The Brilliance!


We’re really internet and we’re really back. A website about things Benjamin , Chuck , Virgil , and various friends & guests think are interesting. Little-to-no specific focus, a bit odd, speling errors, and incredibly culturally relevant.


THE BRILLIANCE! We’re a web page & we’re back!!

INTERNET #BLOGS #LOL Man!! We’re back! This is crazy. It’s been almost exactly 3 years since we took a “vacation” from posting and almost 8 years since we started. When we launched there wasn’t twitter, facebook, instagram, etc. I think myspace was getting rolling, but whatever. Images are now running the web, with only a few clear winners (JJJJound, Yimmy, etc.) Feels weird even right now to type more than 140 characters. Feels kinda good though. Chuck, myself, Virgil - shave all worked on some crazy stuff in the past 3 years - have seen some crazy stuff in the past 3 years. What can I say, we’re stoked to be back here giving our commentary - irreverent and grammatically incorrect as usual - on culture, products, music, whatever. And interviewing people we dig!!!! Man, missed that. Basically just being super internet and doing whatever we want man. Chuck and I just started this whole thing off taking our constant emails back and forth and putting them on the web, craze, I programmed the original CMS myself at a coffee shop on a DELL!!!1 I met Virgil through this site, he came on and its still the same thing today: taking all the communication and experiences the 3 of us have together and throwing them on the web.

I think I got a new tagline: “THE BRILLIANCE! We’re a web page.”

Yo! Hashtags weren’t even cool when we started, ha. Cheers to Chuck and Virgil, let’s have fun with this again.

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Apple’s “Magical” iPad.

“Whoa, the new iPhone is huge!” I gotta get this post up/out of the way while its still fresh in my mind - and while I’m watching the replay of Steve presenting it. If you read our site you know I love Apple. Some friends say I do too much - but they truly are the best when it comes to products that capture our imagination, I’ll argue anyone on that. Today Steve Jobs showed us the iPad for the first time. Hmmm. I guess I’ll just go right in - its truly beautiful looking, does what it does very well it seems, the price point is almost unbelievable (in a good way), and it will set the tone in the market. But is it “magical”? The iPhone was like getting hit in the head with a basketball in gym class - stunning. It totally changed the way you thought about phones - it really was, as they said, 5 years ahead of its time. Magical. But this iPad, especially to existing Apple users, doesn’t make you want to grab your card and immediately purchase it without thought like most of their products tend to do - they usually fill whatever need/gap PERFECTLY. So, with that said, its interesting to think that the iPad isn’t filling an existing need - but maybe creating a new one? Also, I mentioned “existing Apple users” - there is a huge chance that this is not who they are concerned about. I see my grand mother and parents who either don’t use Apple products, or are just getting into them, purchasing this device - and never seeing a reason to buy a MacBook. You know? It truly is nudging itself between the iPhone and the MacBook - and again, it will set the trend and it will be copied, period. But for us who’d seen all the patent stuff, rumors, speculation stuff - let’s be honest - it was a bit underwhelming. No flash support? No camera? Isn’t the bezel kind of big (I know its for holding)? No multi-tasking? Apps run in the middle of the huge screen at their native size??? Etc. But you know who doesn’t care even a bit about those - a ton of people with $499 to spend. Like, a TON. And if you missed Apple’s $15+B quarter announcement for the end of 2009 - let it remind you that not only do they make really, really amazing products - they make really, really amazing amounts of money and its certainly not on accident. “I have to say though, watching it is nothing like getting it in your hands.” - Steve Jobs. I’m going to admit this is the probably case, and that while I’m on the fence about one now - I’ll play with it and my heart will melt a bit. The price is unreal, this is just the first version - its only going to be approved upon. So Apple, yeah, I was hoping for something just insane - but I’m excited to watch you define a totally new category. ***Steve looks healthy too doesn’t he? Good stuff.

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NEW INTERVIEW! Maestro Knows!

So yeah, I first posted about Maestro not that long ago at all - maybe a few weeks ago at most? In that mean time, we’d been chatting and decided an interview would be fun. You really get the feeling watching Levi that he’s going to be “super big” soon - tv, documentary, movie, something we’ve never conceptualized before. A dreamer and a doer - and positive inspiration for so many kids in this culture and beyond. A great interview with him, we’re honored to have it in our collection.

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It’s getting cold in here, burr, Diplo presents: Gucci Mane!

