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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Martin Margiela website, pure genius!!!

A website hasn’t hit me like this in a while. Unbelievable clever and a top-tier designer to boot. I am sure some people might think its nothing special but after visiting you cannot help but feel like you ‘get’ the brand. Super low tech, throwback, but surpasses anything fancy for fancy sake. I can’t get over the pop-up ads…after years on the net we are trained to just close them out, but these are ‘friendly’ and there’s a content benefit to actually clicking these. Spend a second on the site, look out for their artisanal pieces…it doesn’t get anymore creative than that. The background behind the pieces are what I found most interesting. Web designer people….we need more sites like this, fashion people we need more brands like this…

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Ace Hotel Portland OPEN!

Ahh…THE BRILLIANCE loves the whole Ace Hotel brand. They were one of the first ‘real businesses’ to connect with us, and ever since then it’s been a cool relationship. Alex Calderwood, Mr. Ace Hotel himself, was gracious enough to not only do an interview with us but give us (before Virgil joined!) two fresh suites at Ace Seattle for the weekend a year or so ago…a gracious host, and an inspiration with all his team has going. So anyway…we mentioned a while back that they would be doing an Ace Hotel in Portland, well its here, and we are quite happy for them. The Portland setup is on a considerably larger scale than the Seattle location…79 rooms, coffee shop, restaurant, and a gallery exhibit space. I really like that they did an exhibit space – it makes so much sense to have that on-site but its usually so corny at hotels you know? Ace knocks it out of the park of course. So yeah, congrats to Alex and the gang, the whole Ace team, the Neverstop team, Rudy’s Babershop, and his new site We’ll be in Portland this summer for a little THE BRILLIANCE get-away weekend…Portland is a creative-hub for sure, renaissance style right now.

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Hip-Hop Colony!!!

I met Michael Wanguhu a couple years ago after he contacted me to possibly do some work for a DVD he was working on at the time. He told me it was a documentary about the rise of hip-hop in Kenya, which I thought was pretty interesting, not to mention I knew absolutely nothing about it. Skip ahead a few years later - Michael’s DVD is now complete and available to buy in stores and online. Basically, it is about the Kenyan hip-hop explosion - better known as Genge or Kapuka music - and where it has been, where it is today, and where they believe it is moving forward. The whole thing is very interesting and Michael truly believes in this piece of work he’s put together so show some support, check it out, and pick up the DVD…

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Past weekend action, Flickr flicking!

Per Virgil’s previous post – I spent a refreshing weekend in Chicago catching up on live shows, business lunches, roaming the Chicago art museum, shopping, family and friends. Good times. Check our Flickr page at the link below for a little visual re-cap. The show at Subterranean on Thursday was too good (sorry I left early gang)…but seriously, if this is the new hip-hop then please sign me up man. Reminded me of a punk show at Off The Alley back in the day. Just refreshing man – Cool Kids killed it, Mic Terror seriously tore it down…honestly the hi-top-fade-hero is fresh, check for him – Mano and Hollywood Holt did their thing crazy too. Such an entertaining show. The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the beautiful weather and taking the University Park Metra train to the art museum by myself to zone out a bit…very inspiring and relaxing. It had probably been since high school (maybe a field trip?) since I’d been. I forgot how it feels to wander the perfectly humid halls and see mind-numbing originals in-person feet away from you. If they could talk right?! Yeah…good weekend man. Check the Flickr page.

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Community Support!!

News Flash! Your town is the ‘New’ New York. Remember when it felt like everything that was cool was only happening in New York. Well now it’s goin down in all sorts of cities. Its going down tonight and its Chicago’s turn. This for real feels good to have a local movement to get behind instead of some obscure band or DJ on some other continent. Benjamin and I will be in the place to support this Hustle Simmons’ show featuring Qualo , The Cool Kids , Hollywood Holt , Mano etc. all at Subterranean. Hip-Hop fans watch this Mic Terror video and tell me there isn’t something refreshing going on here. Now everyone move here straight outta college.

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Diet x Coke x Minerals x Vitamins = Soda 2.0!!

I know, I know…the whole ’2.0’ thing isn’t going to be funny in like 3 weeks…I’m just getting the last bit out of my system. Of course I’m going to post on something like this…and true story, I’m actually enjoying my second can of it right now. So yeah, its touted as “the first nutrient-enhanced carbonated soda to be offered by a major brand” from the already number-one selling sugar-free soda maker…and to be honest, the first time I tried it I didn’t really like it, has a weird after taste, but its actually growing on me. I guess it gives you something like 15% of the daily value for niacin and vitamins B6 and B12, and 10% for zinc and magnesium. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s probably about 14-15% more than I am getting of those today…ha, so I guess this is a good thing. Just another reason to love Diet Coke.

