The Brilliance!

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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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Revisionaries: A Decade of Art in TOKION!!

My first post of the new year and first one in a while…sorry about that for those of you who have been refreshing the page for a post from me like it was a Macworld announcement. Earlier in 2007, I got an email from Ken Miller of Tokion (who by the way recently gave their magazine a complete overhaul that looks absolutely incredible, check it out) about being in a book he was putting together called Revisionaries : A Decade of Art in Tokion. I was thrilled to be asked to have some work in it but was even more excited when I got the book in the mail a few weeks ago and saw who I was alongside of. Dalek, Geoff McFetridge, Jose Parla, Maya Hayuk, Erika Somogyi, Os Gemeos, Marcel Dzama, Barry McGee, David Shrigley, Jim Houser, Saiman Chow, and many, many more. Would you believe that’s only about a tenth of the people in the book!? It’s certainly one of the most thorough, quality, and enjoyable books on my shelf now. 160 pages and hardcover, you would be doing yourself a huge favor by picking this up if for no reason other than to be completely inspired. You can pick it up on Amazon for a measly $22. I’d honestly pay much more for it. Nice job getting an incredible batch of people together, Ken and Tokion. I should also mention that every artist has one spread and not only with images, but with some great Q&A for everyone as well. My favorite question everyone had to answer was “What is the most frustrating thing to hear about your work?” It’s really interesting to read everyone’s answers, it’s a very nice, intimate look into these artists’ personalities.

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MacBook Air…I want it, or??

Alright…MacWorld keynote man. It’s like the Superbowl game or something for internet types like myself. FYI, ‘internet types’ are just a cooler version of nerds. Ha. Anyway, so yeah, I’m super excited this morning to see what Apple will announce…had been following all the rumor sites, etc. I’m hoping for an updated MacBook, like a new Pro since it really, really needs a refresh. But even just a new aluminum clad notebook thats powerful enough to do medium-size Photoshop and Illustrator tasks, something I can code on, then all the music, web, video, entertainment stuff…etc. But…what we got, the Macbook Air, while AMAZINGLY beautiful, is a bit confusing almost. They kind of have the whole consumer computer market wrapped up right now…its the Pros that needed a refresh. So why this basically less-than-even-a-macbook MacBook Air? Sure, its a great travel laptop, super thin, etc…but so is the existing Macbook? And its actually slower?! Weird. Beyond all that…yes, its super amazing, really beautiful and the whole envelope marketing thing is pretty great. But it doesn’t really seem like a timely release. Ehh…maybe I’m just bummed cause I’m itching for a new computer and this one is hard to justify. Ha, its funny, didn’t I write a pretty similar post about the iPhone and not feeling like I could justify it…then I bought it?! Either way…the MacBook Air is a fantastic product. The timing of it’s release just seems a bit odd. ***The new iPhone update is awesome. The movie rental thing is cool - even though I don’t think it will smash Netflix quite yet. Give them some time though.

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40/40 is 100% official!!!

My least favorite genre of bars are sports bars. If they were all like 40/40 that be a different story especially going on opening night to kick off a Vegas New Years extravaganza with ton of celebs nonetheless. It’s definitely cool but the small armys of security and just as many staff makes it difficult to really get a gist of the spot but my girl and I did our best. On a typical night there won’t be 3 separate clipboard threatening bouncers and a red carpet but neither will the worldwide Def Jam artists and now ex-presideto Jay-Z and Beyonce and their secret service. I didn’t really get that 40/40 was sports themed but it helps break up the monotony. It takes the edge off from having a strictly hip-hop club which is usually sketchy. The layout and decor makes this place way better than average. The VIP area is this cool movie theater stepped area of tables all facing towards this crazy huge crisp TV screen. Not the static-y ones we are all used to seeing in bars. The coolest part about the clubs design is that it was real unpredictable. The whole back side had this lower area that was way more chill and had a gold Gucci link mosaic pattern on the floor, nice non-typical touch. Stuff like that tells you that someone in the design office really gets hip-hop. DJ Cassidy playing Flashing Lights was the last piece of the puzzle.

