Friday, May 31, 2013

Zoo Aquarium - In A Berlin Minute (Week 161)

 Zoo Aquarium - In A Berlin Minute (Week 161) [HD] from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

The Berlin Zoo Aquarium opened in 1913 as part of the world-renowned Berlin Zoological Garden (Zoologischer Garten Berlin). It houses over 9,000 animals over three floors, including fish, reptiles and insects. For this video I only concentrated on the fish (and two jelly fish).

This video is dedicated to Scott Solary. After 160 weekly 1-minute videos in just over three years, it was long overdue to make a video especially for him, the person who has supported and helped me the most with this series and pretty much all of my film and video projects. Thank you, Scott. While in other 1-minute videos I've often included shots especially for Scott (as I have for other people), making a video about fish was all for him. Hope everyone else still enjoys it.

The featured song is "Twilight" by Jason Matherne.

Fish at Berlin Zoo Aquarium

Monday, May 27, 2013

The National - "Demons" (MusicMonday)

So here I go again: swooning over Brooklyn's The National, whom I've written about on this blog time and time again. Just three weeks ago I already recommended live performances of "I Need My Girl". But can I help it that they're such brilliant musicians, Matt Beringer is such a darkly emotional and seemingly honest lyricist (and has that deep voice) and that their songs get under my skin and speak to me like hardly any other music?

Besides, their new album Trouble Will Find Me is finally out and playing on heavy rotation on all of my devices - interrupted only by Junip's new self-titled album (from which I recommended songs a few weeks ago as well).

Today I want to leave you with the video for "Demons". The video was directed by the featured artist Azar Kazimir, who creates a drawing based on the album cover. He recorded this at the Michelberger Hotel in Berlin, where The National had a showcase and where I took the Instagram picture below the video.

You can currently stream the entire Trouble Will Find Me album via iTunes. If you want to see more, check out the video for "Sea of Love".

Trouble Will Find Me
Michelberger Hotel, Berlin

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Photos of Fairy Tale Fountain (Maerchenbrunnen)

Photos from the shoot of the 1-minute video "Märchenbrunnen (Fairy Tale Fountain) – In A Berlin Minute (Week 160)". The Fairy Tale Fountain was opened in 1913 in Berlin's Volkspark Friedrichshain.

Read more about the fountain and watch the video HERE.

Dog - Hund
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Puss In Boots - Der Gestiefelte Kater
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Cinderella - Aschenputtel
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Seven Ravens - Sieben Raben
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Little Red Riding Hood - Rotkäppchen
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Sleeping Beauty - Dornröschen
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Sleeping Beauty - Dornröschen
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Brother and Sister - Brüderchen und Schwesterchen
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen

Boys love to fish
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Snow White - Schneewittchen
Fairy Tale Fountain - Maerchenbrunnen
Gretel without Hansel - Gretel ohne Hänsel
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Hans in Luck - Hans im Glück
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Deer - Hirsch
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
Frog Prince - Froschkönig
Fairy Tale Fountain - Märchenbrunnen
And when then I fall, who will catch me then?
Und wenn ich falle, wer fängt mich dann auf?

Read more about the fountain and watch the 1-minute video HERE.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Märchenbrunnen (Fairy Tale Fountain) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 160)

Märchenbrunnen (Fairy Tale Fountain) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 160) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

The Märchenbrunnen (Fairy Tale Fountain) in Volkspark Friedrichshain was opened in 1913 and is the largest fountain of the Kaiser era. It was conceived by Ludwig Hoffmann. The fountain is surrounded by sculptures of characters from the Grimm Brothers' Fairy Tales, various animals and several children created by the artists Ignatius Taschner, Georg Wrba und Josef Rauch.

Did you recognize all the characters? There are Hansel and Gretel, Puss in Boots, Hans in Luck, Seven Ravens, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Brother and Sister, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty.

While it was a beautiful how the light changed while I was filming, and the golden hour was quite magical, it became a bit of an issue in editing and trying to match the color. I thought about turning it black and white, but the sky was just too blue to turn it grey.

The music is a sped-up version of "In A Tree" by Jason Matherne.

Sleeping Beauty

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The xx - Night + Day - Berlin (Photos and Videos)

For months I'd been waiting for the musical event of this spring in Berlin: The xx were playing a special show called Night + Day together with several other bands and DJs in the abandoned amusement park Spreepark. Two similar shows were planned for Lisbon and London.

The location, which I have yet to feature in an In A Berlin Minute video, excited me as much as the prospect of seeing and hearing The xx and some of the other bands, like the Chromatics.

Unfortunately, it was rather cool and grey (sandwiched between two gorgeous early summer days) - and fortunately, I had such a great time with friends + friends of friends and getting a bit distracted by Cilian Murphy, that I didn't feel inspired or find time to film or take any pictures of the location or other bands.

