Friday, June 6, 2014

Auf Weidersehen

Wien, you were magical. Your sausages are adorable. Your American bars stocked with Cuban cigars delicious. As the wise man said, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Principal Photography is Wrapped

And in an amusement park of all places. Der Prater is kind of fun, if you're into the last 20 minutes of Space Odessey. This is where I go Kubrickian, but the final product will tell the tale. There's so much work to be done in post. I'm embedding a trip to the BBC studios in Oxford inside a trip to Portland to record VO.

This will kill me or save me.

Shooting, Day 4

The DP, our handler, and all our gear. We've been fortunate in our ability to arrange for before and after hours visits to museums and cafés. Setting up alone is a bitch, plus there's scouting, pulling focus, setting white balance, changing lenses, changing cameras, and lots and lots of shooting. It takes time, at least if you want to shoot more than the standard family vacation video. But what really sucks time is waiting for all the tourists to get out of the way. Nothing kills a period shot like Aunt Melba wandering through the frame in lime green pants and a USA Forever! hat.

Fortunately, and as you've probably noted by now, Karen didn't join us during shoots. I think she likely had a much lovelier time.

Rough Life

Sure, we're schlepping a 120 lb dolly and 60 lbs worth of gear (our wide angle lens alone is worth about 4k), but it's really hard to complain. I mean, we could be making a documentary about sewage treatment plants or something else equally savory.

Shooting, Day 3

A perfect shoot will drive people who aren't in the business of shooting crazy. Take this example: we have an etching of the street outside the Vienna opera house that we were able to match with the camera. So we spent two hours with two cameras, three lenses, and a dolly capturing stationeries, pans and tracking shots on the sidewalk in front of a souvenir shop. We got really excited when one bus passed another while the trolley rolled by in the background and some cyclists sped through the frame. It looks great, but I'm pretty sure the client thinks we're nuts.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Coffeehouse v.6

At Dremel, home of the best cakes in Vienna.


Coffeehouse v. 5

This time with cats, at Vienna's only cat cafe.

More from the MAK

How does one wear this?

From the Helmut Lang Archive at the MAK.

Installation at MAK

Belvedere Palace

I can't take Michael anywhere. Hopefully, my image of the gardens will be slightly more chaste.

European Palace Statuary

I just love it. So perky.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Shooting on Location

So after all these posts, the question begs: Uh, what are you doing in Vienna in the first place?

We're making a documentary. In 1814, the Congress of Vienna drew the lines that divided Europe among the great empires for 100 years. In 1914, Europe sleepwalked into The Great War, which set the stage for the next 80 years of conflict and uneasy detente. In 2014, what can we learn?

Sponsored by The International Peace Institute, a UN think tank, and paid for by Canada and Norway, Tim (Director of Photography) and I (Writer/Director) have been shooting in museums, palace gardens, the Prater, and on the street for days. And there's more work ahead. It's been a rough shoot, but hey, it's one of the greatest cities on earth.

Coffeehouse v. 4

Cafe Sacher this time for the famous chocolate and apricot Sacher Torte. Whipped cream on everything (even the coffee).

And more

Words of wisdom?

From the Attention Economy exhibition at the Kunsthalle.

Secession building

A reminder that we have landed in the land of Art Nouveau. Locals now endearingly call it the golden cabbage, but back in the day critics compared it to a public restroom.

Great hang at the Kunsthistoriches Museum

Great hair at the Kunsthistoriches Museum

Viennese coffeehouses, take 3

In 2011 Vienna's coffeehouses were added to the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, essentially as places where time and space are consumed. This afternoon, time, space, and coffee were consumed at Cafe Dreschler--the hipster coffeehouse.

Museumsquartier lounging


Vienna's Museum of Modern Art is dramatically clad in basalt. Along with the Kunsthalle, Leopold Museum, and Zoom Children's Museum, it forms the lively Museumsquartier Complex.

Sigmund Freud Museum

The home and offices where Freud spent his most pivotal years.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Best meal in Vienna

Heavy, but fresh and delicious, served with amazing Viennese wine in a dark, smoky cave by the most attentive and amiable waiter we've experienced all trip.

Wein bar

Like Hungary, Austria has its own tradition of wine production. Many of the wineries lie along the outskirts of Vienna. We've sampled light white wines and smooth, full-bodied reds and been impressed by both.

And right outside...

You find yourself in a market, complete with stalls of artisan vendors and an outdoor bier hall.


This Gothic masterpiece of a church sits in the very heart of the city.


I'm going to learn German and move here. This city is fantastic.

Viennese coffeehouse tour stop 2

Cafe Sperl is old school. Grand but slightly faded.

Garbage Upcycling Design

This hip boutique in an area of art galleries and upscale hair salons transforms trash into treasure, creating fun and functional furniture, bags and jewelry with discarded materials. Love the book stool!

Follow the music

It's our first night in Vienna, Sunday night, and the streets and squares are filled with people enjoying the balmy weather. After a meal of hearty Viennese cuisine, we head back on foot to our hotel. Hearing music, we decide to follow it to an impressive temporary stage plopped into the most magnificent square. Moonlight Breakfast performed a mix of moody vocals and electronic beats. Then an overly earnest and derivative Austrian band--think U2 meets Death Cab For Cutie in German. But you have to love a city that organizes summer concerts of new music and a population that stays up late to watch them on a school night.


We kicked off our visit to Vienna at the venerable Cafe Central. Trotsky and Lenin played chess here. So begins our tour of the Viennese coffee house...

Gellert Baths

What happens when you combine the romantic architecture of Budapest with the amenities of a spa and the customer service of the DMV? The Gellert Baths, of course! A quintessential Budapest experience, the Baths feature mineral water in a wide range of temperatures and assortment of pools--all against a stunning backdrop. It's not your typical spa experience, though. Bring your own towel, or be prepared to put down a $20 deposit to rent one. Wayfinding inside is minimal, and don't rely on the preoccupied and non-English speaking staff to help. Find your way as best you can, and in the process experience the best possible cross-section of Budapest's population, folks of all ages and body types experiencing the healing waters. The Baths also offer an astonishing array of medical treatments, including dental surgery. After an efficient and competent massage on a vinyl table with a masseuse named Attila, and some subsequent soaking, I was relaxed and ready for the next portion of our journey...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Best streetlights ever

Wines of Hungary

We've been surprised and delighted by the range and quality of Hungarian wines. We found the familiar--Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and the exotic--Furmit, Juhfart, Kéhnelü. Many are light and mineraly, providing perfect accompaniment to the heavy and paprika-saturated cuisine.

All Your Goulash is Belong to Us

Karpatia encompasses the finest in Magyar dining: a series of cozy, distinctively adorned rooms, roving bands of folk musicians, and enough paprika to stun a horse. I'll take mine in an opening soup course, followed by a bright orange chicken with dumplings. And it was a real chicken, not one of those factory chickens. It's a difference you can taste.

Graphic Affrontery

This is a bottle of water, but dear lord could they have abused the label stock any more? First, what's up with the name? I'm sure in Hungarian it rolls off the tongue, but for the rest of us... Then there's the heart and crown motif, with a crooked cross and a color pallet to make your eyes bleed. The two-tone text, combined with drop shadows on steroids, not to mention the background patterning, sends this to new heights of design lows. And the text at bottom? Having a little too much fun with word art, are we? D-

Foie Gras Creme Brûlée

I didn't know such a thing existed, but my new quest is to eat as much of it as possible.

On a side note, it was paired with a turrine of foie that was better than Keller's. And in what surely must be one of the signs of the apocalypse, I got Karen to try a bite. Take that, PETA.