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Wired’s sneak-peak at how the iPhone came about!

Of course I’m going to post this up. Kind of a given. While its not the super, nitty gritty details, behind-the-scenes look at how the iPhone came to life…its probably about as close as we’ll get for a while…before the book comes out. And seriously, I imagine they could write a book about it. Anyway, its just cool to get little quips and details of information about how such an amazing product from an amazing company came to life. Some interesting points: Its estimated that Apple spent about $150m to create the iPhone, which to me, doesn’t sound like that much compared with what other companies spend on R&D. There were roughly 200 engineers tasked with the project. The software team and the hardware team worked completely separate to keep things secret, secure - neither group ever had a full view of what they were working on. At the keynote when it was first demoed only about 30 people had ever seen the finished model - wow. The prototype model wasn’t working well, or pretty much at all, only a few months before they keynote. Etc, etc. Wired did a good job pulling together as many facts as Apple would allow into a nice little read. The revenue sharing AT&T does with Apple is pretty nuts as well. Good read..check it out.

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Art traders: the Nahmad family!

I’ve always found this stuff super, super interesting. Seems like you could make a great movie about a topic like this…is there already one? So yeah, while on vacation I read a really, really interesting article about the Nahmad family and the amazing, amazing wealth they have created by trading classic art. Like…billions. Apparently they have a warehouse in Switzerland with an estimated 4,500 - 5,000 works of art valued at around $3-$4 billion. Yikes. It’s just so funny to me…its art. Just paintings. Sure…by some of the most famous artists in history, but still, they’re just paintings. That’s what makes the business so interesting - the fact that its so emotionally driven, their is a finite number of paintings, and no one knows the exact number of given works floating around. I love that…so many angles to be played. Anyway, I’ll stop fantasizing about being a James-Bond-Ocean’s-11-really-awesome art trader…ha. Get familiar with these guys…interesting stuff.

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Best of/Future Post!!!

I am posting from the airport terminal, my 2nd home over the already gone holidays. It’s amazing when the time between going thru security and boarding becomes your downtime throughout the week. Happy new year online confidants! Albums for last year are Graduation by Kanye West, American Gangster by Jay-z, Finding Forever from Common, The Cool by Lupe Fiasco and last but definitely not least Hell Hath No Fury by the Clipse. I think that was early this year. But in general we are all more excited about the future than whats already past so this is where my heads at for 2008. For clothing lines definitely Lanvin, aka the new totally unaffordable Dior. Good thing checking out the line on style.com is free. The whole A Bathing Ape collection and their new retail spaces in Tokyo & LA. Pharrell’s jewlery line for Louis and a N.E.R.D. album. Raf Simons collaboration with Eastpak just needs to drop, it already looks like the final say in backpack design. Movie wise i cant wait to see that Mos Def/Gondry flicks. Man there truly is no better time than now.

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St. Barths…ST. BARTHS!!

Wow. Yeah…just wow. Just got back late last night from the second part of my ‘island odyssey’ vacation. The first part was the USVI and BVI…second part was French West Indies. We hit Anguilla for like one day and then spent about 5 days in St. Barths. Man…I haven’t been a ton of places in the world. But I really don’t know if I can imagine anything more amazing than St. Barths. I’ve always been a bit obsessed with the whole ‘perfect’ island concept, imagining it exists somewhere, just a perfect tiny spot…but I also love cultural centers, cities, the hustle, the bustle, the markets, nightlife, cafes, etc. That’s where St. Barths snags the Ben’s-Favorite-Place-In-The-World-As-Of-Right-Now award. It has the most a-ma-zing beaches (Rick, you know, ha), its got this fresh thick/warm air, mountains, palm trees, crystal clear waters, craggy cliff like areas that drop right off into the ocean (you can jump off them in some spots), protected bays, etc, etc, etc, etc…all those beautiful island necessities. Man, its nuts. AND…its just an amazing town/city. The main area, Gustavia, is like a 6-7 blocks of Paris plopped right onto a tiny island. Amazing French restaurants, bars, shopping, nightlife, cafes, simple/classic architecture, and tons of culture…you can just feel it in the air. And really, really beautiful French women. Ha, really. So yeah…its actually quite a challenge to sum up the St. Barths portion of my trip with this post, this flickr set or even this video of us taking a puddle-jumper over to St. Maarten to catch out flight…but I tried, ha. It was just such an amazing place…and experiencing New Years Eve there was almost otherworldly, mind-boggling. Yeah…St. Barths is amazing. Yeah. ***Seriously, check the video of us leaving St. Barths on a little puddle-jumper plane…sheesh!