But here are a few (slightly blurry) pictures of The xx and also two short video excerpts. Usually I don't publish anything so shaky - and usually I don't stand that far away from the stage (the zoom makes shakiness worse). But these two moments were so personal and special that I wanted to share them.

They were as magical and moving as expected. Wow!

Excerpt from "Shelter" 

Excerpt from "Angels"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Überlin Berlin Portrait Photo Shoot

James watching Zoë take a picture

Last week James Glazebrook and Zoë Noble of the fabulous Berlin blog überlin published a new article in their Berlin Portrait series, for which they asked me a few questions about the Berlin neighborhood I'm currently staying it (Prenzlauer Berg).

I felt very honored that they asked me to be part of this series, in which they have different (creative expat) people introduce their "Kiez" (Berlinish for neighborhood - or Hamburgish for red light district).

The real bonus of participating in this series was spending a lovely day with Zoë and James and having my picture taken by such a talented photographer as Zoë. I usually don't like having my picture taken, especially over and over again and then in public!

But since I had already admired her other photos on the blog and from fashion shoots, I knew she was really good and that I was in safe hands. Even more important for the time of the shoot was that she made me feel so comfortable and even relaxed. Of course, James also did his part through engaging conversations and distracting me from the clicking camera.

So, if you're in Berlin (or really anywhere in Europe) and you need to hire a portrait, still life or fashion photographer, get in touch with Zoë Noble via!

Zoë Noble taking a photograph at Hemlholzplatz, Berlin

If you'd like to see the pictures and read the article, please check out "Berlin Portrait: Luci Westphal".

And if you've checked out the pictures on überlin and wondered where I found the awesome Coney Island T-shirt... I got that and more right on the Coney Island boardwalk from Lola Star. Man, I miss the old Brooklyn beach scene...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Photos from Volkspark Friedrichshain

Photos from the shoot of the 1-minute video "Volkspark Friedrichshain (People’s Park) – In A Berlin Minute (Week 159)".

Watch the video HERE.

Statue in the Scent Garden
Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin

Park lawn and majestic chestnut tree
Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin

Chestnut tree blooms
Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin

Skaters at the Memorial to Polish Soldiers and German Anti-Fascists
Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin

Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin

Restaurant roof cows
Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin

Monument to the Spanish Civil War
Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin

Boy and fish statue - at the entrance to Märchenbrunnen (Fountain of Fairy Tales)
Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin

Photos from the shoot of the 1-minute video "Volkspark Friedrichshain (People’s Park) – In A Berlin Minute (Week 159)".

Watch the video HERE.

Mikal Cronin - "Change" (MusicMonday)

Just discovered a new favorite song: "Change" by American singer-songwriter Mikal Cronin. Great melody, moving lyrics and a cool video to boot.

The mixture of total realism and a surreal twist reminds me of Jonathan Lethem's novels and short stories. Can't go wrong with that.

Mikal Cronin in "Change"

Friday, May 17, 2013

Volkspark Friedrichshain (People's Park) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 159)

Volkspark Friedrichshain (People's Park) - In A Berlin Minute (Week 159) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Volkspark Friedrichshain (People's Park Friedrichshain) is on the border of the neighborhoods Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain and conveniently located along the M10 tram line. It's the oldest park in Berlin and one of its largest. During the years of the Cold War it was an East Berlin park.

Besides the usual big lawns, canopy paths, majestic trees, and the quintessential beer garden (it's Germany after all) this park's special features are all the different urban sports you can enjoy and (in addition to a few large scale political memorials and statues) it features the lovely Märchenbrunnen (Fairy Tale Fountain), which you can see at the end of the video already, but to which I will dedicate a future In A Berlin Minute completely.

This is actually a park I have not spend all that much time in. I remember well the first time when Scott and I had just bought our black European bikes and made a trip to that park our first ride. I remember how exhausting it was to ride up the hills in the park (which like many Berlin parks are built out of World War II debris) - but how absolutely lovely it was to escape the city and chill out in the luscious green nature.

Zooming through the shot of the beer garden / restaurant is my friend Adam, who is a very successful gay hipster travel and lifestyle blogger (Travels of Adam) and vlogger working out of Berlin. I'd like to note that he describes himself and promotes his work as a hipster traveler. The significance of this is that almost by definition all hipsters claim to not be hipsters. I think it's charming when finally someone embraces this term instead of pretending otherwise.

The song is the appropriately titled "Sunburn" by Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions.

Skaters at the Memorial to Polish Soldiers and German Anti-Fascists
Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin

Monday, May 13, 2013

Team Spirit - "MRDR It's Ok" (MusicMonday)

The animated video for "MRDR It's Ok" by Brooklyn band Team Spirit is the second video in a series of five created by the Swedish (London-based) animation video team HannesJohannes aka Hannes Elltorp and Johannes Helgelin.

While this is not my favorite drawing style (I admit it, I like thinks prettier and yet darker, with less bright garish colors), I'm super impressed that this was all hand drawn by those two guys and then cut out and animated. And the story line is fun.

