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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DVD, Long Way Round!

I guess this was a TV series first. But man oh man, I loved this DVD/series. It’s a travel documentary of Ewan McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman traveling around the world, literally, via motor cycle, or their case ‘motorbikes’. 20,000 miles in 115 days in some of the most intense terrain ever. They didn’t keep it cushy just doing paved roads in populated areas, etc, they really went for it doing eastern most of Europe first, then right into Russia, then Kazakhstan, then Mongolia, then back into Russia…then they flew over to Alaska, down through Canada, then finally the US, all the way to NYC. In fact, they even hit Naperville outside of Chicago on the way…ha. Honestly, about half the movie, if not more, was then handling Russia and Mongolia…just amazing, amazing landscapes. Really. The immensity of Russia is almost impossible to wrap your head around…so unbelievably large. But yeah, their adventure was just a blast to watch…their friendship, the people they met, the experiences, challenges, etc…super entertaining. Oddly enough, I was watching it this past weekend at my office while I was doing some loose planning for a trip of my own…helped me get into that mindset! So yeah, grab the 2 DVD series off NetFlix or whatever you use. I promise it’s worth it. Thanks to Nicolai and Laura for the recommendation.

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Where in the World: Paris Men’s Fashion Week!!!

Crazy. The architecture…the lifestyle…top notch. Fashion week just wrapped up and only two words can describe the experience…too-inspirational. The lady and I hit Raf Simons Saturday and I tagged along yesterday with the fashion team on Sunday which seemed be the main events of the week. In the morning Lanvin, (proving they still hold the title as my favorite house) The Sartorialist told me afterwards this what a long fashion week needed. In the afternoon the almighty Dior Homme, which in my book is a sign the the fashion press and new Dior Denim lovers have sold Kris Van Assche short . You know I was snapping pictures the whole time just to remember the experience…only stopping myself because I was like, snap I gotta act like I belong here, HA. Kinda hard with when your watching Karl Lagerfield & Bernard Arnault (LV!) across the way sitting behind So-Me and Justice knodding to their tune they orchreasted for the Dior show. Riding around Paris at night blasting Justice was worth the trip alone…Paris is an amazing city…the shops were cool, still too expensive but that didn’t stop me from getting a custom order in at Goyard hours before I bounced. (full-on post to come) The nightlife was as fresh, great dinners all over the city. At Le Baron ran into Aron. Caught a Kenna live show. What else could I ask for? Nothing.

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KAWS x i-D Magazine & Video interview!!

Ben filled me in a few weeks back that the new i-D magazine was coming out soon and it was going to be adorned with KAWS’ work inside and out. We’ve all long been admirers of KAWS here at THE BRILLIANCE so its always great to see new work from him, let alone a video interview that really gives some cool insight into the artist’s process and mind. Considering interviews with him in general are few and far between, it was definitely a nice treat to see this one today. As an artist myself, I enjoy hearing how other creative people actually make their work. He goes into some detail about printing PDF’s off, putting them on the lightbox, drawing overtop of them, scanning them back in, and so on. It’s not the most interesting part of the video but it’s just fun to see and hear about nonetheless. I speak for myself, Ben, and Virgil when I say we love behind-the-scenes looks at how talented people do their thing so with the new issue of i-D coming out, this is a great little “companion’ (get it? eh…) video for some added perspective. I’ve often wondered about his whole approach to his work - he’s taken on so many different kinds of art over the years: graffiti, products, fine art, editorial, etc. So it was really refreshing to hear him talk about this in the video. He basically said forget worrying about who is down with this and who doesnt like that and so on, he’s just doing what he enjoys and is going to be successful at it. And of course the little peeks at his studio are interesting as well. Anyways - check out the new issue of i-D for more of KAWS work and check the video interview with him in the link below…

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Artists you should know. (I’m still here!!)

