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.

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“In this up and down economy I am outsourcing my wardrobe (namely shirts) to corporate america and you!” Ha, love the introduction. So this project,, is the brainchild of a friend and colleague of mine, Mr. Jason Sadler of Thought+Theory. I remember when he hit me up with the idea…I thought it was great, super fun back then (like 2 weeks ago, ha) but I think its even better now seeing it up in action. Love the design, nice work Dennis, the execution, all the copy…the whole thing is super fun and perfectly simple. Its got a little bit of the magic that Million Dollar Home Page had. And actually, it has a very Connect Ventures feel to it. So yeah, I’ve already purchased a pre-sale spot…I don’t even know if there are any left…if there are you should grab one, $10?? Can’t go wrong. I can’t wait to see how this project turns out.

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Off Bowery: “Turn your lifestyle into a job, man!”

A-ron’s Off Bowery movement just threw out a little synopsis video I guess you’d call it highlighting someone of the scene/culture creators that make up the Off Bowery gang. Not super long, but interesting as always. A look into current culture that matters, at the scene level, you know? We’ve been fans of A-ron’s work since before we interviewed him - always nice to see a bit more into what he’s up to directly from the man himself. I like the little testimonial/quote things they have thrown in there as well. He says it best though: “Turn your lifestyle into a job, man.” We couldn’t agree more. Check the video at the link below. ***...Signing off from sunny Vero Beach, off to dinner.

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Jay Walker’s library…I think he has Nigo beat.

Wow. And wow. Just found this in the latest issue of Wired mag. So Jay Walker, who is the founder of and Walker Digital, has what I would imagine is the most amazing museum-crushing geek collection of amazing artifacts and memorabilia…ever…and its all in his home’s 3,600 square foot library. I don’t even know where to start. The library structure itself is straight out of movie…hardly looks real. It’s got a maze like layout with tons of different levels, super classic wood-paneled design, walls-wall-ceilling-ceiling book shelves, and an MC Escher-esque wood floor pattern throughout. But its the collection of items…my goodness: a real Russian Sputnik (one of the backups that was never sent), books bound in real rubies, props form James Bond movies, the napkin Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his plan to win WW2 on, a complete Raptor skeleton, the manual to the Saturn V rocket that brought the Apollo 11 team to the moon, 15 pound meteorites, fossilized dinosaur eggs, the ‘Thing’ hand from Addam’s Family, the 1665 Bills of Mortality from London that track The Plague week by week (?!), a zillion (citation needed) books of every variety from 500 years-old to current, and too many other things to list…just an amazing, amazing collection of cool ‘stuff’. And while he has done tours for school kids, business execs, and friends, no press has ever been allowed to document except Wired as of just recently. This is just that classic like what would happen if Peter Pan was rich type thing, ha. Link to the story below.

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Maxfields, Merchandising Masters!!!

Yo Yo. What a fresh shop I was clueless about until Lupe hipped me to it, Maxfields in LA. On par with the growing number of select shops in the world what really makes them stand out is their next level jewelery sprinkled throughout the store and their merchandising tactics. I mean, for vintage luxury luggage nuts like me seeing one Hermes nude leather monster size Birkin is cool, but seeing like 4 stacked on top of each other along with 3 hard sided Louis trunks, all in the same shade of nude….I thought that was pretty amazing. All for sale too. Even the taxidermy cheetah off in the corner was for sale and style. Super fresh. They had these Balenciaga high top’s in my size I’d been looking for so that was cool, and the Lanvin selections were on point. Not too snobby & Mary Kate approved, get busy.

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Fast Company says: Grand Rapids is America’s greenest city!

Ah, another win for my favorite little-big-city. I’m pretty into this. So yeah, when you think of Michigan, and you’re not from here, you probably think of Detroit, a failing auto industry, manufacturing plants, and all things associated with these…none of which are green in the least, you know? While the state has some work yet to do, and a rocky re-organization of core-industry, we do have something going for us and Fast Company gave us the nod: Grand Rapids! We started really getting attention for our focus on sustainability and general ‘greeness’ with the new art museum we’ve got downtown. Speaking of which, I was just there catching the Richard Avedon exhibit - epic. Anyway, I just wanted to tout my city yet again here on THE BRILLIANCE…Grand Rapids is pretty fantastic. Check the article below.

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3 things I like right now!

