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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Hard work.

I have to do this post…have to. This is a personal type post mixed with a shout out to ALL people who take risks, hustle hard and smart, and do what they do with a passion for success. Not just financial success, but their own definition of success. Few people I want to mention: Chuck, my Father, Scott, Brice, Virgil, My mentors – L&L, and a few more unmentioned names. This may seem like a random/odd post – but most people, like myself, have the tendency to reflect on their own ‘bigger picture’ after a large success or goal is achieved. I had probably the craziest week of my life this week – risks, hustle, aggression, and trying hard to simply stay mentally-afloat. All of the stress and anxiety was more than worth it after I signed my name and initials about 2 million times at the closing table this morning at 9am. I guess I made this post for anyone who is ‘going thru it’ at this moment…whatever the project may be…the stress that comes along with a life truly lived. It does pay-off, it will work, and all that crushing stress/frustration WILL pay off. Cause if it was easy man…everyone would do it. So a Friday salute to all those that hustle hard and hustle smart. ***Also, you can call me corny or a whatever for this post…but the people who truly live it, and don’t just talk about, know exactly where I am coming from.

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Banksy Hilton!!

This is seriously modern day graffiti. Its seems Bansky like is extending the art forms possibilities every 6 months by thinking outside the box. I had been into his stuff for the longest time but the Gaza Strip stuff and his Crude Oils show affirmed his position as an artist of out time. Now this…who thinks to get a hold of 500 Paris Hilton CD�s, alter all the images and re-record tracks supposedly with some help from Gnarls Barkley�s Dangermouse. This footage posted pretty much sums it all up…the funny thing is I bet these tracks become bigger club hits than the album and she ends up selling more records because of all this press she�s getting. As of yesterday only 6 of the doctored CD�s were recovered buy shops all across the UK. EBay has already popped up with a few Bansky CD�s and auctions are ending at $2,260 a pop.updated 2 for 1 via the kabakuba crew, great art site

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80 acres of NYC for sale!

Just caught the story from the Times yesterday on Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan may soon be sold. We are talking 110 buildings, 80 acres in an urban capitol of the world going for $5 billion. That’s plain crazy. That site is a case study in history and urban planning. This was the era of housings experiments gone wrong a.k.a. high-rise project housing which is still prevalent in New York and being torn down here in Chicago. Under the Robert Moses era, Met Life developed the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper property for WWII veterans and excluded Blacks and unmarried couples in the 1940’s. Years later those excluded were then allowed to move in. You could imagine the disrupt in the utopian like atmosphere… well MetLife is cashing in on some of their Manhattan property and putting this chunk on the market. There’s a couple of interesting angles to follow with this story. What’s gonna to the rent controlled people still living there? What’s just gonna get bulldozed? Talk about eminent gentrification. Think about the large impact on the city this will have. New York in 10 years is gonna be such a different city with this and the new skyline downtown.

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Future-forward - New Nopattern!

Hard work pays off. Of course you’d find a post on THE BRILLIANCE about NoPattern…I think they call it ‘circular success.’ The new NoPattern site is up, the new products are in the store…good stuff. As with each iteration of Chuck’s work (I have been fortunate to witness all of them) it grows very naturally and organically each time. Never too far to the left or right…but never down the middle lane…I would say its all very carefully planned, attention to perception as well as pure interest in just being creative. This particular ‘re-launch’ has taken Chuck quite some time to make happen…not simply just a new portfolio, but this time it’s the next iteration of the actual NoPattern brand – and its continued progression. Hats off to hard work, dedication, vision and passion. Now all of you go buy 3 books each, they make fantastic stocking stuffers. ***And I honestly didn’t want to address the ‘haters’…but honestly guys, don’t offer any rhetoric if you haven’t been there in a similar form yourself. I find it so hard to take anyone seriously who hasn’t put in work like Chuck, or anyone for that matter that took a different path to their own success.

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Aston Martin for sale, and no one wants it!

Kind of interesting. Cars companies, or brands actually, are sold between the big auto makers every once in a while..not a huge deal. What I find interesting about Aston Martin being up for sale is that no one seems to be interested really. And even more mind numbing…they are valued at ‘a lot less hen $1 billion.’ I mean, I guess I don’t know what I thought they would be worth…but the image/feel of these boutique ultra-lux car brands is so big…huge. Then to find out a website with a bunch of uploaded home videos is worth more…kind of weird right? I mean Aston Martin has some of the most beautiful manufacturing facilities and some amazing heritage (James Bond)…not that you can value a company on these things, but. Anyway, there were rumors that LVMH, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, was interested in acquiring the brand…as well as Cartier. Both shops have denied the rumors, but who knows. Can you imagine the special-editions? No more fake (Birdman) LV seat treatments. Personally I would take an all white Vanquish with an entirely Damier interior treatment…whoa. So yeah, check this news article at the link, kind of interesting. ***And kids, that includes you Funk Flex, its Aston…not Austin.

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James Blagden’s Illustration!!

