Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dancing Happy Halloween Dog - In A Colorado Minute (Week 183)

Dancing Happy Halloween Dog - In A Colorado Minute (Week 183) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Whiskey (the most adorable dog on the planet, if you ask me) and I made a video to wish you all a fun and happy Halloween (or a thoughtful Reformationstag, if you're into that kind of thing).

The dog dancing starts 13 seconds into the video and gets taken to a whole other level with the last dog costume. Of course, the skull sweater really is just a cool punk rock sweater that a nonchalant dog could wear on Halloween pretending to either have a ghoulish costume or that costumes are totally uncool and this is just how she dresses every day.

And yes, that's a mini soccer ball she's carrying around. Soccer ball and a black + white knitted sweater with skulls? She would fit into Hamburg, St. Pauli so well! That's my girl.

The music is a super sped-up version of the song "Lamb's Garden" by Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions.

Dancing Devil Dog Whiskey

Monday, October 28, 2013

Favorite Songs of the 3rd 1/4 of 2013 (Music Monday)

The 3rd quarter of 2013 has been an adventurous one - with lots of different experiences, thoughts and emotions (and quite a few Mondays I wasn't even able to post a Music Monday song). During these three months (July - September) I lived in 3 different cities on two different continents.

In the same vein the new songs I liked the most during this time seem a little all over the place. Well, I suppose they all fit into some sort of indie or alt category. In any case, I think I can assure you, neither my life nor this mix are boring.

If you want a copy of the mix, let me know.

The photo I took in Coney Island on September 7th when I payed homage to one of my favorite places in the world, said good-bye to Brooklyn again and shot the video "Coney Island – In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 175)".

Favorite Songs of 3rd Quarter of 2013

1    Man - Neko Case
2    Come a Little Closer - Cage The Elephant
3    Why'd You Only Call Me When You’re High - Arctic Monkeys
4    Animal Games - Emiliana Torrini
5    Burn the Witch (feat. Clare Manchon) - Olivier Libaux
6    Candlelit - Frightened Rabbit
7    California - Mazzy Star
8    Reflektor (with David Bowie) - Arcade Fire
9    Fall Back - Zola Jesus
10  Take Out - A. B. Rinehart
11  Boy - Emma Louise
12  Pep Talk - Abandoned Pools
13  You've Got Time - Regina Spektor
14  R U Mine? - Arctic Monkeys
15  Say Yes To Me - Surfer Blood
16  Stop The World I Wanna Get Off With You - Arctic Monkeys
17  Loud Like Love - Placebo
18  Night Sky - CHVRCHES
19  Charge! - Electra
20  FOH - Superchunk

Watch the videos on Pinterest
Watch the videos on YouTube

Listen to the songs on Spotify

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fall Foliage Photos

I love the colors of autumn - especially under a sunny blue sky. And this is exactly what colorful Colorado has to offer at this time of year.

Horsetooth Reservoir
Fort Collins, Colorado

These photos of fall foliage I've all taken over the last two weeks while shooting the 182nd video of my on-going weekly 1-minute web series, currently entitled In A Colorado Minute (formerly known as In A Berlin Minute, In A Brooklyn Minute and In Another Minute).

This week's video, appropriately called "Autumn Colors – In A Colorado Minute (Week 182)," you can watch HERE.

Sheldon Lake in City Park
Fort Collins, Colorado

Ducks on Sheldon Lake
Fort Collins, Colorado

City Park
Fort Collins, Colorado

Red berry tree on Whiskey's lawn
Multi-colored leaves

Burning Bush shrubs at Supermarket Liquors
Fort Collins, Colorado

Burning Bush Shrub

Yellow, green, orange, brown, black and blue - colors of fall


Fall foliage at sunset
Horsetooth Reservoir, Colorado

City Park leaves on Instagram

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn Colors - In A Colorado Minute (Week 182)

Autumn Colors - In A Colorado Minute (Week 182) [HD] from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

The autumn colors (or fall colors, if you prefer) are stunning in Colorado, Berlin and Brooklyn. This week I am bringing you colorful impressions from in and around Fort Collins, Colorado. But if you prefer a European backdrop, you can always check out my video Autumn Colors – In A Berlin Minute (Week 26). Brooklyn will have to wait until next autumn.

The song is a brand new instrumental tune called "Swan Song" by my friend Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions. He's still working on the lyrics. Can't wait to hear that version! Also, can't wait to hear some other songs that YOU might want to send me to visualize through one of my one-minute Moving Postcard videos.

Have a lovely autumn, everyone!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pawnee National Grassland - In A Colorado Minute (Week 181)

Pawnee National Grassland - In A Colorado Minute (Week 181) [HD] from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

When you turn your back on the Rocky Mountains in the west and head east from Fort Collins, Colorado, you suddenly find yourself in a completely different landscape: the Pawnee National Grassland - a section of the Great Plains that borders on Wyoming and Nebraska.

This area really does seem as vast and charmingly desolate as I hope it comes across in the video. Agriculture was mostly abandoned after the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. There are some oil rigs, some live stock farming - but mostly it's the land of prairie dogs, coyotes, tumbleweeds and people firing guns for sport.

