Thursday, November 28, 2013

What is Thanksgiving? - In A Colorado Minute (Week 187)


What is Thanksgiving? - In A Colorado Minute (Week 187) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Thanksgiving is a holiday mainly celebrated in the United States of America and Canada. Most people who speak English know that. In this speedy 1-minute video I try to explain where it came from and what it is today and what I personally think it's all about.

My creative intentions were overly ambitious for this video, yet, I put it together rather rushed under the usual constraint of "make a quick 1-minute every week and try to not let it interfere with your work and personal life so much." So the result is... well, you'll see.

My personal intention I hope comes across. More than any other holiday, this day to me is about reflecting on what I have and what I get to experience and to be thankful for it all.

Since last Thanksgiving, which I spent with friends from America, Wales, Germany (via Spain) in restaurants and bars in Berlin, my mind has opened up more towards the idea of being appreciative even for the lack (or loss) of having "things" and the negative experiences. They teach us lessons, help us to know ourselves and others better, enable growth, and allow us recognize more clearly what we want (and work towards that) and again appreciate what we have.

This year, I'm especially grateful to spend Thanksgiving with my husband and our dog and to be invited to different friends' homes for food, drink and company. I'm also thankful for all my family and friends in America, Germany, Brazil, Spain and around the world - this, my virtual friends, includes you! I always appreciate my health because in the end that is the most important thing. And while it's hard sometimes, I do appreciate the lessons I learned this past year and the growth I've gone through.

Another important aspect about Thanksgiving to me is that while you appreciate what you have, to also be aware of what others may be lacking. Remind yourself of what you can give to others today and every day. I am vowing today that in the coming year I want to give more time and energy to others - especially to those who are not my family and friends.

The music in the video is the instrumental version of "Letting Go" by Josh Woodward. It's available on his website as so many other great songs via a Creative Commons License. Thank you, Josh, again and again for making your awesome music available for us!

The images I used in this video I found either through Wikimedia Commons or the free license search option in Bing Image search to make sure I'm not infringing on anyone's rights by using their image. If I did, please let me know. Also I hope no one is offended by a naked turkey or anything else in the video.

I'm wishing all of you a happy Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Thursday.
xx Luci

History of the American Thanksgiving holiday

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bill Callahan - "Small Plane"

Tonight we're going to see Bill Callahan in Denver, so it's perfect timing to share the charming video for "Small Plane" - the first video off his brand new album Dream River.

Bill Callahan

I love his soothing, deep voice; and the lyrics couldn't be more fitting to some recent experiences and even more recent conversations.

The silent-movie-style video was made by Bill Callahan and Hanly Banks and adds some humor and liveliness to a song that sounds dark and starts off sounding sad, but exudes serenity and calm happiness.




And here is an outdoor live recording via NPR Music.



I'm so excited to finally see Bill Callahan solo (who I believe I saw under the name Smog two decades ago in Gainesville, Florida). Now, if only A. A. Bondy would tour…

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ghost Town Carr - In A Colorado Minute (Week 186)


Ghost Town Carr - In A Colorado Minute (Week 186) [HD] from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

In my search for abandoned buildings (a personal passion) in Colorado, I came across a listing of ghost towns in Colorado.

This week, Scott, Whiskey and I drove out to the one near Fort Collins: the town of Carr. I won't deny that I was a bit disappointed to realize that the listing must have been old and the town of Carr had sprung back to life. Of course, that's great for the small local population.

We still discovered three abandoned buildings (the first one in the video is actually located in Rockport) and a natural sandstone fort, which is said to have been the location of battles between the Crow and Blackfoot tribes and gun fights between outlaws, cowboys and Native Americans.

Before we left the area, I got some shaky shots of a group of wild antelope run away from us. Unfortunately, we didn't see the thousands of buffalo that are supposed to be grazing on the surrounding fields.

The reason why I love abandoned buildings may be obvious to most: they are full of history, energy, stories and unplanned beauty. Something to discover, capture and hold dear.

I'm dedicating this video to my Berlin abandoned building / urbex (urban exploration) friends: Dave of andberlin, Georg of Digital Cosmonaut and Spudnik of Abandoned Berlin and Irish Berliner (since he's withholding his real name online, I won't blow his cover here).

The song is the instrumental version of the song "Fit For A King" by Josh Woodward. It's licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 US License. Thank you, Josh, for making your music available for other creative endeavors.

Abandoned ranch house in Rockport, Colorado (near Carr)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lily Allen - "Hard Out Here" (MusicMonday)

Lily Allen is finally back - and she's back with a bang.