Despite my depressing lack of posts (my last was May 19?!), I’m happy to report I am in fact still alive and do still have interesting things marginally worthwhile things to write about. Kidding. THIS IS THE BEST POST YOU’LL EVER READ, SQUID BRAINS! (See here.) Anyways, I consider part of my job to be researching and keeping up with what and who is out there in the art/design/illustration world. So let me just get right to it. If you know me, you know I’m big fan of Phil Hale. I discovered his work when I was a sophomore in high school and the creepy nature of his work combined with his intense painting ability and wild imagination had me hooked. If you don’t already know his stuff, get familiar. A perfect place to start is his book GOAD - Many Moods of Phil Hale - it looks like its unavailable on Amazon but if you dig around online you can find it. Next up - and a perfect transition from Hale - is artist/musician Jacob Bannon of Converge fame. Again, taking me back to my high school days and even before I discovered Hale, I was a fan of Jacob’s work (both visual and vocal) for Converge, first seeing what he’d done for the album Petitioning The Empty Sky as well as his work for Poison the Well, Cave In, Drowningman, and Bane. Jacob finally has a new site completely dedicated to his artwork at - long overdue but well worth the wait. I must be in a ‘creepy/dark’ art mood today I guess, ha, so I’ll continue with the work of Zach Johnsen. So cool. Seriously. I’m really just loving the idea of using your imagination to its full potential lately and looking at Zach’s work really expands on that in an awesome way. Perfectly eerie and weird. And tell me it wouldn’t be absolutely awesome to have just the hands from this piece up on a wall somewhere in your house…Anyways. Last but not least, I wanted to give some much due attention to BLT & Associates. BLT creates some of the most recognizable and beloved movie posters/campaigns out there including my most recent favorite, this poster for The Dark Knight (which by the way will be the best move this year…) Anyways - you can see a lot of the work BLT has done on the IMP Awards site. Aaaand that’ll do it for me.

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Bam!! Mercedes to go ALL green by 2015?!

Is this real? Talk about throwing the gauntlet down… Apparently their going to be doing all non-gasoline options like bio-fuel, bio-diesel, hybrid and full electric. So while they may not be truly ‘ALL green’ as this article suggests, they’ll be completely moving away from pure gasoline/pure diesel powered engines. Pretty wild stuff. And from a car company that is so desirable. I guess I didn’t really see this coming. I know they were doing the BlueTec diesel thing in the E classes…but this is so drastic. You have to wonder, how??! Logistics issues, supply chain, their existing plants, etc. They’ve got a lot of work ahead of them it seems. I hope this isn’t just spin and all we’re getting is some bio-diesel-ready kitted cars - I mean, I guess that would be a huge step - but I’ve just been waiting for something super dramatic like this. And from Benz?? Perfect. I’ll be first in line for the electric E class wagon. Yeah, I’ll guess we’ll see…

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Travel! South Dakota?

Ha, it might not be the euro-jet-setting that my man Virgil is doing right now, but I’ve got some family business to attend to…a family reunion actually. And honestly, isn’t it fun to experience something totally different every once in a while? I think I’ll do a trip photo set of some sort, document the great plains states a bit. I mean, I went there when I was a little kid, so it’ll be somewhat familiar…but its been a while. Actually, its been a long time since I’ve been out of the ‘city’ environment in general - it’ll be a nice break. I can’t wait to check the stars at night. Anyone know of any spots I should check out in the Watertown/Sioux Falls area? ***Totally off subject, this new GLC track ‘Riding by Myself’ that just came dropped on the web? ‘I ride my car so cold…’ That hand-clap??! Love it. And hey, there you have it, THE BRILLIANCE! at it’s finest…I’ll reference South Dakota and GLC in the same post. Where else on the web do you get that? Ha.

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Where in the World: London!!

Yeah, last minute, literally, jetted out to London. I love this city. Highlight of the trip thus far is checking out Dover Street Market. They have all this fresh Chanel ‘Paris to London’ product. Finally a select shop that delivers, every square foot of the shop has something different and cool. The best displays/visual merchandising in the world. One major problem…the USD is worth as much as dust. I can’t afford a damn thing. Great window shopping tho. I was fortunate to hit the N.E.R.D. show at Brixton Academy. ‘Seeing Sounds’ the new album more than deliverers and their live show on the full stage is a high energy throwdown. The place went nuts to all of the old and new tracks. Pharrell was saying they were using the footage for the next video, ‘Spazz’. When it drops you’ll see how crazy it actually was in there. Stay tuned.

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Apple’s Keynote, 3G iPhone, MobileMe, and the SDK thing!