When our friend Jeff Marks visited from Brooklyn this past weekend Scott, Jeff, Peter, Deanna and I decided to enjoy what this part of Colorado had to offer instead of the mountains. Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to film - so I'd like to return to the Pawnee Grassland another time - especially to hike, film and photograph the Pawnee Buttes.

A fact I learned while writing this post: National Grasslands are pretty much the same as National Forests, which means they're owned by the US government. The difference is, of course, that National Forests have mostly trees and National Grasslands are mostly prairie.

As a German girl, I naturally get goosebumps when I hear the word prairie or see tumbleweeds. The dream of riding alongside Winnetou or Old Shatterhand one day is still alive...

Music yet again by Four Dollar Wine (aka Thimo Sander and Scott Solary) - an instrumental version of their song "Please Come Home" - which I love dearly and which you can download for free here.

Tumbleweeds in the Pawnee National Grassland

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Horsetooth Mountain - In A Colorado Minute (Week 180)

Horsetooth Mountain - In A Colorado Minute (Week 180) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Overlooking the city of Fort Collins is the distinct Horsetooth Rock atop Horsetooth Mountain in the foothills of the Colorado Front Range. As you see the rock formation from below, the appropriateness of the name is clear. It's even more impressive from up close.

So this week, on a gorgeous and hot autumn day, I hiked around Horsetooth Open Space along lovely trails. Our dog Whiskey was a real trooper on this 6-hour hike. She seemed to love clambering up and down the boulders, sniffing around to her heart's content and didn't seem scared at all as we looked down from the top of the mountain to the valley and Horsetooth Reservoir* below and the peaks of the Rocky Mountains out west. Of course, her favorite part must have been the pool below Horsetooth Falls, which she jumped into immediately.

My favorite part besides the astonishing nature was meeting all the hikers enjoying this lovely Sunday. Locals, tourists, other hikers with dogs and especially this one woman, who makes vaccines for dogs, taught me a few more things about interactions with dogs and who let me film her climb up the actual "teeth" (something I couldn't do with the dog, the camera, the tripod and my big bag). Next time!

The song is yet again the instrumental version of "Somebody New" by Four Dollar Wine. (Dear people, I really need to find some new music: preferably instrumental and a beat about every 2 seconds...)

Horsetooth Rock atop Horsetooth Mountain
Fort Collins, Colorado

* Check-out the 1-minute video "Boat Ride on Horsetooth Reservoir - In A Colorado Minute (Week 179)"

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Afghan Whigs - "Gentlemen" (MusicMonday)

Beware, this is a special, quite personal album Music Monday post.

Thanks to this more detailed article on stereogum, I just realized that the The Afghan Whigs major-label debut album Gentlemen came out 20 years ago.

Gentlemen by The Afghan Whigs
What's so special about this album? Well, it was released right around the time when my husband Scott Solary and I first met. He introduced me to the band and we listened to the record up and down.

The intense song "My Curse" became "our song" (until we discovered "Live Forever" by Oasis a little while later - just in time to become our wedding song - and then followed by many personal songs over the two decades).

Of course, you might think that this song has a rather disturbing message. But I think to us, it was always just about capturing the feeling of such an intense, incomparable and immeasurable love  - a love that is able to survive hurt and makes you willing to give everything and take the risk to love fully. And a song like "Slave To Love" just isn't our style ;-)

My Curse - The Afghan Whigs featuring Marcy Mays - live

Listen to the entire album on Spotify.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Boat Ride on Horsetooth Reservoir - In A Colorado Minute (Week 179)

Boat Ride on Horsetooth Reservoir - In A Colorado Minute (Week 179) [HD] from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Just west of Ft. Collins, Colorado, lies Horsetooth Reservoir: the oasis of water, hills, plants, rocks and stunning views of the sky in all conditions. While I had visited the man-made lake (built 1949) in years past, it was this summer that it became one of my special places - especially Satanka Cove, which I consider one of my Happy Places.

This past week, I finally got to see the entire reservoir from the waterside, when Scott and I rented a small boat at Inlet Bay Marina. It was a glorious day and all of us, including Whiskey, enjoyed zipping around the almost completely empty water (highly recommend weekdays for such outings) and stopping in various coves for fishing, filming, swimming and fur-shaking.

What makes a boat ride at this time of year especially unique, is that the water is extremely low - as you can see by the amount of rocky shore beneath the treeline. This also meant that our happy place rock in Satanka Cove, from which we used to step into the water, is now about 10 feet above water level. It's the one in the video shot from below on which the light and water reflections are dancing.

Another special place are the bright sand-colored rock beaches with the large boulders. I've spent a lot of time there with Scott and Whiskey or just with Whiskey or even just by myself - and have already published quite a few photos and videos from there.

Oh, and to anyone who knows the reservoir well: yes, I did edit this very freely to work with direction of movement and rhythm, so the geography is a bit thrown off.

And if anyone is wondering, yes, I did drive the boat as well and did not crash it into any rocks.

The song is a slightly sped-up version of the song "Butt Naked" by Jason Matherne.

Taking a boat across Horsetooth Reservoir in Ft. Collins, Colorado