I didn’t really want to make a post on each one specifically, so I just threw them all together. #1 - The Mash SF x Cinelli track bike. Whoa. Totally ground-up design, no corny branding, beautiful geometry, custom (!!!?) black Campagnolo Record groupo, and made from Columbus steel…had this been around at the time, I think I may have skipped on the Pista Concept. Maybe. Congrats to the Mash SF guys, you’re doing amazing things. #2 - The Peek mobile email device. Its the most stripped down mobile email device available - no phone, no internet, no apps, just email. Super thin, love the square design, and only $19.95 a month flat-fee for national access. I really hope they eventually offer an international package. I just dig this thing. Just a fun, useful, and simple device. #3 - Rob Brandt’s ceramic crinkle cups. Awesome. I have one sitting in my office. They’re the perfect substitute for boring (typical) wine glasses. Its amazing, they really look like a crinkled plastic cup. Super cool, and affordable.

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2/3rds of THE BRILLIANCE! is off to Asheville, NC!!

A little business/vacation trip for Chuck and myself. I’ve never been to Asheville, or anywhere in North Carolina before…always cool to visit new places. And we’re lucky enough to be staying at what looks like a pretty fantastic resort/spa called the Grove Park Inn & Spa. Yeah, looks super nice…especially the spa. I already made my appointment. I think we’re hitting up the whole Biltmore Estate thing as well. Anyway, yeah, looking forward to it…I haven’t traveled with Chuck (and now his wife too!) in a while, so should be fun. That’s my post. And just FYI, I’m eating a 12 inch Italian BMT from Subway right now, and its delicious.

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Artists doing great work…who are they?? You tell me.

Typically I get a post together after doing research on a bunch of different artists on a bunch of different sites and report here about all the amazing talent I’ve found. Well, I’ve searched the internet high and low, I’ve looked through every art and design book in existence, and scoured countless magazines, and I am sad to report I have not found a single interesting person to write about….
...Ok, that’s not actually true at all. In fact, I think I could probably fill a post like, a paragraph, maybe a paragraph-and-a-half, full of a ton of amazing artists I’ve discovered in the last month alone. Like 6 artists. Maybe 6½ artists even. The ½ being this one guy who I thought was pretty good but not that good. So anyways, there’s a point to all this…I was thinking - I love our readers, all 9 of you - and I think it would be fun to have you all send artists in who maybe I’ve not seen before, or need to be reminded of, that I could post about on here and give some attention to. As you’ve probably figured out if you read The Brilliance, I love to post about talented and creative people…so I’m taking recommendations for the next week or so. Please send me links to your favorite artists at and I will read and consider for a new post, or series of posts, depending on how many quality links I get. Feel free to send as many links and suggestions as you’d like but please know we don’t really feel like can’t due to very busy schedules, respond to all emails we get. Thanks…let’s see those URL HTTP webpages!!!!1

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Shawn Frayne matters: his wind power invention!!

‘...and you can call the energy out of the wind…’ Love this guy, love his invention, love his pitch…and his whole ‘swagger’ dare I say. So real quick, Shawn Frayne is a young inventor who has a brilliant little product that generates power from the wind - but without the typical turbine - and instead with a belt that basically ‘flaps’ in the wind. Its a controlled flap, and the video will make all this easier to understand, that undulates two magnets between metal coils which of course creates a simple generator. It was initially designed for 3rd world countries but can certainly be useful in any number of environments. I’m impressed on so many different levels by this product… (1) It’s so amazingly simple its almost beautiful. Really. It’s so organic in how it works/moves too…just adds to the beauty. (2) It scales unbelievably well. You can stack them, make them bigger, smaller, etc. (3) It’s cheap to build…like super cheap. (4) It can be both repaired AND manufactured by the people who use it. You know, thats actually probably my favorite part. It’s built of such simple components, so few moving pieces, and of materials that can be substituted out for similar materials found locally. So yeah…just love this. And Shawn’s whole presentation in this video is fantastic. Full of quotables. I certainly hope the best for your project/product Shawn! ***I got this link off the 37signals blog, check it out if you don’t already.

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Um, Marc Jacobs!!! Update! Better Link Status

He is on fire right now. I have always been into Marc Jacobs collections, more so as an observer, fan of the brand form the sidelines. After his 2 shows in the past 2 days I want to get off the sidelines and participate. The pieces that are freshly uploaded from fashion week are spectacular! Count me in for all of those necklace’s. The looks are a perfect street-level derivative of the beach-swept-style Burberry and Lanvin’s latest collections looked like for dudes. The Hi-Tops look interesting too. Super easy to wear stuff that has a little more edge to it than what you’d find at J-Crew or something. Props to Marc! TheCobraSnake captured the vibe, I love how they packed the crowd in and I bet it was still impossible to get in, I love how this collection is styled too.