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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Magazine love!!!

Sorry for the huge lack of posts from me for the last few weeks! I have no excuse except that work has kept me overwhelmed, busy, and completely occupied the entire month of December. Sometimes I forget that posting here on THE BRILLIANCE is supposed to be a break for me from that stuff and should alllow me to think about and share things that aren’t work-related…Plus, my man Shawn over at Sony/BMG threatened my life if he didn’t start seeing some new posts from me on here. I owe him anyways… annnnnywaaayyys…. Magazines. What can I say? I spend a considerable amount of time in bookstores…kind of a bookstore junky…most of the time I end up with a literal pile of magazines and I thought I’d touch on a few of my favorites, specifically three I subscribe to…Dwell, National Geographic Traveler, and Islands. Dwell really needs no introduction. Probably the most wonderfully designed, substantial magazine on shelves in recent years. Truly an inspiring magazine…seeing beautiful, clean, modern design blending seamlessly with efforts to inspire and create more sustainable, affordable, and environment-friendly things… Next, National Geographic Traveler. My fiancee got me a subscription to this magazine last year and I must say, my eyes have since been opened to a world (literally) of new places I want to visit. Amalfi Coast in Italy, Namibia, Palawan in the Philippines… Always great narratives, reviews of places, and amazing photography…which transitions nicely into the last magazine. My “sweet tooth cure” magazine so-to-speak, and I know Ben would agree…Islands. There is nothing like looking through Islands magazine on a cold, icy, December day in Chicago. Seriously. Nothing like it…your mind just wanders uncontrollably. Another magazine that has led me to want to travel more and more. Places like Rarotonga, Christmas Island, Bohol(!!!), the Yucatan Peninsula, and of course Bora Bora (which I do believe I’ll be visiting in August!). Anyways, let your mind wander with any of these magazines…so much inspiration and excitement to be found… ***Agreed, Islands magazine never gets old, my favorite issue is the one with Palau on the cover - benjamin

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Dov Charney sells American Apparel!

An interesting move…no? I mean, yes – almost every business owner has a number they will sell their business for, in this case it was around $260M. And acquisitions can be great for a brand. But I just didn’t really see Mr. Dov selling his company…he seems so ingrained in it, part of his whole personality. He’ll stay CEO, but from what I understand he is quite the entrepreneur – so what’s next? I heard there is mad money in the internet these days – if you can make a site where people can share photos or talk to each other you’ll be rich!!! Ha. Either way, congrats to Dov…fun fact for our readers, he was one of the first people we were going to interview. Had a phone call with him and everything…didn’t pan out. It’s okay, I still love their nylon track jackets and new striped tees.

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Rhodia Notepads!

Talk about the beauty of utility. There’s that select few number of products that straddle that line of totally functional and by default are great to look at. Scientists and designers alike are down with Rhodia notepads. Why? Probably because they designed their format and stuck with it. Kinda like “if you build it they will come.” That patented shade of orange, stiff cardboard back and clean binding they do is all you need. So all of you out there stressing about stocking stuffers for your rocket scientist/designer friend splurge on one of these incredibly inexpensive and timeless notepads. I can’t even find their website, website so this not really an advertisement like it reads…ha ha

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Abelardo Morell & Camera Obscura!

Man, this is nuts. Just got the new issue of Dwell in the mail…was flipping through and saw what appeared to be a room with a big photo projected onto its walls upside down. I love this…it’s actually this guy who completely blacks out the windows and any source of light to a room and then puts a tiny pin-hole in the material covering the windows to in essence turn the room into a camera. The results are simply beautiful. I’m assuming from there he simply places a camera in the room somewhere to photograph the results…looks like maybe it’s a long exposure? Either way, the results are amazing – and the process is, relatively, simple. I just love anything innovative like this.

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Stephen Wiltshire, Riverside Gallery!

We usually don’t just post up emails and all that we get from people about this-and-that gallery show. But I just can’t get over Stephan Wiltshire. We posted on him a while back when he was doing the whole ‘Not A Camera’ series…honestly just some amazing work. Search ‘Stephen’ here on our site for more info. He’s honestly just an amazing artist…yes, he is a ‘savant’ but I honestly I look at him as a miracle or maybe even a ‘gift’ to all people who appreciate art. He loves what he does, and we love what he does. Seriously amazing. Wish I could hit this opening as originals will be for sale…bummer. Either way, here is the info: 20 January - 11 March 2007, Riverside Gallery, Richmond. Check the link below for more info. Thanks to Mark for the email.

