About dbzweier

Daniel Zweier is the writer and editor for Eclectic Perspective. He also edits and writes copy for aNewDomain.net. He is finishing up his first novel manuscript, hopefully in stores near you soon!

To WWOOF in Rural France

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More than a year has passed since our WWOOF experience in the rolling, verdant hills near Lagorce, France. But, like every life-affirming experience, I talk about it all the time.

Olive Farm France Ardeche lagorce sunshine

The rundown: a family of four welcomed us to their roughly 3,000 tree, local, independently run organic olive oil farm. Two parents, one son (a grown man slowly taking over his father’s farm), one son’s live-in girlfriend (who used to be a WWOOFer, oh lala) and two massive dogs. We collected olives for over a month, harvesting what felt like the full scope of their immense orchard. We learned some French, ate with the family at all times, and lived a remote, self-sustained life.

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The Metro: Transportation for the Soul

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I’m sort of in love with metros. Is that weird? I think it’s weird. 

Not the smell of over-heated metals rubbing through windy sub-urban tunnels. Not the awkward and illicit encounters late night rides usually provide. And especially not the whole disease ridden, modern-medicine fail, where the zombie-apocalypse starts aspect of the metropolitan transit systems.

London the Tube

Those scare me. What I love is the spider-web. You know, that physical trace of lines we dig like war trenches into the ground, publicly cementing the makeup of our society. It is the connection, the shuffling of hundreds and thousands into straight lines and round bends, all shuttling together and forward towards something. 

Uniformity in the dense complex of human society. Mmm.

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The Live Act: Broken Bells

Concerts are the best. The absolute, without a doubt, best. And after you’ve been to a variety of shows, festivals, bars, lounges, and arenas, you begin to appreciate the performances that truly stand out. The ones that make your jaw drop or your skin tingle—the ones that make you shut your eyes tight and fall into the epic immediacy of live sound.


Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am in love with James Mercer. He is calm and brilliant, understated and gifted — arguably the most influential singer songwriter to serenade my mid-20’s. Broken Bells, his side project (The Shins is his main band), is a collaboration of Mercer’s musical talents and mastermind Dangermouse, legendary producer of Gnarls Barkley, among others.

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Land’s End: Escape From the City of Noise

The hum of a city can creep into your skin. The endless flow of wheels on pavement, of six-second car alarms, of cops hooting and pedestrians blocking your every move. The simple act of parking your car, if you have a car, can turn into the ultimate test (and in my case, fail) of patience.

In Oakland, the city sure creeps. But in San Francisco, that golden dream across a bridge, there is no end to the level of mental and soul-sucking interfusion that can occur. I love these places, I really do, but sometimes you need quiet. You need peace. You need a strong gale of wind stretched into a wide expanse of land or sea and the calm loss of all that hulking metal.

In search of such invigorating peace I reached to the very edge of San Francisco: Land’s End. Yes, it’s a clothing brand, but in S.F. it’s the most northern, far reaching point the city has to offer.

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The Live Act: London Grammar

Concerts are the best. The absolute, without a doubt, best. And after you’ve been to a variety of shows, festivals, bars, lounges, and arenas, you begin to appreciate the performances that truly stand out. The ones that make your jaw drop or your skin tingle—the ones that make you shut your eyes tight and fall into the epic immediacy of live sound.


London Grammar

A group of young Brits, London Grammar are just on the verge of “known.” They were introduced to me as a down-tempo Florence and the Machine, which I still find totally accurate. Stunning and intense vocals by Hannah Reid, synthy space sounds and electronic drums by the dreamy Dot Major, and quiet, controlled guitar licks by Dan Rothman make up this promising group.

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The Live Act: King Krule

Concerts are the best. The absolute, without a doubt, best. And after you’ve been to a variety of shows, festivals, bars, lounges, and arenas, you begin to appreciate the performances that truly stand out. The ones that make your jaw drop or your skin tingle—the ones that make you shut your eyes tight and fall into the epic immediacy of live sound.

Since moving to the Bay Area I have had the privilege and pleasure of seeing some excellent live acts, each of which is unique and inspiring in their own way. Stay tuned for many upcoming Live Act reviews.


King Krule

Now, you may not have heard of King Krule, aka Archy Marshall. You probably haven’t. That’s because the kid is 19, has released precisely one album (and one EP), and falls under the category of slow-blues growl-rock with deeply throated hip hop lyrics. A strange combo, to be sure.

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The Return of the Jedi(s) – Yes, We Became Jedis

It has been longer than either of us would have wanted. We have moved, we have settled. We have lost and gained jobs. We are no longer abroad, but living contentedly (and somewhat restlessly) in the Bay Area. And, we are happy to announce, we will be continuing in this photo-linguistic journey that is Eclectic Perspective!

Where have we moved, you might wonder?? Specifically, Oakland CA. Capital of bad streets, heavy gang activity, stunning roses, whisky induced straight razor shaves, Art Murmur, hearty canine populations, abundant hipsters, and well, a serious dose of Bay Area “cool.” Whatever that is, we’ve got it.

Anyway, I (Daniel) will be brief (for once)! This is a slow opening return. Content will be uploaded bi-weekly, and will include the above mentioned nefarious activities taking place in Oakland, as well as the broader Area. Concerts, hikes, museums, SF street festivals, and all the decadent splendors that this part of California has to offer. Also, the occasional foray into the sunny southern lands, and of course anything else we wish to say.

