Monday, January 30, 2012

Music Monday: Four Dollar Wine - "We Gave It A Go"

Four Dollar Wine Record Release Party at High Dive

Yes, it's true I just dedicated a Music Monday to Four Dollar Wine in December. But I love them that much!

More importantly they just released their debut album We Gave It A Go in January. It is now available on iTunes and all the other online music vendors.

You can still download two of their songs for free: "Please Come Home" and "Somebody New".

You'll say: of course, you like them: Scott Solary, is your husband and the other half of the band, Thimo Sander, is a very good friend. But you know, Scott was in a band before... in the 90s... as a drummer... and Thimo plays in a super succesful band in Germany... and um... I don't feel the same love for those endeavors as I do for Four Dollar Wine.

So, seriously: give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Currently you can listen to the entire album streaming while enjoying beautiful vintage footage when you watch "We Gave It A Go, the Film by Four Dollar Wine".

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Green-Wood Cemetery - In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 91)

Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn founded in 1838 is a historic landmark. It honors several famous or otherwise important people and served as Brooklyn's public park before the creation of Prospect Park.

The cemetery is located somewhere between the neighborhoods Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park - yet in recent years (as I've heard the story) got its own neighborhood name by a clever real estate agent: Greenwood Heights.

It's an incredible cemetery that is very worth the visit for anyone who enjoys such outings. Beautiful statues and trees, so many tombstones, mauseleums and statues telling stories and honoring the individuals and groups (e.g., from the American Revolution, in particular The Battle of Brooklyn). There are hills and lakes and views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and even New Jersey.

You can discover so many things: like the Altar to Liberty, which features a statue with a Roman helmet waving back at the Statue of Liberty in the distance. I took photos of that greeting that I will post on Flickr, because there was not enough room in the video.

I did find room to show the resting places for Jean-Michel Basquiat and Leondard Bernstein.

What was nearly impossible for me to capture were the Monk Parakeets that live high up in the main entrance.

The music featured is called "Sad Dreams". It was written and performed by Andreas Mayer. For more of his diverse collection of music, please visit and

Monday, January 23, 2012

Music Monday: "Big Mouth" - Santigold

More Santigold! Finally!

Watch the video and get free download of "Big Mouth" from her website now (surely only for a limited time).  

Love the song.
Love the video.
Can't be bothered by any of the controversy.
Can't wait to hear the album.
Hope to see Santigold (formerly known as Santogold) and her dancers again in the near future. 


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Flushing Meadows - World Fair Remnants (Queens) - In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 90)

Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens hosted the World Fair in 1939/40 and 1964/65 and still features several iconic and slightly extraterrestrial seeming structures left from those fairs. Among them are the unisphere, the observation towers, the time capsule and several pavilions.

This park is also the home of the US Open Tennis Tournament and the Mets baseball team and several museums. But I focused on the cool spacey structures and some of the skaters and cats zooming by.

I'd like to add that I had been wanting to check out these cool structures for over 10 years and that I finally did this on a day when it was -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) just so I could make a video for this series that I hope will live up to the popular DUMBO video I made last week.

Also Scott Solary, my partner at Good Hard Working People, happened to be shooting footage for a sizzle reel for the new YouTube network Network A, which launched this week. Just by chance it worked out that one of my shots ended up in that video (but not in mine).

This video finally seemed to be the perfect match for the song "Phantom Power" by Jason Matherne of GoonyGooGoo Productions.

I will post a few extra photos on my Flickr account in a few days.

If you're a pop culture nerd, like me, do check out the Wikipedia page for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which provides a great list of all the films, songs and tv shows that feature or reference the park and its structures.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Music Monday: "Midnight City" - M83

Another one of my favorite songs from 2011: "Midnight City" by the French M83. It happens to have a cinematic, cool and creepy video directed by Fleur and Manu.

Friday, January 13, 2012

DUMBO - In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 89)

D.U.M.B.O. (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is a Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood underneath the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. 

DUMBO - In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 89) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

When I moved to New York in the late 90s it was still a raw and affordable neighborhood not yet zoned for residential apartments. Back then it was full of artist's studios and illegal lofts with amazing views of Manhattan and the bridges, with charming cobble stone, lots of garbage trucks, underground parties and always the noise of the subway crossing the Manhattan Bridge.

Some of my earliest memories of living in New York City are visits to the DUMBO studio of our old friend and gifted painter Scott Sanders - and be inspired by him and the other artists and the view from the rooftop of the alluring, sparkling metropolis across the river: I felt that I had arrived in the city of my dreams. 

Of course, developers, city planners and people with larger incomes figured out eventually what a pearl lay across the river just one subway stop away. Condos went up, art studios were replaced by legal apartments and stores and offices moved into the neighborhood.

