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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Live and direct from the S33D conference!

First things, I don’t really like conferences. They always have this feeling like: ‘Oh hey, come to this conference and learn how to be successful! Take a bunch of notes and then go back to your work-place with some one-liners and be smarter sounding than everyone.’ So yeah, needless to say that’s not my style. So with all that negative stuff said - I have enjoyed this little conference today. Just observing how the people that run 37signals act, talk, move, dress, interact with people, an ultimately what they have to say has been fun. 37signals is one of my favorite companies - and hearing Jason speak about how he’s grown the company has really re-affirmed my love for what they make. And then there’s Jim Coudal. I honestly hope I’m as cool as he is when I’m his age, ha. Is he old? If not, my bad. Seriously though, Coudal Partners is one of those ‘Peter Pan’ companies. Seems like they are always having fun right? Love that. And this video right here is nothing short of brilliant. Alright, back to this conference.

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It’s an almost-the-weekend randomzzz post!

Did everyone have a good week? Pretty good over here. So this weather in Grand Rapids - it should be freezing, but I just rode to my office and broke a sweat, weird. There is an instrumental version of Common’s Finding Forever on iTunes…nuts, The People sounds amazing alone. No diss to Common though. Travel - I’m about to do it up I think. Spends some euros out in europe, you know? Ahh…speaking of euros, are Banksy’s pieces really worth 80,000 of them?! Check Supertouch…whoa. And speaking of Supertouch, man, I’m late on this blog - I always knew about it, but never really checked. It’s offically made it onto my favorites bar in Safari, thats a coveted spot FYI, ha. Virgil dubbed Jay-Z the ‘Apple, Inc.’ of hip-hop - I love that. With that said, yeah, I’m nervous about the new album…I want it to be ‘Jay-Z-amazing’. Music…the Mad Decent Radio podcasts from Diplo on iTunes…where have I been? All that great music…for free. More music..Kanye over the Heartbeats track…a hipsters dream. I love it too man. Do you ever just get bored of the late-night, out-and-about, bar, club, social scene? I’m reverting back to house parties - and I’m only drinking wine, see attached picture, ha. That should about do it…everyone have a brilliant weekend!!

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How people program or write code for anything beyond the most basic of HTML is totally beyond me…honestly, I just don’t think like that. So whenever I find things like Textorizer, I’m immediately just thinking “how did they do this?!? How does someone know where to begin creating a simple little application that does something so complex?!” So once I get past being fascinated by that, I try my best to just enjoy toying around with these things. Textorizer basically takes an image that you give it using a URL, words that you type in, and numbers you adjust to recreate that picture using those words based on those settings you chose. Basically it takes your picture and makes it this abstract design made of colored words that reminds me of something Joshua Davis might do if he spent a day with our favorite word artist Thomas Broome. However, it still seems a bit primitive and like there’s room for refining, but I could totally see Photoshop or Illustrator utilizing something like this for a plug-in or filter in the future… I could honestly see this as the basis for entire ad campaigns. As far as I can tell, Textorizer was created by Paul Downey. Cool work Paul…

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I commissioned an oil painting from Dennis Nagelkirk!

I got my first original Dennis Nagelkirk painting about 6-7 months ago, maybe even longer, as a gift. Some very generous mentors of mine knew I liked his stuff and grabbed me a smaller one from a gallery/restaurant we would eat at for meetings…and pretty much ever since then I have become a bit obsessed with owning original artwork. Specifically photo-realistic oil paintings as Dennis does. Lucky for me, Dennis is a local artist and I have been able to both get to know him as a person as well as commission a painting from him…which is really, honestly, one of the more ‘thrilling’ things I have done in a long time. Having something made for you personally by an artist you admire is one hell of an experience. The final product??? Mind blowing…a 6x6ft oil + linseed painting of a crushed Diet Coke can. His work is amazing. This picture I took in his studio of the final piece doesn’t do it justice…but you get a feel for the size and scale. I’ve been waiting 5 months to make this post!!! I love it. Check the link below…

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Recent History Museum, Fruition LV!!!

Such a good atmosphere and even better back-story. I had the fortunate experience of getting to know Chris Jullian & Samantha Alonso last month in Vegas in their shop Fruition. I literally just camped out in the store and soaked it in the atmosphere. Make no mistake, there is true vision here beyond clothes on shelves. It feels way more like a curated view in to golden years of American POP-fashion rather than just vintage clothing. Of all the stores I have ever been in worldwide, the best could take a lesson on how to strategically place different pieces to tell a story. Let me step back tho. This shop carries the rarest and some of the most iconic & coveted clothes during the birth of hip hop and standout street fashion from the 90’s. Like Chalkine jackets, Nike Air Jordan stuff, LL Cool J Troop jackets, Coca Cola polos, classic Ralph Lauren, MCM bags, Dapper Dan Gucci and Vintage Dior. As well they pair it up with current designer wear like the hard to find Jeremy Scott designs. What’s funny about the place is some people get it and some people don’t. Of course its not for everyone, but for those that it is for, it’s a gold mine. And in one fell swoop when I think if Vegas I don’t think of MGM, rather MCM.

