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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wired’s article on FREE!

“One of the old jokes from the late-‘90s bubble was that there are only two numbers on the Internet: infinity and zero.” I may be taking that slightly out of context - but I couldn’t agree more. You get EVERYTHING for free on the net, and it costs NOTHING. And if they’re charging for it today…someone will figure out a way to make it free tomorrow. Ever stopped and wondered how this works? I mean yeah, ads, etc…but…really??? Funny too, I’ve been having lots and lots of conversations with friends about the whole concept of all things digital being free. Music, TV/Movies, storage, maybe even software, etc. Seems like every argument I come up with to explain why something will still have a cost to the user…I can find a reason why it won’t in about 5 minutes. Arguing with myself, ha? Yikes. One of the more simple examples would be movies. Sure, they’re pirated now, but not as obviously as music…mostly because they take more than 30 seconds to download. But remember when songs took 5 minutes to download? And that was fast? Or software…what if Photoshop/Illustrator were online tools? Seems pretty hard to imagine a web app that could do that right? But it’s almost like an ‘imagine it, and it is’ kind of a thing you know? If you can dream it…bandwidth, clever kids, and venture cap will eventually make it happen…and by eventually I mean sooner than you think. And it’ll most likely be free. It’s so funny to me…a whole market can exist, all charging an ‘industry standard’ for a product/service. But if someone with a tiny bit of pull makes it free, the whole market collapses. Like…what the hell are they going to do with all that space where the CDs are in Best Buy??? Ha, right? So weird to stop and think about. Even weirder is that we’re, ages 20 and better, not the real internet generation. A whole new generation that sees ‘free’ as totally normal and completely expected is growing up now. Can we compare this to anything that has ever happened before in human history? Interesting stuff to just think about…this fantastic Wired article addresses all these things in great detail. Check it out..for free. ***I guess it’s important read the article and really think about industries that could become digital. That’s when it gets a bit more mind-numbing…to me at least. Also, thanks to Rick and Dennis for sending this link over.

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Forbes: Greatest Art Heists!

I’m such a sucker for this stuff. Really. I’m actually a little late on posting this…meant to do it the other day after that ‘smash-and-grab’ job where those guys stole $130M worth of art by just holding a couple guards at gun point and having a well placed get-away van. Nuts, right? So, truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever stolen anything in my life…just the thought of it makes me feel guilty, ha. But, there is something about the whole idea of stealing art that seems somehow more ‘made-for-movie’ or maybe more of a ‘romantic crime’. Interesting too, Chuck and I have been going back and forth in convo a bit about how stealing art even works. Since its not really ‘tender’ or liquid currency and its not a meltable precious metal…it’s pretty much worthless to the thieves after its been stolen. Maybe ransom, but for the most part I would assume art is never stolen unless a buyer is already lined up. And that’s even more bizarre as it can never really be shown publicly after its been stolen. Apparently there are collectors willing to risk some pretty serious penalties to have a piece of art strictly for themselves to enjoy - and no one else. Right? Interesting stuff. Check our the article below, good stuff.

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Just Bought: RAF SIMONS x Eastpak Backpack!!!

&designerMy new ongoing series of posts. I admit I am a consumer and I love design and pay attention to brands so this is gonna work out perfect. So I mentioned I was seriously anticipating these backpacks to come out since I saw the first images pop-up on the net. DHL came by yesterday and dropped one off just for me. Seriously, from the moment I opened up that packaging I go the impression that this is a “designers” backpack. Every single detail was thought about, perfected….colors, material, fabrication, the oversize-ness of the shape, the packaging….how the pocket enclosures work, the whole triangular theme. I was the kid with like 3-4 backpack a school year so I have seen my fair share. On the market, the backpack to beat is any Visvim models, which is like a Burton AK pack with super soft elk leather, the best Cordura nylon, no grain straps etc. The RAF pack is not on that level of material quality but makes up for it with the aesthetic. Like pushing arguably the best backpack of all time, the Louis Christopher with a military tint to a more modern utilitarian place. Raf Simons all together is an unknown designer, check out this perfectly timed article to see why he’s important and why I am doing all this typing about a backpack, ha.