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Got it for Cheap!!!

If I could find enough stuff like this, I would put together a similar list for our site. If life was grad school my thesis would be how to reverse the fact that everything that’s cool (or I like) is crazy expensive.’s got this cool feature of well-designed pieces for prices that won’t break the bank. I am really into that Timex watch. Only $35. I’ll take two. So simple its stylish. As evident by this weekends heatwave, Diors and 80 degrees aren’t super comfortable. Their posts reminds me that white Dickes (not jeans) to match crisp Vans are always a good look. Just 28 bucks to style on a sunny Saturday afternoon….that’s a little money well spent.

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I got a Blackberry 8800…

What a weekend here in GR…super nice. Little patio beer and pizza session with the Premier crew, so nice to be outside. Speaking of getting in touch with nature and leaving the stresses of life behind – I got a Blackberry this weekend. The 8800 from Cingular. First off, its just really well built, feels great in your hand, easy to type on, once you’ve got the nav figured out it makes perfect sense, etc. It’s my first Blackberry as I have had all the Treo’s since they were worth having…in fact I’ve owned 9 different Treo’s I believe. 600, 650, and 700p…not exactly dependable phones. But yeah, the Blackberry is certainly built for heavy email/messaging use, and the browser isn’t bad either…2 things I’m pretty much addicted to having with me at all times. And I occasionally use the phone too, ha. Only complaint would be the delay in getting my POP email account I setup. Sometimes its just so slow…I should probably switch to Exchange. Anyone got any advice on that? So yeah, cheers furthering my addiction to email and all that. ***I figured it out! the power of email forwarding and changing my ‘reply to’ on the Blackberry setup page…true push email. Not exactly a break-through. Ha, email nerd-out!

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Jen Stark!!

Wow…unbelievable stuff here. It’s funny, cause I always thought that stacked construction paper looked so cool as a kid in art class or whatever. Jen Stark has taken it to an entirely different level – an unreal psychedelically-precise level. Its kind of a practice in minimalism as much as it is excessive use of color and sensory. She takes standard ‘construction paper’ that comes in all those fun colors from grade school and builds these beautiful sculptures by cutting and layering it - almost a bit hard to explain, quite easy to understand once you check her work. Seriously amazing stuff – the little picture I attached to this post almost looks like CGI. Man…I would love to have an original. And the whole looking box thing she does is insane. Check it!!!

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Things I like and use often!!!

What a title for a post…anyways…You’d think with all the namedropping and shine we give to various companies and products, we’d be getting gobs of free stuff, hookups, and emails relentlessly thanking us for driving fives, possibly tens of people to them. No dice. Anyways… Here is a list of things that I use frequently or just on occasion, but that I really love and find totally necessary to live day to day. And by totally necessary I mean could probably manage without them but I think they’re just the BoMb.
+Crest Whitening Expressions Vanilla Mint - This toothpaste is like brushing your teeth with ice cream, I’m serious. You’ll feel like you just got done eating a vanilla ice cream cone mixed with some kind of toothpaste topping.
+On the same track as the last one, Trident Splash Peppermint Vanilla Gum. I keep a pack in my car at all times. This gum is the COOLEST.
+I said it before and I’ll say it again. Triscuits Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil. Eat these with some mozzarella and you’re basically all set. Basically. I had a box of these in my kitchen as well as the Rosemary & Olive Oil ones…my mom was over and she tried them both and said “These taste like stuffing (Rosemary), and these taste like steak (Cracked Pepper)” She was right. It’s like a holiday dinner in a cracker… FINALLY.
+My American Apparel Nylon Taffeta A-Way Jacket, AKA a windbreaker that can roll up into itself and be carried around like a fanny pack or purse. I don’t ever do that though, but if I was like, a hiker or something, then maybe…but yeah…this thing just fits and looks so good. So simple. Great for these beautiful Chicago spring winter-like days.
+TiVo. Actually, I don’t have TiVo, I use whatever Comcast calls their TV recording service…but just as well…recording TV like this…nothing new…but something I find myself constantly grateful for when I don’t feel like sifting through about 1,000 channels plus onDemand…I can just watch old episodes of South Park, Miami Ink, and Ultimate Fighter. And sometimes Doctor 90210.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Tune in next time for “Things I like and use often” when I take a look at my Staples “Easy” button, a calculator with large keys, a Brita filter, and a tub of honey mustard.