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.

887 small

I just flew back from SXSW, and boy are my arms tired!

What was that title???! Ha, my goodness. SXSW was a trip…I’d never been to Texas before, so it was a double whammy of new culture. Although, I’m sure Austin doesn’t usually have 87% of all the Wayfarers created, ever, on 6th street every night like it does during SXSW. I wear Wayfarers by the way…ha. I was actually there promoting to a scene that was certainly in need of hearing about it, went pretty well. The music ‘industry’ is so wild right now…who’s idea is going to win? But yeah, SXSW was almost overwhelming…so many groups playing in such a sort span of time. I heard there are like 1,500 official shows and like 3000 other non-official shows?! Sheesh. My favorite sets: Diplo tore it down, done and done. MGMT was too good, my new favorites right now - thanks to Rob F. All the reggae groups at The Flamingo, too many names. N.E.R.D. did it up nicely too, quite few people in the band. The Virgins, so classic. Matt & Kim, never seen artists have that much fun before. But besides all the bands, swag, really good looking hipster girls, and free drinks…I had more fun than ever sneaking into these spots. Ha, seriously. I’ve never done so much funny stuff to get stuff for free, sneak into VIP, skip lines, get into the press area, etc in my life. Ha, seriously. I was running thru kitchens Stubbs to get to teh VIP section for a better view of N.E.R.D.‘s set, posing as a member of the clean-up team at the Nylon Party to steal beers for the whole crew (they were free, but the line was an hour!!), skipping a massive line by walking in with Michael Stipe - even though he has no idea who I am, ha, etc…too much. Ha, it was like a sport down there. I got busted a handful of times, which is even funnier. My advice to anyone hitting SXSW: don’t wait in line, just get creative…you’ll have a lot more stories. My other bit of advice, splurge for the hotel downtown…we didn’t and it was a mistake. I felt like I was going to be in a scene from ‘No Country For Old Men’ in our hotel. So yeah, it was a great time…super crazy. ***Best scheduling site ever for the event:

886 small

Kid really is Outasight!!!

So I am in the famed Leaders1354 shop putting the finishing touches on a cool collab and were talking about the state of music and how non-obvious music is on the up swing. Marc’s contribution was this kid Outasight from New York. I know everyone always gets some myspace related music suggestions and it typically only takes 20 seconds to dismiss, but this kid is onto something refreshing. He is rapping, singing over Dilla-esque beats and it comes across natural and head nodding. Even tracks that start out mediocre turn into gems on the way into the chorus. The raps are real raps too! Please get this kid on radio in it last days of importance. Cool Pop music is all together on the upswing I’d say …the internet is the only record label you need nowadays. NY is making a come back and its not in hip-hop Santogold , Vampire Weekend and this kid, sheesh. Outasights’ EP is up there, finally get to updating your iPod.

884 small

How to be a square 101! (Hate mail vol. 1!!!)

We get email from people pretty often…its actually one of our favorite things, always fun to get some positive comments from like-minded types. But true story, we really, really love the hate mail. It’s hilariously entertaining. In fact, and some of our friends know this, we got this whole site rolling by using negative press and ignorant internet squares to sling shot us into popularity. Gotta love that. So yeah, we got a great zinger today from a sharp-as-a-tack gent who has a hotmail account…awesome. We won’t say his name cause we can’t really give shine to folks of this type…BUT, we couldn’t pass up posting his email for everyone to enjoy. I’m not even going to state my thoughts on his comments, I just want to know who is SQUARE enough to actually send emails like this?! Who really even cares that much? I don’t. Ha. He’s the definition of a super square…take a break from the internet my man. This guy needs a big internet hug, you know?? And by the way, THE BRILLIANCE isn’t our jobs…obviously. Ha, here goes:

“You guys completely ruined the interview with Jake and Amir. why were the interviewers trying to be funny? they werent. at all. everybody thought you guys ruined every funny thing they said. awful. benjamin and the other guys should be fired from your website. This interview will only make people not want to ever go to your site again. what a horrible job you guys did. just check the comments on the interview on . everybody feels the same.

quit your job,
- his name”

885 small


Maybe its the cold weather that made me get all into these. Or maybe it’s their totally Willy Wonka feel of having a miniature tropical rainforest year-round in a beautiful glass structure. Either way…I’m really digging beautiful conservatories right now. How amazing are they? Seriously. We have a decent sized one here in Grand Rapids at the Fredrick Meijer Gardens, its actually quite nice. They have this wild exhibit right now with tons of live butterflies flying all around, landing on you, etc. It’s actually really amazing. But I’ve been doing research on other ones, primarily the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. How have I never been there?! Just amazingly beautiful looking. They’re actually celebrating their 100 year anniversary this year…so classic, old-world feeling. The huge ‘Fern Room’ looks amazing. So yeah…thats my post. Thats what is inspiring me right now.

883 small

New interview with Jake and Amir!

Didn’t I just post on these guys?? I guess that’s whats fun about running a blog like THE BRILLIANCE! Just hit-up whoever we’d like to interview…and sometimes they even agree, ha. We thought it’d be funny to do a group chat using 37signals’ Campfire product…and it was. Really random, and really funny. Jake jumps in and out of character while Amir stays in character pretty much the whole time. Or is that his ‘character’? Ha…who knows, but the interview was quite funny. Many thanks to them for taking an evening to chat with us. Keep up the hilarious stuff guys. Everyone else, enjoy the interview. Have a good monday too.

