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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Number 1 Video!

Is it safe to talk about Kanye and Pharrell again?! Ha. So you were sick of video girls, spinning rims, diamond grills, mean mugging, pit-bulls in slow-mo, and all that other dumb hip-hop video stuff? Right? So was I…and this video right here is pretty much the exact opposite of that. Pharrell is still cool and Kanye keeps getting better with each track…I love this stuff, for real. While I can’t say I absolutely love the video, I do love the direction and the fact that its truly something new…daring maybe even? It could certainly be labeled as ‘soft’ by the core hip-hop community…but who cares about them anymore? I don’t…but I still listen to Slim Thug, ha. Anyway…check this video. I’m into it. That trippy green flower is a nice touch. Is Kanye wearing a Christmas sweater?! And that red Inspector Gadget trench coat Pharrell is wearing…ha. But for real, I like this song/video!

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Movie: Who Killed The Electric Car?

I’m a 2006 hippie. This movie looks fantastic. I guess it’s similar or whatever to the ‘Super-size Me’ in regards to building awareness. But it looks to be a little less sensational than that movie…I mean, come on man…everyone knew a quarter pound hamburger with mad mayonnaise and all sorts of hot oily french fries isn’t good for you. But I honestly think that the majority of the public doesn’t know the whole story about why we drive gasoline consuming cars. And a disclaimer – I understand business, and I’m not one to knock the hustle, but the market needs to correct itself…so don’t look at this (or me) as some big conspiracy type thing. Regardless if it is or not. The issue I have with movies like ‘Super-size Me’ is that Subway is right next to McDonalds…and has been for a minute. But there is no ‘cool-emissions-free-sports-car’ dealership next to the Hummer dealership, you know? Check the trailer for this movie at the link below…I’m honestly pretty excited about it. And overall just really excited to see what America is going to do in the next 5-10 years. Seriously, why can’t I get an electric Audi A4? I can dream, right? Thanks to Nicolai for the heads-up on this.

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Anil Gupta Tattoos!!!

I’ve made a few tattoo posts before…but for some reason I haven’t made a post about Anil Gupta yet. Long overdue. Anil is probably the most gifted tattoo artist I have ever seen. That is up for debate, sure, but in my own opinion, he’s the best at what he does. Don’t believe me? Ok then - click here, or here (some amazing HR Giger work…), or here, or here (look at the scale!!!), or even maybe here. Wow…I could go on, but you need to take a look for yourself. I need to be careful, every time I look through his portfolio I want to go get more ink done, and that means more money spent. But whatever, if they look half as good as Anil’s work, I wouldn’t complain. Anyways, go look through this truly amazing artist’s portfolio and get inspired. Then get a kanji tattoo on your lower back or something.

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What an amazing day out today…yeah., I’m into this…for a few reasons. (1) Web 2.0 at its finest; great offering packaged in a great design – I love the use of both Flash and AJAX. (2) Its based right here in downtown Grand Rapids and run by some great people in the downtown community. (3) Most important of all…it is taking on and challenging the traditional marketing and distribution channels/methods/etc of Hollywood. Seriously I love that…we saw the mixtape distribution game go nuts from 2002-2005 within the hip-hop community. It’s was like…why even get signed to a record label you know? And is taking a similar but more organized approach to this in the film world. Very simple, let the small/independent producers release their films direct via a community-based website and let the (passionate) public rate it, blog about it, tag it, and buy it. It really is a pretty simple setup…but being well executed is always a differentiator on the web…and I’m into how does it. Check the site at the link below if my explanation didn’t make sense. And yeah, I’m very excited to see something like this happening in downtown GR…inspiring and refreshing.

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Deep Thoughts 2.0!

It’s been a while, and I thought it would be appropriate to do a new ‘Deep Thoughts’ post. How ‘bout it?

-The new Red Hot Chili Peppers album Stadium Arcadium is really good.
-Speaking of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, have I mentioned their video for “Can’t Stop” is my favorite music video of all-time? Directed by my favorite director of all-time Mark Romanek.
-I’ve been listening to Fugazi, Bob Dylan, Live, Crystal Skulls, Tool, Minus The Bear, and ‘Reasonable Doubt’-era Jay-Z lately. Also this new Sufjan Stevens “Outtakes” album is really great.
-I am trying, but I can’t get into the Arctic Monkeys. My brother likes them a lot though - what’s up Eric.
-Taylor Hicks winning American Idol is pretty funny to me. With the current state of popular music, it’s really quite interesting to see someone with his style win such a popular competition. When we were in Barcelona, Ben caught me looking at the American Idol website. I was kind of embarassed. Just like I am actually writing this.
-The new Kanye West/Paul Wall video for “Drive Slow” is…slow. Not one of Kanye’s better videos in my opinion. Beautifully shot though, I love the colors in it. It’s also, as Ben said, a commercial for Lincoln. See it here - video.
-The new issue of Beautiful/Decay is really, really nice. Please do a great magazine a favor and go pick it up. It’s carried at most all Borders now. What’s up Amir!
-Vitamin D and Vitamin P are pretty much absolutely essential books to have, I don’t care how into art you are . You will love these books.
-I will be at Lollapalooza this year for sure. RHCP, Wilco, Broken Social Scene, Secret Machines, Gnarls Barkley, Mute Math, Mates of State…and more…should be good. I love that it’s here in Chicago too.
-Please, if you email me and Ben, stop assuming we’re from New York. I don’t know why everyone does that. People assume we’re both from NYC when in fact we’re not. He’s in Grand Rapids, and I’m in the Chicago suburbs for God sakes. Ha…
-I turned 21 on Tuesday. My fiance Holly threw me a surprise party. It was great. Don’t take any of your friends or family for granted, ever.
-Design Within Reach, Berloni, and Ulterior Mode. Three great modern design/furniture/home furnishing sites. Beautiful stuff on all those…
-Make sure you check out and buy things from the aNYthing store!!