While I miss the raw atmosphere of the older days (and those rooftop parties), I do appreciate how a lot of the beauty is being restored and preserved and that I can now get my favorite hot chocolate from Jacques Torres when I walk around one of the windiest (and thus coldest) corners of New York.

Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Bridge is currently still under construction, which takes away from a lot of otherwise more stunning images. Also unfortunately, a minute is just too short. A lot of material didn't make it into the video - but I tried to include some iconic images and activities typical for this place, including the photo shoots at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

While I was walking around filming, someone approached me and showed me very cool pictures of a  historic DUMBO from the website BrooklynPix

The song featured is called "Animal Horn" and was written and performed by Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions.

For those of you who think this video is too fast, I'll be uploading photos from this shoot on my Flickr account over the weekend. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Books: Game of Thrones (Song of Fire and Ice) Series

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyed this second book from the "Song of Fire and Ice" series as much as the first one. Actually I probably enjoyed it even more since I read the first one right after watching the HBO series "Game of Thrones", which I thought was extremely well made (and very close to the book).

The story-telling is suspenseful, the characters are dimensional and show both depth and change, the world created for these books is so dense and large it almost becomes real - as real as a world in our history books.

The best part about the books is how the stories taking place at numerous locations are told from different characters' perspectives. You really feel at times that you are reading not just one, but many books. This can also get a little unnerving when one chapter ends with a cliffhanger, yet the next chapter deals with a completely different character living through an unrelated experience on another continent. But it keeps you reading and reading and reading...

... by now I'm a little ways into the third book, which is just as hard to put down.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Music Monday: "Two Against One" - Rome (Luppi + Danger Mouse) feat. Jack White

The moody and driving "Two Against One" featuring Jack White and appearing on the Daniele Luppi - Danger Mouse album Rome might just be my favorite song of 2011. (This reminds me I still want to publish a list of my favorite songs from last year.)

Now there is finally a video - an incredible, flowing, dark animation video directed by Chris Milk and animator Anthony Francisco Schepperd.

The connection between music and film is an unusual one. Luppi and Danger Mouse were inspired by the soundtracks to Italian Western to compose a soundtrack album without an actual movie. Now the filmmaker Chris Milk together with Danger Mouse and others is working on making a live-action film based on the soundtrack. This video however, being animated, is meant to be a fever dream illustrating the protagonist's past. Twisted journey.

There is also an interactive (Chrome) feature called:

For more info check this post from NPR

Friday, January 6, 2012

German American New Year's Eve (Silvester) - In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 88)

Every New Year's Eve that we are in Brooklyn, we follow certain traditions - collecting a few new ones as they are discovered. Without any pressure of "we are having a party" it's always "come and join at any point if you like".

So when we were back in Brooklyn this year, we celebrated our mix of German and American Silvester (New Year's Eve) traditions:

Drinks (new addition: Alex' German Bowle)
Spilled Drinks (it can't be helped)
"Dinner For One" (short film, which has become European NYE tradition not only due to the famous dialogue: Same procedure as last year? - Same procedure as every year, James.)
Walking to Prospect Park (this time we even managed to not lose anyone and meet more friends in the park!)
Fireworks (you haven't seen anything yet, until you've been to fireworks almost right above your head, not in the distance)
Berliner (jelly donuts, this time heated up a bit too much - ouch)
Dancing until the wee hours...

I honestly don't know a better way to start the new year than to dance with my friends! Thanks everyone!!!

Have a happy, healthy, creative, productive and fun new year, everyone!


The song featured in the video is "Orgasmatronica" by Jason Matherne.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Music Monday: Favorite Songs of 4th 1/4 of 2011

Here are some of my favorite songs from the last three months. You can listen to most of them via my Grooveshark playlist. Several of them have free downloads - so make sure to click those links! If you want the whole mix tape, be in touch.

The picture I took at Vilano Beach, FL in November (watch the video). 

Video Games - Lana Del Rey
Chair - Big Deal
Cheerleader - St. Vincent
Seasick -  Silversun Pickups <- free download
Come On Riding (Through The Cosmos) - DJ Shadow
Midnight City - M83 <- free download
Stay Gold - The Big Pink <- free download of remix
Shake It Out - Florence + The Machine
Abducted - Cults <- free download
Lonely Boy - The Black Keys
Fauxhemia - Dead Milkmen <- free download
Cradle - The Joy Formidable
Too Many Years Old - Emily Rose
Please Come Home - Four Dollar Wine <- free download
County Line - Cass McCombs <- free download
Bats In The Attic - King Creosote & Jon Hopkins <- free download
Hold Me Now (Thompson Twins cover) - Sara Lov
Your Love (The Outfield cover) - jj