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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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.

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Adele, amazing!!!

So last weekend a friend had a gang of tickets to see Adele in a super small bar. I heard of that song ‘Chasing Pavements’ and never got past the first verse, then I caught an interview with her on the BBC and they debuted that song ‘Cold Shoulder’ produced by Mark Ronson. Boom. Constant rotation. I hadn’t really listened to her album ‘19’. Shes only 19 and has 19 tracks on it, all amazing and this girl live, was amazing as well. It was super refreshing to just see someone on stage, singing, joking around and nailing every single note after note. This girls is too good. Raw talent, awesome personality. Adele has her own lane. Her web presence is on par too. Check her out while she’s on tour in the US. Funny enough ‘Chasing Pavements’ ended up being my favorite song. Partake!

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Some randomzzz!

Have I done one of these recently?? First and foremost…I have to give a big huge, massive, super big, monster WELCOME to my man Chuck Anderson, Mr. NoPattern, and his lovely wife Holly to their new home…right here in Downtown Grand Rapids! Yeah, you heard it here first, 2/3rds of THE BRILLIANCE! lives in Downtown Grand Rapids now. Pretty cool…Chuck and I have known each other for quite some time, years, but have never lived around each other, now he’s like 2 blocks away in his beautiful new space. We still only email though, never talk in person. Ha, just kidding. Now that I’ve got that out of the way…who drinks those Odwalla or Naked juice drinks? Amazing, so good. The ‘superfood’ ones are too good. New topic: I have something to admit: I’m just now getting hip to Santogold. I’m sorry. In fact, I almost made a post about it…like: ‘OMG, check out this awesome new music!!!1!’ Ha. Anyway, the music is fresh. New topic: The new Steve Job’s book called ‘Insides Steve’s Brain’ is quite good. If you’ve read a bunch of interviews with him before it might not be a ton of new stuff, but its a god read, check it out. New topic: It’s summer…finally. Finally. New topic: This video ‘slayed’ me…ha. Seriously, just amazing, the lighting!? How much time did it take?? Thanks to Dennis for sending it over. That’s my post.

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Mr. West’s Glow in the Dark tour!

I’m sure you’ve all read some sort of review on the Glow in the Dark tour…and yeah, no pun, they’ve all been ‘glowing’ right? Besides that one negative review that Kanye called out so well…all the reviews for the show have been super positive. And…....with good reason. The show is simply amazing. I was lucky enough to catch the show with Virgil this last weekend in Chicago which is a trip on its own…hometown crowd, at the house Jordan built…sold out two nights in a row. Thats…a big deal. It wasn’t a concert, it was a PERFORMANCE. It wasn’t hip-hop, it was MUSIC. It wasn’t a stage, it was an EXPERIENCE. A full 90 minutes of it… The thing with Kanye, and I don’t think I have this with any other artist I listen to, is that I remember when I first heard the first version of ‘Thru the Wire’ on like forever ago. That first video he put out…his first interviews, etc. To now, #1 pop star in the world and no one, no one!, worked harder for it…no one gives more back to their fans in terms of good music, performance, etc. The Glow in the Dark tour is a pure reflection of his passion and creativity to simply do great things. Flashing Lights was so perfect. So thank you, Kanye, for the inspiration and a great show. ***Check some pictures on our flickr page…

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Common ft. Pharrell - Universal Mind Control!!!

You know a hip hop track is doing the trick when you hear it for the first time at like 6:00 am and its got you moving and shakin’. Common bring a fresh flow over a slick 1980/2080 beat. Neptunes banging it out. Continously. I said it before, I’ll say it again, Electric Circus is gonna come back and be and unforeseen classic. This track reminds me how cutting edge that album was. I see a tastemaker/radio hit on the way. Short post, this track speaks volumes for itself.