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Kenna, Say Goodbye To Love!!!

So I have been into Kenna for a minute and always loved his sound. There so much synth-pop music out right now and this is a perfect fit for my taste. Like perfect working music that isn’t Hip-hop or Jazz. The N.E.R.D. albums rank in my top 5 albums of all time so it’s obvious I would love this project. It’s produced mainly by Chad of the Neptunes. Kenna’s first album was excellent too. All the videos were super art directed and rarely showed his face. (youtube them) So the title of this album is “Make Sure They See Your Face” and the videos are up to par. Check out the link below for a the first single and a fresh Hype Williams new video treatment. What would we do without YouTube, seriously…

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Richard Prince x Louis Vuitton, Progressiveness!!!

So the big show just ended the big fashion week in Paris. The Marc Jacobs helmed Louis Vuitton season debuted and has pretty much sent critics into a frenzy. For their bags he’s taken them outta this stratosphere with the help of renowned artist Richard Prince. Amidst the reaction to the collection there a ton of varying opinions which is interesting even if you could care less about “fashion, fashion” or consider Louis Vuitton as super pretentious. Its just a good brand evolution just to analyze. Reading this article reminds you that “that the most valuable thing that any luxury-goods house owns is its brand” and with a conservative cash cow of monogram bags that are popular from the suburbs to Canal St. you still need some realm of the brand that is progressive or unpredictable even if the critics hate it. Its not for them, its product for the fashion forward. I’d agree with what this guys says. Its all to easy to play it safe and be less controversial. Some many brands could learn from this little model. Oh yeah, you gotta see the actually show, sound provided by Daft Punk. Look for the womens show, its in the lower left hand corner. Look out for the LV Sponge Bob that’s in the thumbnail, next level.

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Conde Nast Portfolio - behind the scenes w/ Nigo and Bape!

What a great read. I have no qualms saying I really like Bathing Ape. I still, yes still, find the brand and Nigo extremely fascinating. I actually don’t own much Bape, and I don’t really wear any pieces - more just for collection’s sake. But beyond the actual pieces of clothing and its perhaps unfortunate cache among celebrities that don’t really ‘get it’...I still find it to be a brilliant, brilliant brand“ almost a little unreal. Conde Nast Portfolio did this super lengthy write-up about the brand, its team, day-to-day with Nigo, how he is perceived now in Tokyo, what the future might hold and more. It has to be the most behind-the-scenes look into Nigo as a person that I’ve read to date - and it might not be what you’d expect. Set aside 30 minutes and give it a read, again, just really fascinating. ***How crazy is the idea of Nigo taking Bathing Ape public and having it valued at $1.5B???

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A summer in Downtown Grand Rapids: Neil’s fixed gear races!

It’s getting chilly, kind of rainy…and very un-summer like here in Grand Rapids. Another sunny-season has come and gone…and I can honestly say I had one hell of a fun one. I made a post at the beginning of the season about getting back into cycling via way of fixed gear…and it’s a good thing I did. I can honestly say I haven’t had a summer this fun in a while…and the main reason for that would be my man Neil Hubert’s Wednesday late-night fixed gear races here in downtown Grand Rapids. I met so many new people, made new friends, blended scenes, got in great shape, broke a rib or two, and had too much fun riding thru my city super late at night with a mob of peaceful like minded people shaping the new, younger, culture of Grand Rapids. The rides/races themselves ranged anywhere from alley cats, messenger races, sprints, ‘ghettodrome’ track races, chill group rides and whatever other random stuff Neil came up with. But the actual races aside - what it did and will continue to do for Grand Rapids is build culture and community. What started as literally about 8-10 people eventually grew to races of 30+ riders and even more scenesters/on-lookers soaking up the action. Simple things like this in a small, but growing city like Grand Rapids are so important for building community and culture. I hope we continue to see this trend here, I love it. Thanks to Neil and everyone else who made this summer super fun. Check for us mashing thru traffic. ***And to the out-of-towners who don’t think we have proper hills here, I have three words: Martha and Godfrey!!

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Double Threat, some new music!

The first time I ever heard anything from Double Threat was mix they did of some Jeezy stuff titled ‘Halloween Massacre’...and the first thing I thought was like, why can’t we hear hip-hop like this more often?? Slightly weird sounding, non-traditional production, maybe even a little scary sounding. I actually didn’t know the song was produced by them back when I first heard it, but Virgil sent me the link their Myspace just the other day, and there was the track along with my new favorite ‘Straight Out The Rarri’. Love that right now…so massive sounding. Throw this stuff on at your next house party…give those hipster kids something to research.