It’s good to be back. And it’s good to have lightsabers this time around. I think that will really change things.

-Eclectic Perspective

The Obvious Delay…

Hello all!

This is just a brief message to explain our lack of recent posts. We are still currently traveling and assembling our information, to be uploaded soon, and have been for the last months. Unfortunately, our computers and photo collection were stolen over a month ago in Paris. Thus the delay. We hope to be back soon, thank you for your support and viewing!

-Eclectic Perspective

Melody in Milan

Milanfisa Music Store, Milan, Italy, Music, Guitars, InstrumentsThere is a feeling of exultation as you walk through the large, double paneled doors of a medieval church. Then there is the wonder one discovers as they step their toes onto the manicured lawns of a King’s former gardens, with its drooping trees and elaborate fountains. Or maybe shock and awe as you enter an ancient Roman theater, the rocks old with time and rain. Wherever we find ourselves while exploring there are those threshold moments, the crossing from this world into some other existence, some other time. Continue reading

The Old Masters

The air in this place is thick, saturated, as if the dust of time stands in the sky. The sun comes through in a haze of soft light; the buildings assume an ornate and translucent quality. And all day we walk around as if in a daze, the sky colored in such a vague enchanting way. The reality? Milan(o) has almost no pollution regulation. The miraculous, movie-quality effects that filter down and through the ancient city are, in truth, the thick particles of car exhaust, suburb factory smoke, and the visible bustle and hum of a city at large. It puts the quaint smog of Los Angeles to shame.

Piazza della Scala , Milano, Italy, Marco Polo, Da Vinci, Statue, LeonardoThe magical qualities of this fashionista cultural hub continue in all ways. The language lilts like doves skirting in low lying trees—Italians being arguably the loudest and most friendly of all Europeans. The food wafts from corner to corner and as our feet walk towards the inevitably gorgeous Piazza della Scala, we must pause in the pure beauty of this Northern Italian city. Continue reading

Saturday Night

Wall Art, Space Invaders Against Racism, Vienna, AustriaWe are sitting around a plastic table in a smoke filled room. The ceilings are high—old Vienna architecture—and the chatter loud. Deep Purple spins into the air, black wax in the corner of the room, just one record out of a box retrieved by our new German friend. His grandfather had them from back in the day. This is his room, one of four in a large flat in the second district of the city.

As I sit there and listen to the German banter, not really understanding a single word, I am reminded of how similar this all feels. I mean, there are hundred year old buildings just outside, the beer is almost twice as large as normal, and everyone has a strong mixture of love-contempt for American (read, my) culture, but I feel at home. Continue reading

Tri Stoleti

Charles Bridge Prague

Charles Bridge, to the right Tri Stoleti. Pretty, eh?

We wanted a solid Czech meal while walking through the castle of Prague. Authentic was the mindset, the word we had been told to seek out and consume. The Castle itself has only two real food options: touristy small-time vendors selling overpriced doner and romantic outdoor chairs next to hill-side vineyards selling super expensive decent meals. Neither was our thing.

By the time we reached the riverbank we were hungry. Ready for our authentic Czech meal, if we could only find a place. For this particular outing (I’m getting there I promise), we took a hint from TripAdvisor. It pointed us (literally) to a nearby restaurant called Tri Stoleti. It was tucked away among the small wandering streets, just a moments walk from the Charles Bridge, a major landmark in Prague.

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The Stag Moat

The Royal Garden Flower Bed Prague Castle Pražský hradThe Prague Castle is the definition of a tourist attraction.  As well it should be.  It has churches and parks, it has a concert hall and fountains.  Peacocks strut the grounds and hawks stand tethered to low-lying branches.  The castle is a labyrinth of unique grandeur—the modern understanding of a royal palace.

But if you are like me, and I assume you are—because, well, I’m really cool—then you will want something to do that is less crowded.  Nobody likes a sea of contracting lenses  flashing in no-flash areas or large umbrellas intended  to herd tourist groups that, in reality, block your view.  Don’t get me wrong, the castle and its wonders should be viewed in full (especially the iconic St. Vitas church), but you can get away from this loud poshy area right inside the palace grounds.

Yes. You can dip in and out—you can tour and stroll—ike a visitor and citizen, all at once. Continue reading

Sanssoucci

The New Palace Postdam, Germany

They say it’s like the German Versailles. But smaller.

So, you’re in Berlin. You like it: the food, the people, the general way in which the streets bustle and hum. All the green. I get it, I know. But you get tired after some days; you become weary of the long avenues and historic sites, of long walks through the mile-wide parks, of endless drunken raves into the night. Time to mellow out. But where to go?

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The Berlin Wall: A City Rebuilt

Berlin Wall Germany

“The Kiss.” Of fame and legend.

Berlin.  The East-side gallery, AKA the “Berlin Wall.”  Rainy and overcast, I have three coats on and my hood is up.  Here before me stands the most physical remnant of a city with a serious history, with a bloody and confused story.  This wall is a living symbol of all that happened in the Holocaust, the Cold War, the stark division of a society that has thrived for hundreds of years.  It is monumental in the eyes of the world, in the history lessons taught throughout schools in Europe and the U.S.

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