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SEI Water gets it!!

I am a sucker for good packaging. The best example since the Philippe Starck consulted Vitamin Water is this SEI water product. A-MA-ZING design. Water flasks. I dig their whole approach. The coolest thing for me about this packaging is that they dodged the marketing to masses formula (mountain-esque paper wraps) and are catering only to people that are into “subtle” design furthermore “get it”. We all understand all water is really the same, so you gotta differentiate with the look and attitude. Their website is nice too and dictates what their brand is about. They are on point with the product placement but what’s up with their distribution?

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Nas, Who Killed It?!

The true art of story telling – this is some amazing hip hop music right here. I want more tracks like this!! I’m stilling ‘studying’ some of this lines and concepts in this song – I am honestly just amazed at Nas and how he came from a totally different direction on this…and yes, that really is him rhyming on the track. This is the pure creativity that hip-hop is missing – it’s perfectly weird. I miss ‘weird’ hip hop. Songs like ‘The Sun’ from Ghostface – love that stuff. Anyway, yeah – not a whole lot to say about this song except give it a listen. I actually haven’t listened to the new Nas album yet, but the few songs I’ve heard are pretty amazing. And yeah, to all the rappers out there – start doing more ‘weird’ and concept stuff! ***Sorry, no link. Check the boards…

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INDISTR.COM, pre-launch!!

So yeah…wow, wow. This is a hard post to start. For the past 5-6 months I have had this project under wraps, working myself absolutely crazy and loving it to death. This is it…my new project, my new baby, and without question my new obsession and passion – INDISTR©. I officially own a dot com. I mean, I love the web, its paid my bills and allowed me to live a great life for the past 8 years…so I had to jump out there and risk it myself. So a quick run down, INDISTR© allows any artist to distribute their music instantly, keep 75% of all income, get paid instantly (!!!), and remain 100% independent. Artist remain in total control of everything; release dates, price of their albums, art work, number of tracks on an album, and some much more. I mean…I think I’ve said it here before…record labels just don’t really work. So I put my money where my mouth is. CD’s are done, artists not making money is done, record labels suing their customers is done, etc…it’s time for great artist to make great music and make a living from it without signing their creative control and passion away. Honestly. We make “making it” pointless. So yeah, we launch officially for use in the first week of January. I’ve got a lot of ideas for the next 6 months, a couple tricks up my sleeve, and too much passion. Big shout to my designer, Mike at CarnevaleID and my whole development team at NuSoft. Ch-ch-ch-check it out. ***And yeah, I know about Snocap…there is always room for competition right? David and the top-heavy goliath right? Plus I pay out more…ha.

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Wedge card – support your community!

I really like this. I suppose before I wouldn’t have been as hip to this…but after living in downtown Grand Rapids for about 4 years and watching what makes a young city actually work day-to-day…I am way more tuned into things like this. Wedge is a UK based company, but I certainly think they could fare well here in the states too. Real basic run-down – the card is a sort of ‘rewards’ type setup where stores can signup to accept it – but stores that accept it can’t have more than 10 branches and most be locally owned to participate. Card owners who use it at the stores who accept it rack up points and can save at all the participating stores. Pretty simple stuff – but I love community support systems and awesome small-business, locally run shops. As Grand Rapids struggles to find its retail market downtown you can really see where something like this might help. Check it out… Oh yeah, and big shouts to a small shop: Charlie’s Tailor Shop right next to Big-O’s Pizza downtown off Monroe Center – they are making me a custom cashmere peacoat for $575!

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Polo’s new project!!

So Polo opened up one of their new concept shops in Chicago called Rugby a few weeks back. I really like how they segmented their market. They targeting the kinda post-college-Polo-kids that posse’s edgier style. Basically preppy kids that are down with skulls and cross bones. What takes their approach to the next level is this concept of customization. In the shop they have a wall of Polo patches. So you can have at it and basically turn anything you’d like into a 1 of 1 garment. Every season the patches change. Letting people strut their creativity is always a plus. Overall, the stuff isn’t as expensive as you would think and is a refreshing shopping experience. But newsflash…you don’t need Polo to give you this freedom…its called ebay and a tailor and anything you buy you can make your own…duh.