I already shared her sarcastic, witty, fun and provocative video for her new song "Hard Out Here" when it was released on all my social media channels, but that's no reason to not make this song/video, which mocks the sexism in pop culture (happens to be a personal pet peeve of mine), a Music Monday post and share it again.



Can't wait to hear the new album, which is still in the recording phase.

Heads-up: this video (directed by Christopher Sweeney) is not suitable for work or people offended by certain language and body parts.

Among other things, Lily Allen mocks the video for Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" - well illustrated in this gif.

Lily Allen in the video for "Hard Out Here"

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Photos of Pianos About Town in Fort Collins, Colorado

While shooting the video "Pianos About Town – In A Colorado Minute (Week 185)" I also took a bunch of photos. Here are a little more than a few.

To watch the 1-minute video and read more about this public art project, please visit the website for my weekly web series Moving Postcard (home of In A Colorado Minute, In A Berlin Minute, In A Brooklyn Minute, and In Another Minute).

Artist: Francisco Esteban
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artists: David Heskin and Aloria Weaver
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Credits + Contact
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artist: Karin Schwarz
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artist: Karin Schwarz
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artist: Karin Schwarz
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artist: Suzanne Faris
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado 
Jonathan Sadler plays the piano painted by Alison Dickson
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado 
Artists (l to r): Terry McNerney, Stanley Scott, Jennie Milner, Katherine Warren, Laurie Beth Zuckerman, Gale Whitman
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artists (l to r): Terry McNerney, Stanley Scott
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artist: Terry McNerney
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artist: Jennie Milner
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado 
Artist: Laurie Zuckerman
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado


Badgers by Laurie Zuckerman
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artists: Kirsten Savage and Micah Richardson
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artist: Kirsten Savage
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artist: Kirsten Savage
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artists (l to r): Suzanne Faris, Jaime Gastelle, Werner Schreiber, Jessie Dore
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado 
Artist: Jaime Gastelle
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artist: Jaime Gastelle
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artist: Werner Schreiber
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artist: Werner Schreiber
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artists (l to r): Suzanne Faris, Jaime Gastelle, Werner Schreiber, Jessie Dore
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado 

Artist: Jessie Dore
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Artists (l to r): Katherine Warren, Chris Bates, Ren Burke
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado 

Artists (l to r): Ren Burke and Werner Schreiber
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado 

Artists (l to r): Werner Schreiber, Gale Whitman
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado 

Artist: Gale Whitman
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado 

Artists (l to r): Laurie Zuckerman, Ren Burke, Rolfe Bausta
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado 

Artists (l to r): Chelsea Glanz, Laurie Zuckerman, Werner Schreiber
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado 

Artists: David Heskin and Aloria Weaver
Pianos About Town, Ft. Collins, Colorado
- from my Instagram feed -
Watch the 1-minute video: Pianos About Town – In A Colorado Minute (Week 185)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pianos About Town - In A Colorado Minute (Week 185)


Pianos About Town - In A Colorado Minute (Week 185) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Pianos About Town is a lovely interactive public art installation in Fort Collins, Colorado. Since 2010, painted pianos can be found around the wider Old Town  (downtown) area, inviting everyone to sit down and play a little tune. Between May and October, selected artists paint murals on donated pianos outside for the public to watch. In the winter months,most of the instruments disappear into display windows in the Mitchell Block Building (262 East Mountain Avenue) and into a larger storage room.

Unfortunately, I missed the window before most of the art pieces went into their winter hibernation. But thanks to Mary Timby and Derf Green of the Bohemian Foundation, I was given special access to film not only inside the display rooms but also the hidden treasure trove of the full collection, usually not visible to the public. Thank you so much again, Mary and Derf.

In addition, I was able to track down most of the pianos that will remain outside for the winter. A charming fact is that each instrument comes with a tarp and a sign encouraging the public to cover the pianos at night and during bad weather.

My next thank you goes to Jonathan Sadler, who just happened to sit down at the piano outside the Mitchell Building as I was filming inside. He let me record him and use his spontaneous composition for the video. This couldn't have been more fitting because the whole idea of this art installation seems to be the spontaneous playfulness and making surprising connections - and, of course, there's the noise of street life. Thank you, Jonathan!

I love the idea of public art, interactive art and bringing music into public places. These are the kinds of things that inspire us to be active, creative, social and to break out of our shell, put a smile on someone's face and maybe even come up with an idea how to brighten another town.
In a city where I have not seen a single piece of street art (and if you know me or my videos and photography at all, you must know that I'm having serious withdrawal), it was a real pleasure to discover this project. I think that this takes the cows of New York City and the bears of Berlin to a whole other level. There is another project in town that featured painted electric boxes. I may feature those in a future video.