Blend all the scenes, every single one of them!! This is one of those classic juxtapositions - I love all the people who thought Gucci was super terrible find themselves thinking: “hmm, maybe I can get into it.” Diplo summed it up best by saying Gucci never said he is anything he isn’t, he’s just enjoy himself and making music. We look at Baile Funk, for example, as this amazing sounding music from a far-off land - thus better or more “cultural” than what we have here state-side right? Thats what makes it fascinating right? I’ve always wondered what the creative kids in, say Paris, who don’t speak much English, think of Gucci Mane. You know? Or some kid in Denmark. How we seeBaile Funk could be how they see Gucci Mane, you know? There is a weird, kind of intangible thing to msuic from other cultures where you can’t understand what they’re saying, etc. Anyway - thats the magic of Diplo, anything goes - his curation doesn’t have a formula, its this beautifully messy collection of a zillion different styles of music from a zillion different cultures. Call me on it, who cares, but Gucci has this Willy Wonka approach to the entire “rap game” - super creative. What’s seen maybe as cliche, the jewelry, the cars, etc, the bravado, etc, etc - he just does it better than anyone else. The old Bart Simpson chain??, perfect. And if you haven’t seen the Miss Info interviews on youtube, they’re super interesting. All this analytical stuff aside: BURR BURR!!! ***And yeah, its “nsfw”/offensive music to some, whatever.

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2009, year in review!

Alright, here is my full year in review, sike! “2009?? Never heard of it.” - Benjamin Edgar

2010 is here, but lets be honest, its just a date on a calendar - nothing has ACTUALLY changed? But you know, its a nice to have like a “place-marker” to move past, re-consider and do new stuff. I’m getting more and more like Mr. Lagerfeld in my complete disinterest in the past - I just don’t care about it. Here’s to the future everybody! Here’s to a year full of fun. Building the brands/businesses/projects I’m already a part of and some fun new ones too that I’ve been working on. Can’t wait to see what happens with some of them. Hearing new music. Goofing around more. Traveling. Having a ton of fun. Get out what you put in! Alright, back to this new South Rakkas Crew album and diet coke! Woowww. See you on the internet, later crocodiles.

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I went to Art Basel Miami! And all YOU get is this lousy post!

That title was supposed to be like those tourist shirts, did it work?! Ha. Oh boy. So this post will be two parts. #1, my first experience in South Beach/Miami. #2, the whole Art Basel experience. Both of which get an “A++++ WOULD BUY AGAIN - FAST SHIPPING, ASSET!” rating. So #1, Dear Miami & South Beach: I think I kind of fell in love with you. I expected you to be a corny club girl with hot-pants, bad shoes, heavy tan, and a fake Chanel bag - but I was all wrong. Please forgive me. Seriously though, I guess I don’t know what I was expecting, and yeah, there is some corny Florida stuff happening down there - but its super cosmopolitan, has like a real thick “feel” to it. Almost like I wasn’t in the states except for the extremely convenient placement of CVS’s and Walgreens all over the place. Maybe it was just because Basel was going on, but the fashion, the people, the scenes, the parties (zomg!), the super relaxed vibe, the amazing weather, and my goodness to you guys love your cars. Sheesh, was like a car show down there. So yeah, I’ll be back for sure this year actually looks like in the next couple weeks. And…I’ve actually looked at condos in downtown, thanks to people buying things they can’t afford there are some amazing deals, bam. #2, Basel itself. Simply overwhelming. Take the Chicago auto show, make it a bit bigger, and then throw some of the worlds most amazing art into a space that size. Just unreal. Then you’ve got all the other related fairs, Scope, Pulse, etc. All of which were amazing. Its certainly got an art-snob feel to it though - good or bad - just does. Lots of wrist-glancing by the snooty gallery owners. Ha, imagine: “Ugh, a Bretling, seriously?...looks like I’ll be selling just signed prints all weekend, omg.” Ha, sorry, but its somewhat true, and you thought walking into a Porsche dealership was rough. Basel, the main affair, is certainly a members-only club where the art shown is tightly controlled and who can buy it is even tighter. Makes you really, really appreciate events like ArtPrize here in Grand Rapids. All that said, hell of a trip to Miami, I got to see some amazing art & partied way too hard (Max Fish!!!). Can’t wait to do it again next year.

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Maestro Knows!!