Every now and then I run across an artist’s work that makes such an impression on me that I feel like I have no choice but to spotlight them in a post all their own. James Blagden would be one of those artists. I love the stupid simple little rollover on the front of the page, and then again when you get into the navigation. Nothing flashy, nothing about the website gets in the way of the artwork. It is fun, it is what it is, and quite frankly I think his work is some of the best illustration, both technically and conceptually, that I have seen in a long time. First thoughts - when I highlight over the colored stubble on the 2nd page of the site and the beard grows!!! I love it! Roll over the glasses too - both lenses - and the brain…simple, almost primitive when it comes to web design, but that’s what I’m all about…and what the Brilliance is all about too. Simplicity on the web - no need for flashiness. Keep is smooth and usable, whether it’s basic HTML or complex Web 2.0 programming, just make it nice and easy for me to use. (Take notes,…) Anyways, back to the artwork though - I really don’t like to elaborate on a wordy description when I find a new artist I like, so the best thing to do would be check out the site and go through his portfolio. The work for Arkitip is particularly incredible.Much respect to you, James. You keep the ‘tion’ in ‘illustration’. !?

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A Watch for Space Travel!!

I need to start wearing a watch. Ideally one that I am gonna have when I am 45 strolling the South of France. I don’t know how timeless this Bell & Ross limited edition BR-01 94 with the orange dial & carbon finish is…but I love the design. Instruments picked out of a cockpit heavily influence Bell & Ross aesthetics. Definitely a nice contrast to any article of clothing or your overall style, unless rocking one piece fighter pilot jumpsuits is your thing. I really dig the way that the orange pops off that matte black. When are companies gonna realize matte black is the new silver? Hopefully sooner than later. There is a brief history of their watches is on their site. Astronauts, divers, and bomb disposal experts are already onto Bell & Ross. They need to add BRILLIANCE writers to that list.

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First it was beepers, R.I.P. cell phones!

Finally they are starting to come in quicker. These wifi Skype ‘handsets’ as they are called. I’ll call them Skypers, or non-cell phones, or just…phones. Cause they are about to be all we use in the next 5 years…and it’s kind of a big deal like Ron Burgundy. Here is the quick rundown, no matter where you are in the world, as long as you are in a wifi hotspot you can call any other Skype user anywhere in the world for free, or call a regular-ass phone for pennies a minute. You got Belkin, Logitec, 3com and some others already making it happen. And they look sharp! Just wait till they starting coming out with blackberry-esque versions – SMS/texting/push email will disappear. Everything will be instant and easy. Seriously. Why did eBay buy Skype for $2B? This is why, right here. Why Sprint, Verizon, Comcast, Vonage didn’t? Who knows…maybe they didn’t have the cash, but probably cause they aren’t visionary. Walking down the block with life in my pocket…hit me on my…???

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Weekend Trips & Product Placement!

Mini-vacations keep things moving. Ben & I wrapped up NYC, both hoppin that early flight on the grey day back to the Midwest. Best believe we hit up the retail landscape hard. Popped in and out of the standard stores as well as the newest additions. I am feeling bblessing on Orchard. A nice mix of styles in combination with a stellar interior gets two thumbs up. As far as dining, that rumor about The Little Owl in the West Village is true. We ate like kings, stay tuned for important developments on that front. The Hotel on Rivington did its thing. It has come a long way from when I first got to peep the unfinished penthouse and skyline views. Shout out to all those who lended their hospitality along the way. Quote of the trip, Benjamin - “Look it’s a squirrel…wait NO IT’S A RAT.” Me – “We couldn’t be more Midwestern.”

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Weekend Randoms!

Well, Ben and Virgil are in transit to NYC and that means I can write about whatever I want and they can’t stop me. Like how Ben says he wears Chukkas and Stan Smiths but really he wears ankle-height socks with velcro strap Old Navy sandals…and Virgil talks all about architecture and posts about interesting places in Chicago, but really the only thing he’s passionate about, as far as I know, is his collection of those Livestrong-style bracelets. Why he hasn’t posted about them yet I don’t know…he’s also got a thing for fanny packs. Weird…I just talked to Virgil actually, he said him and Ben just hopped in a cab from LaGuardia…and something about holding hands…I don’t know…you’ll have to ask them about that. AAAAAAnyways…got a few random things to yack about here on this cloudy Friday morning in everyone’s favorite streetwear hub of the US, the southwest suburbs of Chicago. First off, if you’re headed to Magic in Las Vegas these next few days - make sure you stop by the KDU Annex Private Brand Suite - Talib Kweli and Jean Grae will be there - RSVP and more info at this link. Give Dave a big hug when you see him too. Wish I could go…just too busy to travel these last few weeks. What else we got here…ah yes, one of my personal favorites and a favorite of The Brilliance, KAWS has started writing a blog over at Extra points to Mr. Kaws for the most recent post about dogs. Corgis are awesome dogs. I mean, look at this one… Speaking of dogs, I am going on Monday to get a volunteer job at a humane society. Hopefully they’ve got an American Staffordshire or a Boxer that I can favor over the other ones…a Dachshund would work too…Moving on, I have to give some love to one of my favorite artists at the moment, Akiko Stehrenberger. Seriously amazing illustrations, very inspirational. Do yourself a favor and check out the James Dean caricature and especially the movie poster for The U.S. Vs. John Lennon. Beautiful work. Alright kids, have a good weekend…