Monday, December 31, 2012

Imogen Heap: "You Know Where To Find Me" (MusicMonday)

A rather somber song for the New Year's Eve Music Monday post: "You Know Where To Find Me" by English singer Imogen Heap.

While New Year's Eve is mostly seen as a day of party (pressure) and senseless good times, it's also Old Year's Day - a time of reflection on the old and contemplation of the coming.

Although I try not to attach too much meaning to dates (it's a dangerous habit in case something bad happens and you will be reminded of it year after year)... and especially in regards to a day like New Year's Eve I often think: any random day can suddenly and without warning become the day of big change or transition... I still decided to set myself a kind of a goal or resolution for the coming year... or a continuation of what I've already been trying to do in past years: I want to be a good friend, a really good friend.

So if you need me, you know where to find me.

And to all who are good friends to me: Thank You!

Imogen Heap

Thursday, December 27, 2012

German NYE Tradition: Bleigiessen (Fortune Telling through Molybdomancy) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 139)

Bleigießen (Molybdomancy) is a North European New Year's Eve tradition that goes back all the way to  Ancient Greece.


After you melt a piece of lead or tin on a spoon over a candle you drop it in a bowl of water. You then interpret the resulting shape directly or hold it up to a light to interpret the shadow.

Kits are sold with a list of interpretations - but there are also many online resources that include further suggestions, e.g., List 1, List 2, List 3, List 4

I'm very grateful to my family (my mom, dad, brother and nephew) for playing along to create this video for you over the Christmas holidays in Berlin.

The peppy song is "Just Don't Care" by Jason Matherne:

Happy New Year!

Frohes Neues Jahr!

Be Brave and Be Kind.

Bleigiessen - A German New Year's Eve Tradition

And if you watched all the way to the end you'll get a little bonus post-credits 3-second clip of my brother saying: "I have the feeling that this is a rather inexact science." 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

(Indie) Christmas Songs - Shortlist

A friend just asked me if I'd share my Christmas Song Shortlist (pulled from over 250 Christmas songs I've collected over time). So I thought while I'll get him the actual songs, I'll also share the list and CD cover here. If you want to hear it, let me know. 

By the way, there are some sources where I find new songs every year. Because I'm in Germany this Christmas, my resources are limited - so I'm afraid I'm missing out on some 2012 Christmas song awesomeness. If you have heard any great holiday songs I've missed out on, please add a title or link in the comments. Thank you. 

1    Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing)     -     Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler
2    Black Christmas     -     Poly Styrene
3    Post Apocalypse Christmas     -     Gruff Rhys
4    Last Christmas     -     Florence & the Machine
5    The Christmas Waltz     -     She & Him
6    Faith     -     Kate Nash
7    Silent Night     -     The Kills
8    Blue Christmas     -     Sharon Van Etten
9    Are You Coming Over For Christmas?     -     Belle and Sebastian
10    No Christmas For Me     -     Zee Avi
11    Christmas In Prison     -     Emmy The Great & Lightspeed Champion
12    Christmas Reindeer     -     The Knife
13    Is this Christmas?     -     The Wombats
14    Christmas Feels Like Halloween     -     The Sky Drops
15    I Wish It Was Christmas Today     -     Julian Casablancas
16    Merry Christmas, Baby (Please Don't Die)     -     Dum Dum Girls
17    Christmas (Baby, please come home)     -     The Raveonettes
18    Silent Night (Noapte De Vis)     -     Glasvegas
19    Christmas Day     -     Jim White
20    Fairytale Of New York (with Kirsty MacColl)        The Pogues
21    Put The Loot In The Boot Santa     -     Mae West

Note on the CD cover: the British guitar Christmas ornament I just gave to my brother today, who has a refined taste in, you guessed it, British music. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Kate Nash's Christmas Song: "Faith" (MusicMonday)

Christmas on a Monday calls for a Christmas song, of course.

For all those who are feeling a bit sad and lonely this holiday season, Kate Nash can relate. Her Christmas appreciation list may not work for everyone, but the closing words are so right on they're almost too on the nose:

But I know I have grown
It’s a lesson in one’s health
Having faith in one’s self 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyful Kwanzaa everyone!  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Photos from Loxx: Berlin Miniatur Welt

A few photos from the shoot of this week's video "Miniature Berlin: LOXX (3rd largest model train set) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 138)". 

WATCH my 1-minute video "Miniature Berlin: LOXX (3rd largest model train set) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 138)".

READ blog post about the actual video to find out more.

Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburg Gate
Loxx Miniatur Welten

Loxx Miniatur Welten

Hear No Evil - Speak No Evil - See No Evil
nichts (Böses) sehen, nichts (Böses) hören, nichts (Böses) sagen
Loxx Miniatur Welten

The Wall
Die Mauer
Loxx Miniatur Welten

Mona Lisa Street Art
Loxx Miniatur Welten

Remains of The Wall
Loxx Miniatur Welten

Police harassing cyclist
Polizei stoppt Fahrradfahrer
Loxx Miniatur Welten

Turkish BBQ in Tiergarten
Tuerkische Familie grillt im Tiergarten
Loxx Miniatur Welten

Reichstag at night
Reichstag in der Nacht
Loxx Miniatur Welten

highrise at night
Hochhaus in der Nacht
Loxx Miniatur Welten

Goldelse (Victoria - Victory Column) at night
Goldelse (Viktoria - Siegessaeule) nachts
Loxx Miniatur Welten
Victory Column at Grosser Stern
Siegessaeule am Grossen Stern
Loxx Miniatur Welten

WATCH my 1-minute video "Miniature Berlin: LOXX (3rd largest model train set) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 138)".

READ blog post about the actual video to find out more.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Miniature Berlin: LOXX - In A Berlin Minute (Week 138)

Loxx Miniatur Welten (Miniature Worlds) turns Berlin into a model train set with many of its well-known attractions recreated as well as some insider details, funny moments and some general miniature world genre randomness.

Miniature Berlin: LOXX - In A Berlin Minute (Week 138) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Based on the idea and design of Stefan Göddeke, Loxx is the 3rd largest model train set in the world (760 square meters) and first opened in 2004 in Charlottenburg and then moved to its current location atop the Alexa shopping center (next to Alexanderplatz) in 2007. 

As so often the 1-minute version of this video doesn't really do justice to all that could be seen. And in this case I actually accidentally at first edited a 2-minute version (I've got a head cold). So there'll be a longer Moving Postcard soon.

For now please enjoy the mini versions of Reichstag, Brandenburger Tor, Sowjetisches Mahnmal, Siegessaeule (Goldelse), Bahnhof Zoo, Tiergarten, Alexanderplatz, Alexa, Neptunbrunnen, Park Inn, Fernsehturm, Die Mauer (The Wall), a Turkish family in the park, abandoned buildings, metal artists, street art, a concert, dinosaurs, cops and lots and lots of trains. The only thing I didn't capture well was a tram. Also Mauerpark Fleamarket and Karaoke are missing from Loxx altogether.

The song "Lollipop" was written and produced by Jason Matherne. Find him on Soundcloud.

On a side note, the night I first met him, David of the andberlin blog suggested I should do an In A Berlin Minute video about Loxx . He in turn had found out about the place through a post by James and Zoe on their uberlin blog. Thanks for the tip, British Berlin bloggers!

Goldelse (Siegessaule - Victory Column) at Loxx Miniature Welten

Monday, December 17, 2012

Allo Darlin' - "Northern Lights" (MusicMonday)

"Northern Lights" is a bitter-sweet happy dancing road-tripping song by the half-Kentich half-Australian based-in-London band Allo Darlin', which I unfortunately missed when they came through town a few weeks ago. But one day...

Allo Darlin'

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Greater Manchester Photos (Manchester, Swinton, Stockport, Macclesfield)

Quite a few photos from the shoot of this week's video "Manchester, England - In A Berlin Minute (Week 137)". 

WATCH my 1-minute video "Manchester, England - In A Berlin Minute (Week 137)".

READ blog post about the actual video to find out more.

I <3 Manchester

John Rylands Library, Manchester

Canal in the gay club neighborhood, Manchester

China Town, Manchester

Modern government building, Manchester

Manchester Cathedral

British flags inside Manchester Cathedral

Swinton church at night

German Lager Beer at Christmas Market in Manchester, England

Market Statues, Manchester

Strawberry Studios, Stockport
(Joy Division, The Smiths, Paul McCartney...)

Houses and stairs in Stockport, England

Love Will Tear Us Apart
Ian Curtis' grave in Macclesfield, England

Detail from Ian Curtis' grave
Macclesfield, England

Chapel and statue
Macclesfield Cemetery
Statues on Macclesfield Cemetery

Macclesfield Cemetery

WATCH my 1-minute video "Manchester, England - In A Berlin Minute (Week 137)".

READ blog post about the actual video to find out more.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Manchester, England - In A Berlin Minute (Week 137)

This week I went to visit two of my oldest and dearest friends from the Hamburg days, Steph (Stevie) and Giddy (Gitty), who now live in Manchester, England.