That’s it! That’s all I got! I’m the juggernaut, bitttccchhh!

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Mr. Clean Magic Eraser!!

Alright - so there’s been some drama here at the BRILLIANCE headquarters lately. Ben almost fired me because I have been pretty bad about not posting very often. So my promise to Ben, Jesus, and the people who read this site is that I’m going to step my posting game up. Which leads me to how great Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with Extra Power is. As an artist who works on a desk all day, apparently grime and soot and specimens grow on my hands because theres like these invisible layers of scum on my desk. But no more, when I wipe it off with the ol’ Magic Eraser. We really should be getting paid for these types of posts…anyways…also being an artist - I use my big wood desk when I draw - and I always get paint or marker on the desk, then forget about it. So it’s really nice to use this extra power Magic Eraser to get that stuff off - seriously - if you are an artist not only using a computer, but pens/pencils/paint/marker, you have to make sure you keep a box or two of these around if you like to clean up after yourself. So hey - Mr. Clean/Proctor & Gamble - maybe send me a big free supply of these babies…it’s the least you could do. Seriously. Come on.

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Pelon Pelo Rico!

Once again, solidifying my position on the throne as the reigning ‘corner store king’ and the official ‘bodega baller’… I present you with Pelon Pelo Rico. I don’t know how many people have ever had this stuff, but if you need a little variety in your junk food diet… ¡esto es lo que necesitas!. Check the main ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, milled pepper, salt, and citric acid. Milled pepper…that’s right. It’s like this paste, a sticky reddish brownish paste. And it comes in this fat cartoonish looking syringe. Honestly, what the hell?! Who was like ‘yo, I got an idea for some new candy’ and this is what they came up with…ha? Honestly though, it is so amazingly good. My man who grew up in southern Texas put me onto it when I was in high school and I pick it up when ever I see it, which isn’t often. So yeah…I just got three, you should too…and act like you knew!

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This BMW “no” campaign?

Hmm…not sure on this one. Honestly, like the overall feel of it…I like it. It’s certainly different for BMW. I would have expected this from Saab, Volvo…maybe even Audi. But not really from BMW. Remember that commercial a year or two ago where they show the guy in the 3 series fixing his hair in the mirror forever while the other guy jumps in his A4 and adjust his mirror to actually see behind him rather than fix his hair? I always liked that commercial. I’ll be honest, BMW makes a really amazing car, facts are facts. But they have always had a very ‘punk’ feel about them, or rather their consumer does. It’s those 25-30 year olds with an extra $150 a month who stretch for the 3 series lease rather than the Accord, or Civic, or whatever…and then acts like they’ve ‘made it’ you know? You’re not impressing me when you pay $8 for valet and don’t tip the guy. Whoa, I’m ranting. Anyway…but check this out, I think it’s cool, I think it’s a ‘neat’ move on BMW’s part, trying something new. And regardless of anything, the M6 is one of the wildest cars out, hands down…beautiful ride. Weird post, whatever. I’m also really into their web site layout, hasn’t changed for a while…doesn’t need to.

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Zena Holloway’s Underwater Photography!!

Wow… I’m constantly impressed these days with a lot of photographers…but every now and then I come across one whose work makes you shake your head in confusion as to how they do what they do, get the colors they get, the composition…everything. Even if there is post production involved - sometimes it doesn’t matter because they make it so seamless. Take, for example, Zena Holloway’s photography. It’s all based underwater - and it’s pretty breathtaking I must say. The picture I used for the thumbnail of this post is one of my favorites - the divers with all those fish swarmed around them! Wow…what I like about her work - not only is it beautiful but it’s fascinating because it all takes place deep in the sea - somewhere that I don’t spend a great deal of time, ha…Anyways - it’s also important you take a look at her films. Beautiful! Make sure to check out my favorite photo on her site - Set #1, the middle photo in the bottom row. The divers with the shark in the middle…for Greenpeace. I love that…Anyways, check out her site. below…

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Jay-Z on this Hustlin’ remix!!

Good lordy. This track is too much for me. We don’t resort to violence, we on resorts and islands. How is Jay-Z so good…seriously? And how is his ‘reach’ so far? Seems like everyone respects him…I was chilling with this girl the other night who is very ‘college’ with some sort of International Relations major – very proper, etc – and she said if she could meet one person it would be Jay-Z. That just blows my mind. This guy is talking about the rawest street stuff, straight up drug trafficking, real deal crime. And then you see him and Billy Gates laughing together. Absolutely unreal. Jay-Z defines finesse, but he doesn’t do it in an egotistical manner…he embodies anyone who ‘hustles’ to better their life. Yeah, so that’s my feeling this morning on El Hovito. I don’t even really know what to write up in this post about the actual song…just go check the track. Actually, I’m not really into this Rick Ross guy, I hadn’t even listened to the non-remix version of this song, mainly because I cant really get into any new hip-hop you know? But yeah, Jay-Z is one inspirational dude…saying his Gulfstream IV is white on white? Come on… Check it below at