This project functions on several levels: giving old pianos a new life, exposure for artists, the enjoyment and inspiration of art outdoors and, of course, the fun of playing music, listening to music and making a connection with another stranger.

The painters of the pianos in order of appearance:

Outdoors
- David Heskin and Aloria Weaver (Old Town Square)
- Alison Dickson (Jazz Alley)
- Francisco Esteban (Museum of Discovery)
- Suzanne Faris (Lyric Cinema)
- Karin Schwarz (Tenney Alley)

Display Room 1 (from left to right)
- Terry McNerney
- Stanley Scott
- Jennie Milner
- Katherine Warren
- Laurie Beth Zuckerman
- Gale Whitman

Display Room 2 (from left to right)
- Kirsten Savage
- Micah Richardson
- Jolan Von Plutzner
- Suzanne Faris
- Jaime Gastelle
- Werner Schreiber
- Jessie Dore

Storage
- Katherine Warren
- Chris Bates
- Ren Burke
- Werner Schreiber
- Gale Whitman
- Laurie Zuckerman
- Ren Burke
- Rolfe Bausta

My personal favorites are the Victorian lady, the piano of bugs (reminds me of a book I used to hold dear when I lived in Gainesville, Florida) and the one with the dark butterflies in the storage hall (which was recently damaged by an intoxicated and obviously pretty lame guy).

But I can tell you already that my favorites are the Victorian lady, the piano of bugs (reminds me of a book I used to hold dear when I lived in Gainesville, Florida) and the one with the dark butterflies in the storage hall (which was recently damaged by an intoxicated and obviously pretty lame guy).

Pianos About Town is a collaboration Bohemian Foundation, the Downtown Development Authority's Art in Action Program, and the City of Fort Collins’ Art in Public Places Program. Well done!

A blog post with photos from this shoot will be up on my personal blog in a few days - and I may also publish an extended version of the video in the near future, because there were so many shots I had to cut for the 1-minute version.

If you'd like to see and hear more, check out the video about Chris Bates painting one of the pianos while musicians give their own live performance.

One of the Pianos About Town in Fort Collins, Colorado
(When I've figured out the artist's name, I will add it)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Photos from the Pawnee Buttes Trail

These photos I took on two different trips out the Pawnee Buttes in the Pawnee National Grassland while shooting the 1-minute video "Pawnee Buttes – In A Colorado Minute (Week 184)"

Watch the video and read more about the Pawnee Buttes on the website for my weekly video series: MovingPostcard.com.

The Pawnee Buttes
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado
Pawnee Buttes sign
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado
What are those plants called? Can't wait to see what they look like in spring and summer...
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado
Scott and Whiskey on the trail
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado
"We're hoppy, you're happy"
Random can of Ranger India Pale Ale in a skull coozie
Nesting Birds of Prey
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado 
Chalk Bluffs
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado
Pawnee Buttes seen from the Lipps Bluff
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado
Chalk Peak
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado
As Dianne Darr Couts pointed out: these plants look like underwater plants
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado
Grasshopper Shell
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado
Sun is starting to set on the Pawnee Buttes Trail
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado
The Pawnee Buttes Trail seen one way...
The Pawnee Buttes Trail seen the other way.

Getting closer to the West Butte.
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado
  
Looking back across the Pawnee Grassland from the foot of the West Butte… absolute serenity.

West Butte
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado

West Butte up close and personal
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado

Side view of the West Butte
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado

West Butte Face
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado

Is it called algae when it grows out in the dry air? Lichen?
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado

Plants in the front, East Butte in the back.
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado

Almost made it to the larger East Butte before sunset. Almost.
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado


Whiskey running, running, running...
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado

The Pawnee Buttes at dusk
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado

Lipps Chalk Bluff right after sunset
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado


On my way to the Pawnee Buttes with my camera and tripod
Photo by Scott Solary

Shadow self-portrait in the blowing wind on top of Lipps Bluff
Pawnee National Grassland - Colorado

Pawnee Buttes and Lipps Bluff
- published via Instagram -
The path to the West Butte, Colorado, in black and white
- published via Instagram -

The road less traveled?
Pawnee Grassland, Colorado
- published via Instagram -

My angelic soled Fluevog boots after a wonderful hike in the Pawnee National Grassland, Colorado
- published via Instagram -

Want to see more, watch the video: Pawnee Buttes – In A Colorado Minute (Week 184)