Of course, Manchester is not just a town where special friends of mine live, but also the city of Joy Division, The Smiths, Stone Roses, Oasis and many more.

Manchester, England - In A Berlin Minute (Week 137) [HD] from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

While there we explored the city mostly on bus and by foot, with a special focus on all things Joy Division. We took a special bus trip to Stockport (location of Strawberry Studios, where Joy Division recorded Unknown Pleasures and other bands like Stone Roses and The Smiths made history) and a train trip to Macclesfield, where Joy Division singer Ian Curtis is buried.

Grave of Ian Curtis (singer of Joy Division)
Macclesfield, England

Other special sites are the Manchester Cathedral (Joy Division photo shoot), the new location of the club Factory (watch the movie 24-Hour Party People), China Town, the John Rylands Library, and New Order's Dry Bar where we spotted the greatest of the multitude of Christmas sweaters very popular among the Manchester men: a lit-up 3D reindeer sweater! 

I'd love to visit again and not only explore and experience the city further, but also go on similar pilgrimages for The Smiths and even Oasis. I'm a music nerd like that.

In choosing music for this piece I searched through the Free Music Archives website until I found something that came closest of reminding me of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" - one of my favorite songs, that always reminds me of dancing with Steph - and the words inscribed on Ian Curtis' grave stone.  The song (which really isn't all that similar) is called "This Love's Got to Change" by Black Math. License: CC BY 3.0

Unfortunately, my two friends are not big fans of being on camera (neither am I, so I can't blame them). Therefore I didn't push my lens on them. Although when I was editing I thought it was a shame I didn't have them in the video.

And after you've watched my video, why not get lost in "Love Will Tear Us Apart"?

Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart from Hadez Valenzuela on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Laura Marling - Goodbye England (Covered In Snow) - MusicMonday on a Wednesday

Because I was having too much fun in England on Monday (and was actually out and about filming for this week's In A Minute video) I completely overlooked putting together a Music Monday post.

But because I left England today and found Berlin covered in snow and the sentiment of this slightly older Laura Marling song resonates with me, I'll just post that song now. 

For the record: Manchester was much milder and sunny while I was there - no sign of snow, just a bit of morning frost.

Laura Marling - Goodbye England (Covered In Snow) 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Photos of Berlin Street Art (West Berlin)

A few photos from the shoot of this week's video "Berlin Street Art (West Berlin) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 136)". 

WATCH my 1-minute video "Berlin Street Art (West Berlin) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 136)".

READ blog post about the actual video to find out more.

Face in Kreuzberg
by Alicé Pasquini

Face at Görlitzer Park, Kreuzberg

Releasing birds in Wedding
by Plotbot KEN

Caught Spray-Painting in Wedding
(Occupy The Sky by SP38)

Photography street art at Görlitzer Park
Part of the first Kleister exhibit

Another Face in Kreuzberg
by C215

Altered Street Signs in Neukölln

In The Tree in Wedding
by Victor Ash - part of Wedding Walls

TV Heads in Wedding
Saw the female artist create this at Berlin Festival - will figure out here name...
(Occupy by SP38)

... Breathing Like Horses... in Kreuzberg
by Robert Montgomery

It's Time To Dance - in Kreuzberg

A few photos from the shoot of this week's video "Berlin Street Art (West Berlin) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 136)". 

WATCH my 1-minute video "Berlin Street Art (West Berlin) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 136)".

READ blog post about the actual video to find out more.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Street Art (West Berlin) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 136) [HD]

Street Art (West Berlin) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 136) [HD] from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

All this street art I found in old West Berlin neighborhoods: Wedding, Neukölln and Kreuzberg. There will be an extended version soon because not everything fit into the 1-minute format (no surprise), which will also include Charlottenburg and Tiergarten.

Artists include: XXCREW, Alias, Mr. Fahrenheit, tona, owys, Mein Lieber Prost, Mimi The Clown, MOI, icon 73,  Dede, Alicé Pasquini, Plotbot KEN C215, CLET, Victor Ash, Robert Montgomery, SOBR and many more.

I will add the others when I figure them out or when you let me know. Also because I'm about to jump on a train to Hamburg I don't have time right now to add links for all the artists on the blog post. Will do asap.

The Robert Montgomery at the end is a tease for another video I have in the works: text art and slogans on the streets of Berlin.

The song is called: "Something Elated" by Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0
Admittedly, I slowed the song down a bit to make it fit with the speed of images that is manageable to watch.

Caught spray-painting in Wedding