailed out? Maybe because everyone was waiting for someone else to do something?

Turns out not everyone is comfortable. Turns out some people are tired of waiting.

Since September 17th there has been "Occupy Wall Street". By now it's been 21 days that a few hundred people on Zuccotti Square in the Financial District of NYC have been camping, protesting, debating, writing, shouting... On the weekends and during organized marches there have been thousands...

Wake Up!

Apparently initiated by a call to action by the Canadian media foundation Adbusters and inspired by the Arab Spring, people began organizing a protest and occupation of Zuccotti Park, which at first did not draw a lot of attention.

An incident with pepper spray during a march on September 24th brought the attention of people watching YouTube videos and other crowd sourced media and local news. This is when people started asking me: You're in New York, what's going on over there? When a few days later 700 protesters were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge, the mainstream and international media took notice.

Of course, all along you can follow what is going on through the Occupy Wall Street blog and its forum and chat, the General Assembly posts, the Facebook page, the Reddit Page, the main Twitter account, the Twitter hashtags #OccupyWallStreet and #OWS and their live streaming video

Pertinent Occupy Wall Street information

By now Occupy Wall Street has spread through cities across the country with the help of Occupy Together.

In Zuccotti Park well-known speakers and celebrities have expressed their support (Tim Robbins walked right by me on Wednesday) - people around the world, including President Obama, have acknowledged what is going on there. Of course, tourists also swarm the area. 

Not just hippies!

The point when I realized that the protesters and I shared similar sentiments was when I discovered the collection of photo statements published on We Are The 99 Percent, where individuals express their personal hardships and frustrations - while the 1 percent of the population has most of the wealth and supposedly the decision-making power. Read the introduction statement of We Are The 99 Percent.

The original suggestion from Adbusters had been to come up with a simple and specific demand to achieve (e.g., drop all interest rates to 1%). But at this point it seems that the loose group, which makes a point of not having a specific leader, does not have (or want?) one or several specific demands. This does make me wonder where this will lead. 

On September 30th the General Assembly (meeting at 1pm and 7pm every day) published a Deceleration of the Occupation of New York City, which lists some of the grievances.

NYPD and the orange net on Broadway (by Wall Street)

Something I have mixed feelings about is the seeming desire of some protesters to want to get arrested - and possibly even baiting the police into using (what I still consider unjustified) violent action. These acts make for sensational footage, photos and stories - and thus get the attention of media and people. I do see the power of these images and "stunts". But I wonder if some of it comes from a misguided desire for drama and personal need for attention. Just wondering.

Wouldn't it be amazing if the media attention came just from peaceful civil disobedience?

With this, of course, I also have to question my own activity of staying on after the official march and participating in the non-permitted march down to Wall Street - always with the camera at the ready. Just like on May Day and other big protests in Germany, it seems that only a percentage are actual protesters who want to bring their message across - another percentage are the camera-toting "reporters" and the "sensationalists" - another percentage are the provocateurs who could actually hurt some of the causes.

From my personal perspective I witnessed moments of protesters yelling at the police to let them cross the street, when the police didn't tell them they couldn't (and some of us just crossed the street) - and I got the sense that some people got impatient with just standing around, with the protesters and police officers all being peaceful. I also was near when protesters who tried to climb over the barricades of Wall Street right in front of the police, were pepper-sprayed and hit by a night stick.

Even though I was just yards away, there were so many people that I didn't see what was going on. I held up the camera like everyone else (it's the longish bit in the third video). Honestly, I'm very much against violence and I wouldn't really have wanted to see that. I have mixed feelings about the filming, the reality TV aspect, the hyping of violence because of cameras, because of a mob. There wasn't any "mob activity", so that's not really what happened there - fortunately. But it stirs up thoughts. 

Occupying Wall Street
(1 Wall Street at the corner of Broadway)

All in all, that moment in particular made me realize that most of us had no idea that there was any violence going on at that point. You had to want to be there in the front row, you had to want to be arrested. If you were five rows back, you were not at risk at that time.

So I have mixed feelings about some aspects of the protests, the media coverage, our actions as participants and observers.

I have full admiration of the people spending days and nights at the park. Their ability to organize meetings, work groups, twice-daily assemblies, speakers, food, communication, a printed paper, a library, a medical station, cell phone charging stations, PR, recruitment, warmth, entertainment, marches and many, many debates. All kinds of donations are appreciated!

Food at Occupy Wall Street

In some ways I feel like I want to get more actively involved. Really BE there. But the reality is that I have work to do and some other concerns.

So for now, I will continue to show up for protests and I hope that my videos and photos and this lengthy personal account will help spread the message: 

Enough is enough! We need a fairer, more humane economic and social system! It may not happen overnight, but change is going to come (and if we're lucky it won't get worse before it gets better)!

I am part of the 99 Percent. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

MusicMonday: Songs for Friends (by bands with long names)

We've had a few very special and wonderful days while Judith visited from Berlin, Tobe from Portland and Ove from Hamburg.

The latter two came here for the "every 11 years" reunion on the Brooklyn Bridge, which we joined for the second time. Unfortunately the reunion was delayed until nightfall due to the police shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge to pedestrians after 700 Occupy Wall Street protestors had been arrested on the bridge right before we arrived. Judith visited just because she's awesome and she's family and we missed her after we left Berlin - and miss her again already.

Here are a few recent songs I'd like to dedicate to these old and new, but certainly life-long friends - through all the geographic, temporal and life-style differences.

"Fantasy Friend Forever" by Asteroids Galaxy Tour
(playing in NYC tomorrow night, btw)


"Fantasy Friend Forever" (live) by Asteroids Galaxy Tour


"Mine is Yours" by Cold War Kids



"You Are A Tourist" by Death Cab For Cutie