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Vilebrequin swim trunks!

Swim suits. I almost always buy them last minute…and from the mall of all places…so needless to say they aren’t very fashionable. In fact, I think the ones I packed on this trip actually have cargo pockets, actually go all the way to my knee, and that typical Hawaiian all-over pattern. More ‘MTV-spring-break-2003’ than the other gear you catch me sans the beach. Fortunately my man Rick put me onto Vilebrequin. As he said it: ‘Kind of the only swim suit that matters.’ And I’ll vouch for that…especially after grabbing a pair myself here in St. Barths. It’s like the classic case of a niche/interesting brand that would grab my attention. Heritage, great story, amazing attention to detail, super unique design/patterns but still understated, and a following of like-minded buyers. Seriously, the pattern selection is amazing…the shop I hit most have had over 100 different styles. I kept it simple, navy blue with the tiny white dots. So yeah…check the site, they even have web-based ordering for the US (which is of course a negative for some, ha). I would recommend the short cut version - do something new and ‘proper’ you know?

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US Virgin Islands & British Virgin Islands…my wrap up!

So what can you really say?? I touched down in St. Thomas on the 26th of December…and it just keeps getting better everyday. Here is a quick run-down of the spots we’ve swung past or anchored at: St. Thomas, Tortola, Norman Island, Peter Island, Virgin Gorda…and more to come. It’s wild, I mean, how many islands related posts have I made on this site?! Then to get to see all this stuff in person…just too cool. The beaches? Just like in the pictures. The water? Yeah, super, super warm, crystal clear. Snorkeling? Looks like a screen saver, amazing. The stars at night? Pretty much spiritual. The Baths at Virgin Gorda? Other-worldly looking and super fun to climb on. The overall vibe? I’ve got that irie feeling, ha. I don’t even like rum…but I’ve been sipping all sorts of ‘painkillers’ and other multi-colored drinks. I even visited the OG ‘painkiller’ bar known as Pusser’s. They had good Caribbean Jerk wings too. No Buffalo Wild Wings around these parts…ha. So yeah, that has been the first part of my trip, the USVI and the BVI. Now I’m in the French West Indies…I woke up this morning in St. Barths with Paul Allen’s boat right next to ours. I mean…?? Check the Flickr set at the link below. ***Pictures are up now.

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Belvedere is hip to it??

In huh-thats-pretty-interesting-but-almost-kind-of-weird-news: I don’t watch TV much, but Chuck just sent me the youtube link for the new Belvedere Vodka commercial done by Terry Richardson…and its quite interesting. Who is on the marketing/creative direction team over there at Belvedere?! To think Terry Richardson would be showing up in/making/producing//whatevering commercials for Belvedere is certainly something out of left-field, you know? That being said…the commercial is pretty brilliant and so is the print campaign. I love the way the commercial is shot, love the energy in it, love the whole New York high-society meets New York “genre-now-society” as A-ron might call it. I mean…Ear Snot makes a cameo…really?! In a commercial for Belvedere? And a verse from the RZA to end it out? Who knows if this move will get Belvedere whatever it is they wanted from a branding/image standpoint…I just think its great to see brands like theirs make such interesting (odd?) moves like this…and spend time to really do it properly.