I hope you’re all calling me “late” on this post - mostly because I really hope you’ve all gotten familiar with Mr. Levi Maestro, and his SHOW (not blog!) known as Maestro Knows. I’m actually chilling at my favorite restaurant/bar right now eating some General Tso’s chicken and having a Coors Light - wasting time on twitter, etc. And I wanted to throw up a quick post on what I’ll go ahead and call a new phenomenon in this whole “niche culture” thing we participate in - yeah, I think his show is a bit of a phenomenon. Thing that struck me, first time I watched his show, was how nice he seemed/was. No cool guy attitude. This is so important to me!! Maestro is stoked to simply be doing what he wants to be doing that he can’t be distracted by being “too cool”. His show is a simple yet brilliant almost like point-of-view connection with people he finds super interesting and what they do on a day to day. Think of it as a travel show almost. And his quirky use of twitter to connect with people who dig what he’s up to and build a personality/brand on-line beyond just his show. Its really in the details with what he’s up to. He’s really creating a pretty fantastic brand. Maestro and I actually had a chance to catch up in Chicago not too long ago - so yeah, ha, I got to verify all this in person. He’s a cool dude, doing super cool stuff using the web/his creativity/vision and I’d place my bets that he’s going to be up to some huge things in the near future. I think he’s a great ambassador to “niche culture”. If you haven’t checked out his show yet - please do!! Stay tuned for more.

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Ellis’ no-hitter on LSD!!!

James Blagden has been a friend of THE BRILLIANCE for a while now. We love his work - he’s a super talented, super creative dude who also loves sports, which I personally really appreciate. Anyways, this is just amazing. The drawings, the animation, the story, the actual voiceover of Ellis from a radio interview he did before he passed away…The story goes that on June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitched a no-hitter while completely out of his mind, tripping on LSD. I don’t need to say much more than that, just watch the video. It’s quite awesome. Created by James Blagden for No Mas NYC.

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Red Bull Air Races! My goodness.

A friend of mine just put me on to this, had never seen it before. It’s kind of a like, Nascar 10x and in three dimensions, and more…beauty to it. And danger, my goodness. So I had no idea Red Bull actually has an action sports “think-tank” where they actually dream up new sports. Ha? It makes such perfect sense though, just watching this sport feels like drinking 2-3 Red Bulls. No joke. Writing anything trying to describe this sport doesn’t really make sense - its best to watch it. But briefly, its small, extremely agile/fast, and apparently very simple prop-powered planes through a course with pylons known as air gates that are super small either completely horizontal, or at a perfect 90 degree angle known as “knife-edge”. They seriously have about 3-4 meters on the side of each wine between these pylons and they’re doing 250mph. If that wasn’t enough, the races usually take place over open bodies of water, rivers, air-fields, or natural wonders…and usually about 25-50 feet off the ground. Seriously, just nuts to watch! I dig the kind of international feel of the sport and while super fast cars on a closed track can be (kind of) interesting - everyone, and I mean everyone’s imagination is captured by airplanes and flight. This is confirmed by the 800,000+ people in attendance at the Barcelona race. Cha-ching for Red Bull. Video games, merchandise, licensing, movies, syndication to networks, etc, etc, etc. And, cool that Hulu has them to watch for free.

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Inc. Magazine: Jason Fried, this is how I work!

Man, I’m blogging!! I haven’t done this many posts in a while. I’ve been feeling semi-relaxed these past few days, maybe that’s why. Whatever. So, I always worry that I’m going to sound fan-boyish when I talk about people I admire - maybe I shouldn’t care. Either way. People like Jason Fried are really interesting to listen to - either you loathe his attitude towards things or you really identify with him. His latest article in Inc. Magazine is him giving a glimpse into how he operates day to day. Funny, we interviewed him a while back and asked some of the exact same questions. People, I think for the most part, are drawn to him not just because he’s got a wildly successful business but because he seems to have a business/personal life that are woven well together. Most people don’t, you know? Maybe that’s just why I enjoy reading his thoughts. It’s weird, I imagine Steve Jobs is quite different from Jason Fried, but there are similarities. I have oddly placed their insights in the same “mental bin” in my head. Hmm. Anyway, great feature, check it out at the link below.

***You know whats bugging me, is people in comments asking Jason, directly, how they can: skip meetings, come in late, minimize work weeks, etc, etc, etc, and make money like 37signals does. He never said it would work for you. He’s simply giving a look into what makes 37signals work. Not everything translates to your business, you know? And honestly, I feel like as soon as you have to ask those questions you already don’t “get it”. Probably the same reason why I can’t stand self-help books. Ugh.