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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Contrast for the Conservative!

I am a fan of Chrome Hearts because it contrasts pretty much everything in my closet. I don’t own a Harley, blast rock music, or hang out with People magazine celebrities, but I appreciate the brands graphic attitude and overall focus. Chrome Hearts is not new or under publicized or anything… I think they have been around for a little while. They are all about skulls and gothic inspired jewelry. I have one lifetime piece that I really like. I dig their tees and zip-up hooded sweatshirts. There aren’t too many clothing companies that can get away with blaze orange print on a blaze orange hoodie but if fits right in with their concept. I just came across this collaboration they are doing with Joe Foti at Dover Street Market. Pretty interesting to look at, but wearable?...Contrast, kids.

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Eric Burdon & The Animals!

Ahh, a little break from the (claimed to be) crime-ridden, egotistical, excessive, stagnant world of hip-hop music…I mean, I love it…don’t know if I’ll be able to shake it. Anyway, I was checking Oxy Cottontail’s radio setup on her site and I found this track ‘Good Times’ by Eric Burdon & The Animals. Music in context is a really, really wonderful thing. I honestly think I would have dug this song anyway…but when I was listening to it on her radio thing, I could just imagine the whole aNYthing crew and all those downtowners wrapping up a 3-4am night scene with this song. Its maybe the song that doesn’t ‘fit’ you know? But in a perfect way. Whatever – I’m getting too ‘deep’ with this…ha!? Check it out though. The track ‘Good Times’ of course and then the track ‘Sky Pilot’…so good man. The ‘best of’ album is on iTunes for like $6 or something, cheap.

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Drop Top Architecture!

By now you’ve noticed I am vouching for Rem Koolhaas as an architect. He’s one of those your either with or against. In my mind if your progressing your art with some sort of substance, I am fan. FYI, architects love pavilions, they are like the testing ground for new ideas. Look what the Barcelona Pavilion did for Mies. One of the most prestigious annual summer pavilions is the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London. A few amazing talents put this thing together, Rem and Cecil Balmond, structural engineer to stars of architecture. They are the masterminds behind the helium balloon roof that rises and lowers depending on weather and whatnot, now that’s progressive. I feeling the choice of materials and the cube seating, looks like the upstairs of Prada LA, just a bit less expensive. To top off the design there is this awesome wallpaper type installation on the interior by Thomas Demand whose work is jaw dropping. He is a wizard with cardboard and a camera. What looks like digital art is actually a cardboard model photographed to look real. Madness!

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Late July Randoms!

Summer time is in full effect. Lake house parties with the downtown scenesters. Chatting up the girls. Fast jet skis. Freshly detailed cars. Sitting on my balcony to watch city rush hour or the crazy storms roll in, love that. Playing summer jams with the windows down…I love that new Pharrell and Jay track, you simply cannot deny the music side of Pharrell. Hanging loose in general. Working on the new brilliance shirts, something fun and cheap for everyone. Tons of people riding around with mopeds in the city, the girls are cute too – reminds me of Barcelona. Virgil and I are doing a trip to NYC in a few weeks, hit us up. The nylon windbreaker jacket from American Apparel – best fitting thing ever man. My Treo 700 never tells me when I have a voice mail!? Making this real-estate hustle really work – the rubber has hit the road – but I’m the eternal rookie. We get good emails sometimes, don’t hesitate to hit us up, we are just members of the community. Chuck’s in upstate NY right now trying his hardest not to check his BlackBerry between grilled hot dogs and cannon balls off the edge of the dock. New interviews?! Slow and steady…

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BioPower Hybrid Saab!

I’ll keep it short cause I write about Saab too much (I ditched the SUV, catch me in the 9-5 getting 35mpg on the highway – I feel so green!). So Saab is taking it to yet another level. First was the crazy supercar that was BioPower…now an ‘everydayer’ is in the works giving the general public access to a BioPower Hybrid. That’s about as good as it gets right now. A vehicle that runs on e85 and electric. I’m into it! Seriously, start buying empty/farm land in the southern states…its going to triple in value pretty quickly if this e85 thing really happens. We’ll be growing corn ANY and EVERY where. Anyway…hats off to Saab, keeping it green and sharp looking at the same time. THE BRILLIANCE loves Saab!

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Coyotes by Ted Conover.

Whoa…where have my posts been? Almost finished with this book…it’s a pretty fast read. Quick run down, a ‘Coyote’ is basically a courier of the specialist type…they are the people who transport illegal aliens both to the USA form Mexico as well as transferring them around the USA once inside. We are certainly in a political climate right now that makes this book a bit more interesting. I’m from the school of hard work and hard knocks. Raised in a family that ‘made it happen’ when times may have been tough financially. That mentality and lifestyle now permeate all aspects of my life. That’s why I was drawn to this book. Can you even imagine the lifestyle these guys live here in the states?!!? Illegal or not its amazingly inspirational to see what this beautiful culture will do for their family. Sad? Of course it is from our perspective…hard to ignore that aspect. But yeah, the book is a simple but in-depth read about a 27 year old American journalist who takes up life in Mexico to cross back into his home as an illegal alien and live state side day-in-day-out as a illegal alien. Every aspect of the life is documented. Unreal. Check it on at the link before. It’s a super fast read…week or two. Respecto a la cultura Mexicana.