Most importantly, of course, for a Music Monday post: I really like the song a lot. That's a band I'd love to see perform live.

Team Spirit - MRDR It's Ok [Official] from HannesJohannes on Vimeo.

The previous video in the series (for the song "Jesus, He's Alright") you can watch HERE. However, please be aware that it's probably offensive to most Christians.

Team Spirit - MRDR It's Ok

Team Spirit

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wannsee - In A Berlin Minute (Week 158)

Wannsee - In A Berlin Minute (Week 158) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

The famous Berlin lake Wannsee is really two lakes, Kleiner Wannsee and Grosser Wannsee, that are bights of the river Havel.

In this video I only show a small part of Grosser Wannsee (Large Wannsee), including the popular public beach Strandbad Wannsee - after hours.

There would have been a lot more to see, but according to my new to not go overboard (no pun intended), I decided to keep it simple and not include the villa, where the Wannsee Conference took place or any of the islands and bridges.

What fascinates me most about this area, that during the East / West Germany split, it was the only real big "get away from the city" nature that people in West Berlin could access without leaving "the country" and getting the permission to drive through East Germany to reach West Germany. Kind of mind blowing.

If time allows I plan to return to the lakes for a boat tour and to visit the Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island). At this point it seems that winter has quickly turned into early summer. It seems the whole city has breathed a sigh of relief.

The music is a track from Soundtrack Pro mixed with the natural sounds around the lake.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

3 Years! ... and a big change

On the day of the 3-year anniversary of my web series In A Berlin Minute aka In A Brooklyn Minute I spontaneously decided to make a new vlog - one in English and one in German.

Because this vlog is very long I'll give you a quick overview so you can decide if you want to bother watching it. It is mostly intended for the people who watch my web series -- but could possibly be interesting to my friends as well. I made this vlog today because today is the 3-year anniversary of In A Berlin Minute / In A Brooklyn Minute.

However, most words are about the identity crisis I hit this past summer/fall and how at this point it has affected my priorities in life regarding video work and money work -- and my most important priority: the people in my life. Although the really personal things I don't discuss in this video.

Mainly I finally acknowledged that I'm a workaholic and that such driven behavior together with lack of success caused me misery as well as the people around me. In our society we think that being busy and working to much is somehow honorable. I don't believe that anymore - but that being obsessed with your work can do harm to yourself and your family.

In the depth of the crisis I thought I'd never make videos or films again. Now I'm on the other side of my journey and would like to tell you that I'll continue to make videos but that as a priority they will come after the people whom I love and after making money. So from now on my web series may be released late or altogether less regularly.

My hope is that my story can help others to let go of some of the pressures that hurt themselves and their families and that there can be a path to a well-balanced life.

Thank you all for watching -- no matter if for three years or just today.

3 Years! ... and a big change. [Vlog 5 - English]

 3 Jahre! ... und eine grosse Veraenderung [Vlog 5 - Deutsch]

Watch any episode from the last three years:

My blog: http://goodhardworkingpeople.blogspot...

Monday, May 6, 2013

The National - "I Need My Girl" (MusicMonday)

Ah, patience... Two more weeks until the new The National album Trouble Will Find Me will finally be released. Not only have I never been disappointed by any of their albums, the songs I've heard so far promise another great record full of musical brilliance and the experience of emotion and truth.

Last week The National performed "I Need My Girl" on Fallon:

For some reason, while I was putting together this blog post, the video disappeared from my post as well as from the Stereogum post where I had discovered it. I'm leaving up the embed code in hopes that it will return.

But so you can at least hear the song, here is a beautiful acoustic live recording of the same song from a Canadian radio station a year ago.

Download the live version of "I Need My Girl".

Matt Berninger of The National

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Berlin Bears / Bärenzwinger - In A Berlin Minute (Week 157)

Berlin Bears / Bärenzwinger - In A Berlin Minute (Week 157) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Since 1280 the coat of arms, mascot and symbol for Berlin has been the bear. It is actually not exactly clear where the name of the city or the connection to the animal may have come from.

Since 1939 there have been bears living in the Bärenzwinger (bear cage) in the Köllnischer Park in Mitte. The two brown bears living there today are Schnute and Maxi. There is some controversy about the living conditions of the bears. Activists are trying to get them moved somewhere else.

Since May 7th, 2011 I have published a 1-minute video every single week - either from Berlin (where I had moved during that week in 2011) or Brooklyn (where we lived again in 2011/2012) or other places I traveled to. The name changed from German New Yorker in Berlin to In A Berlin Minute and In A Brooklyn Minute and eventually became part of the more general catch-all Moving Postcard.

A huge thanks to everyone who has been watching or just started now. You make me keep wanting to film, edit and share these videos. And I'm not done yet.

The song is "Clown Face" by Jason Matherne.