I actually had this big post half-way written about all this…decided it was boring and I should trim it down. Keeping it simple. The keynote, as always, was well executed and fun to watch - a theatrical presentation that other companies can’t seem to copy. The developer’s demoing their software could have been a bit shorter though. iPhone 3G is pretty amazing…everything everyone wanted. The video interview things they did of enterprise companies that are using it sealed the deal. I’m not sure how I feel about the plastic back on it now though. I liked the aluminum. MobileMe service truly looks amazing…but its lacking one serious, serious piece…you have to use They need to get serious about being able to have your own domain. Until then I probably won’t use the service. That aside, the web interface stuff, the push stuff, etc, is awesome. I love when Apple does software. The SDK or software developers kit…my favorite piece. Actually, my favorite piece is this feature (seriously, click it). They call it the ‘Apple Push Notification Service’. This is what will really challenge BlackBerry. They said they are seeding this to developers next month…i can’t wait…I can not wait till Google gets their hands on this. Google Apps using that feature will be the real ‘Exchange for the rest of us’ as Apple has dubbed MobileMe. Well, thats my opinion at least. So there you have it…Apple has done it again. What a fun company to watch. ***Now please, guys, can we get some newly designed MacBook Pros?

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I’m kind of planning…a vacation to Europe.

I’ve been planning a vacation to Europe ever since Chuck and I went to Barcelona for a few days about 2 years ago. I’m sure I sound so hipster Westernized or American…but man, Europe (the two times I’ve been) is just so amazing culturally and I guess ‘visually’ compared to the states…right? I know that’s like the super obvious thing to say…but yeah, I mean, even my trip to St. Barths, which wasn’t a very ‘realistic’ view of chill European/French culture, just reminded me like…‘wow, America is like the only place with strip malls.’ I think I need a break from strip malls. I love America though, seriously…don’t get me wrong. I just need a little change of setting I think, something to recharge the creative batteries. So yeah, this post was half just me babbling about why I want to hit Europe and the other half is more the HOW I want to do it. For example, no hotels, no hostels. Flats and apartments only. We had a simple, but super nice, flat in Barcelona when we stayed there…after that I can never imagine staying in a hotel in Europe. All these amazing cities, villages, towns, etc…and all of them seem to have a wealth of flats for rent for $500-1000 a week. You can go cheaper, but its a vacation - and thats way cheaper than an apartment. Check these sites I frequent: Paris Attitude, Loving Barcelona, Rent in Rome, Loving Amsterdam, etc. Some of the ones in Paris are just amazing…I have this sinking feeling that it would be hard not to just sink into the local life style…maybe hard to leave after a month. And yeah, bringing one of my bikes. That’s my #1 priority. I can’t imagine how much fun it would be to bike in these cities…and what a great way to get to know a given area better without cabbing it everywhere. I’m budgeting 4-5 weeks for this vacation…I like to say I’d be ‘moving to Europe’ for a month or so rather than going on vacation, ha. Sounds better right? Doing it totally solo too…no choice but to blend into the social scene where ever you might land. So yeah…ha, if you’ve read this far…thanks for day dreaming with me. I’m not sure when I’m going to make this happen, but I see something going down in the next 6-8 months. Hit me up if you’ve got any suggestions/comments/idea/stories/etc about traveling like this…I’d love to hear it. hello (at) thebrilliance (dot) com!

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New music…Tame Impala!!!

You know, maybe it’s the Coors Lights I had with dinner like 30 minutes ago - but this ‘psychedelic rock’, as the Mad Decent crew called it, sounds just…amazing. I needed something new sounding too. These guys are doing the trick for sure. I’ll be honest, I don’t know a ton about these guys except they’re from Perth Australia, the songs I’m linking to are covers or trip hop stuff (right?), and that I just really dig them right now. They’ve got that perfect ‘Oh man dude, I’m totally zoning out to these guys… Let me throw this on my muxtape, and then like update my Facebook status with my muxtape URL so like everyone knows I’m into ill music no ones ever heard of before. These guys are sooo good. And I’m so done with beer maaan, its all about red wine right now.’ Ha, sorry, I was totally kidding with that…and I took it too far. But seriously, you know the type right? Annnyyyway… I really like these guys and I felt like it’d be fun to share them here on THE BRILLIANCE! Enjoy… And true story, these guys do make me want to chill and have a glass of red wine, ha. ***And yeah, thanks to the Mad Decent guys for constantly updating their blog. Love that.