882 small

Graphic Revival!!!

Now that the Justice video for DVNO has properly blown everyone’s minds I am left wanting more inspiration from the 70’s television network logo style. And I ffffound it. This artist James White over at has just started a cool blog showcasing his work and inspiration. Like the Superman opening sequence. Super cool. Watching all this now, on youtube no less, makes you wonder what programs and computers they were making all these killer graphics on. I am here debating if my new Mac has a big enough graphics card and these designers were creating magic outta thin air. Graphics, graphic, graphics….the never ending pursuit of the one.

880 small


I’m sorry. It’s been forever since I posted. I honestly want to blame it on the weather - cause its seriously bumming me out. But I guess thats just an excuse…so instead I’m just going to jump back into it with one of my ‘random’ posts. And…action. So we got like maybe 4 weeks of chilly weather before we hit the 60s here in the middle west. I seriously can’t wait to ride my bike to the office everyday. Speaking of bikes…the small but strong fixed-gear/late night Grand Rapids cycling scene looks like it’ll be growing a bit bigger this season. I’ll be posting on the details in like a month, but its pretty awesome. I’ve also been spending a hair too much on my bike to get it ready for the season, its a bit over the top…I’ll post pictures to our Flickr. Eating healthy. I’d love to start, seriously. I just don’t really have an y direction you know? I’m sick of fast food everyday - so I’d like to have about 4-5 different meals I can make quick and easy at home and the office. Any suggestions? Vans sneakers, I think I might just wear them for the rest of my life. Maybe. A really awesome, kind of victorian, but kind of modern greenhouse…I’d love to have one attached to my home one day. Can you imagine in the middle of winter going out to have a glass of wine at the bistro table in your greenhouse?! Have I ever made a Rapha post? I love when a product is so good it creates its own genre…Rapha has truly done this. Too all the car companies showing off their awesome hybrid concepts: stop showing concepts, and blow us away with a production model. Who wants to go to Paris? I do. Who’s going to be at SXSW? Me. The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations is such a good track. I think I stopped drinking Diet Coke…its been like two days. I think thats it for now…again, sorry for the lack of posts. ***Oh yeah, we have a pretty “ace” interview coming up this week.

881 small


Kind of weird that I hadn’t posted this before…probably cause I didn’t want to ‘blow-up-the-spot’ as the kids say. If I wasn’t into cycling I’d be into this stuff. THIS is branding. Start off with a super strict focus - in this case it’s cycling. Make really, really amazingly classic products. Differentiate yourself in your industry by being a bit more understated. Then display, not market, your product as more of a lifestyle purchase than a ‘oh I need this widget’ type purchase. Then add some magic…like all the good brands have. Then keep it up. I just got turned onto Rapha last year…such awesome stuff. I guess the only thing I can compare it to would be maybe what Louis Vuitton is for Travel, Rapha is for cycling. Maybe minus the logo blow-out that LV can sometimes come across with when in the wrong hands. What’s awesome to is how there is just nothing that compares with Rapha in the cycling gear market…like, nothing. It’s like, multi-colored spandex or Rapha? Ha. And their prints?? Actual art prints. I think anyone who sells a physical products should aspire to sell pages from their catalogs as art. Seriously. ***Hey, if anyone has a connect for me to get the white Grand Tour gloves in small…PLEASE let me know. Seriously, hit us up at the email address on our about page.

879 small

Constant rotation, Feist X Gonzales!!!

…Kick…drum…Kick…drum…Kick…drum…Kick…drum …man this is my theme song right now. I have been on this stretch of relying on streamed internet music and dumping my iTunes library cause my computer is super full. So what I have been doing is just streaming the same song over and over and over and just zoning out. This right here is a designers track, melodic music that keeps you goin on laptop marathons. Anything that Feist touches easy listening, but the Gonzales touch adds that perfect energy. Dude is awesome. You gotta check out the making of his track “Working Together” Its like a kids show theme song for grown ups. You’ll see what I mean. Click away.

878 small

Cai Guo-Qiang’s show at Guggenheim Spiral. Wow…

We usually like to end post titles with our trademark exclamation points (!!!) when they are especially interesting, but this kind of defies exclamation points altogether. I found this posted up on Supertouch just a few minutes ago and I don’t know quite what else to say that they already haven’t…” of the most inspiring art shows of the decade with Cai Guo-Qiang’s midcareer retrospective extravaganza, ‘I Want To Believe.” I’m not sure if I’ll have a chance to see this in person but I’d really love to, considering Supertouch also said “...creating masterpieces of epic grandeur and subtle detail that must be witnessed in person to be appreciated.” Beautiful and technically and creatively stunning, the cars suspended and ‘exploding’ from the ceiling of the spiral are nothing short of brilliant. The wolves are a classic that were what originally introduced me personally to Guo-Qiang’s work, and the human, ark, tiger, and light sculptures honestly could inspire just about anyone - even the most self-described ‘non-creative’ people - to want to try their hand at creating something. Tons of pictures on Flickr here, clean, pro shots of the show on the ABC website here, and info about Cai here on his site. Unreal.