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Find Space and Sell!

So across the street from my apartment there is this vacant lot right under the Blue line train. During the week it looks just like any other vacant lot except its got banners branding it as ‘The Lot’ a streetmarket outlet for Chicago’s creative community. I like the sounds of that. On the weekends different vendors inhabit the space each week trying to recoup their $325 fee. It’s a mix of random art hipster stuff…t-shirts, skateboards, records and collectibles curated by the two founders. I like this concept a LOT…its nothing crazy new either (remember Vacant?) but so simple and tons of possibilities to make them very unique for low key vacant spots around the world. Actually, visit any 3rd world country and the space between cars is a place to make money…but there is so much under used space in 1st world cities its just refreshing to see people take advantage of it. So show some love to your local starving artist or start one of these up.

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The ‘Cool’ List! NICE!

This is a new post I’m going to start doing on a more consistent basis. A list of things that I’ve deemed cool, fresh, funny, whatever. Ask Ben how many emails I send him every day that pretty much only have a link in them. There are a lot. So anyways…here goes.
-Tablet Hotels - we’ve posted about this site before but it’s worth checking out again and again…really comprehensive site for finding hot hotels around the world for when you’re vacation planning…
-VANS ‘Era Surf’ shoes. VANS is always a progressive thinking brand, but these shoes are on a new level. Perfect with your favorite clamdiggers while you’re ‘metal detecting’ on the beach!
-Drew Flaherty - my man Drew is doing some really nice work…one of my new favorites on the scene. Truly taking a popular look/style and making it his own - something that is absolutely critical these days in design…
-Jim Phillips - one of my all time favorite artists, most notably for his Rob Roskopp boards…So awesome…Classic, mean, fun, in-your-face…A legend.
-This ‘The Drones - Just Want To Be Myself’ album cover.
-Bill Gates with Jay-Z. There’s an energy to this photo, is there not?!
-Imaginary Foundation’s shirts. Always so nice.
-Andy Howell’s new book ‘Art, Skateboarding, and Life’. Get it.
-Bohemian Modern : Living in Silver Lake book with illustrations by a good guy and a great artist Geoff McFetridge. Saw this book in a store the other day and had to buy it. Beautifully laid out, good read, and admirable community they’ve built in Silver Lake…
-JAMES QUIGLEY - get to know the name now…another amazing artist. Yes, there are still some out there…
-Oxy Cottontail’s performance tomorrow night in NY sponsored by Filter magazine.
-The new Cobra Snake shirt.

That’s it! That’s all I got for you! Until next time, broham!

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Super Soft Sweatshirts!

Nowadays the shift in streetwear has gone from colorways and such to quality and Loopwheeler is by no means late or really even ‘streetwear’. Ever since I found their website a few years ago it hasn’t been updated and is still their main selling point. Nothing too fancy, just the story of how the goods are made since their launch in 1999. I know they are still in business because Wonderwall did their flagship store in Tokyo last year. I really dig the inspiration on the graphics they design. Simple and timeless. Although, what makes them special is what they print on. They follow the tedious process of producing their fabrics to give them that super supple feel. The loopwheeler machines they use rotates only 24 times a minute, knitting the fabric with no tension, letting the relaxed cotton do the work…and here we thought American Apparel was the second coming of t-shirts…

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Frank M. Ahearn, How to Disappear.

I left off the ‘!’ to make it more scary, serious and looming…ha. Seriously though this stuff is nuts. I was reading that GQ with Will Farrell on the cover and they had this whole feature on taking extended vacations – and ‘kind of’ disappearing…giving yourself the feeling that you have disappeared from your ‘regular ass’ life. They also had a little 2 page (I think) write-up on a guy named Frank M. Ahearn who used to specialize in tracking people down…but now offers a consultancy service to do just the opposite. Help people completely, COMPLETELY disappear. Seriously, so interesting. He sells a little CD type thing…kind of like a do-it-yourself Catch Me If You Can setup…but he also offers his services in a more hands on manner. The article itself is pretty interesting stuff. I would love to sit down with him and hear stories about his clients – supposedly there are over 20 he has helped. Yeah, wild stuff. I bet he could make a movie about himself…honestly. Check the article and his site at the link below. ***Hard to find a picture about disappearing…I guess I would head somewhere tropical if I was in the position vanish.