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Is for mature audiences only, NSFW, etc, etc. NER*D first single “Everyone Nose” just dropped. Love this song. Love the video, love the vision. Perfect intergration of whats really goin on and a banging song. “All the girls standing in a line for the bathroom….Hey! Hey!” And the KAWS mascot…fresh. To cap it off, the super internet move to create the website, genius. Why not…its so cheap and makes the videos impact last longer. It would be even cooler was if they liscensed a bunch of different kids in different cities across the world to use to host their party photos. Party photographers are everywhere, aren’t they. There a tons now. I love that they exist, looking back at these times in 20 years will be so easy will be fun. I always wonder tho, like for DJs and artist does it get annoying to have the same camreas pointed in your face all the time? Then you gotta come out with some wierd expression which usually involves a wierd face, sunglasses at night and a middle finger. At some point its like, remember you came out tonight to party! So Spazz out, party now, blog later. I am just jealous cause I lost my camera, ha.

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Congrats to our friends at Threadless!!

Where do I personally even begin when it comes to Threadless? Before I started NoPattern as my full-time thing in 2004 I was packing t-shirts at their Chicago office and trying to learn as much as I could from a small group of dudes who I thought were doing some awesome things. Did I imagine they’d be as explosively successful as they are now in such a short amount of time? Not really, not this fast…but it certainly does not surprise me and I feel they completely deserve every bit of press, success, and praise they get. I’ll keep this short and to the point but I just really want to commend Threadless, specifically Jake Nickell and Jeffrey Kalmikoff, on what I think is their coolest piece of press to date. The cover of Inc. Magazine for June 2008. Super happy for these guys having watched them grow from a small office with shirts wedged onto a few shelves in a corner to a giant playground of an office with a warehouse staffed with people packing thousands of shirts a day. Nice headline on the cover too, sheesh! “The Most Innovative Small Company in America.” Again, congrats guys…Truly one of the most deserving and forward-thinking companies around. See the cover in the link below.

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So NYC, Barrio Chino!!!

Still trucking around city to city. I missed NYC and this past week was exactly what I needed. One thing you can count on in NYC is the coolest restaurant concepts. The host Gabriel Stulman of The Little Owl/Market Table fame keeps his ear to the street and took us out to his favorite Mexican joint. It’s common knowledge that Mexican food in NYC is pretty weak but the people at Barrio Chino has figured it out in a major way. ‘Barrio Chino’ basically translates to Chinatown. This hole in the wall spot is a block south of Delancy in Chinatown is on the surface a Chinese restaurant complete with paper lanterns and those dime a dozen Chinese bowls and plate. But the food is Mexican and the best I have had…soups, tacos, enchiladas, the guacamole… perfection. The margaritas are on a whole other level. Be careful, “One jalapeño margaritas turns to six” said Gabe, and he was right.

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GTA IV+XBOX 360. Ssssiiiiiicccckk.

I grew up loving video games. Most kids do. Obviously all the Mario games were a staple, I loved Street Fighter, NBA Jam, etc…then I slowly phased out of being that interested in them for quite a while. Played some MarioKart 64 at friend’s houses and whatnot, but they just weren’t that interesting to me. Skip ahead to more recent years…Halo, Guitar Hero, Smash Bros., and of course Grand Theft Auto. It’s actually pretty impossible not to get sucked into at least one of these games (or any of the hundreds of others out there) at some point and easily get hooked. Now, I really have to give a huge thanks to Adam from Cornerstone in NY for something…a few weeks back he got in touch with me asking if I’d be interested in getting a Grand Theft Auto IV Limited Edition XBOX360 Elite…whoa… Why I was lucky enough to be chosen for one of these is still beyond me but I’m not complaining. See pictures here on our Flickr. I have to admit, I got the Xbox and it came at the busiest time I’ve had all year with work. So there it sat for a week and a half before I unboxed it. Shameful, I know, but worth the wait. So onto Grand Theft Auto IV. While I absolutely cannot endorse running over/shooting/killing/punching citizens, strangers, enemies, friends, and officers in real life, I absolutely can for this game. Ha…seriously, it’s hard not to get lost in this game by ditching the missions and seeing how pissed off you can make the cops. Anyways, I was emailing Ben about this last week to basically say I could not believe the amount of detail and thought that went into creating this game. It’s amazing the level of artistry and detail in it. If you’ve played it or watched someone play it you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s obvious why almost every review site and magazine has given this game a perfect 10… The online multiplayer is super fun too. Anyways, that’s my video game post. Catch me on XBOX Live - chhhuuuck.