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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OMG NYC Real Estate?

I usually do my little weekly NYC real-estate thing here… But I thought I would post a little something in regards to the latest issue of Fortune magazine and their cover story about how Tom Barrack is pulling out of US real estate. What can you say…the guy has literally made billions in the US market. Flipping at it’s finest. In short, the whole write-up revolves around Tom’s feeling that there is too much amateur money chasing deals. There are of course still good deals to be had and money to be made, especially in niche markets, but in general it’s becoming an overcrowded market. Too many condo developers doing pre-construction sales that won’t be done for another 18 – 24 months…with ever increasing construction and materials cost that will ultimately raise the final price of the units causing all those amateur speculators to back out. Leaving a ‘glut’ of empty and over-priced condos on the market. Yikes. Interesting though, this could introduce a whole new renter demographic to the game…which can be a great thing for investors, but not for the overall economy. Whatever though. Check the link below…full article, like 5 pages long, good time waster.

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Artcoup Photography. Wow…

I think it’s safe to say that I haven’t seen such powerful and intense photography in a long time. Maybe ever?? I know I’d seen Boogie’s site before, but today was the first time I really, I mean really looked through it good and hard. The drug stuff blows me away, just how real and intensely sad and scary it all is. Also make sure you check the ‘gangs’ section, that’s a must for sure. I think it’s so intriguing to me because it’s all so far from anything I’ve ever experienced. I did not grow up in a big city or on urban streets, never have been involved in any drugs, and generally haven’t been around the types of people that are in these photos. It’s just a natural attraction to something foreign to me I suppose. Beautiful and raw are probably the best words to describe the photos. So go check them out. I think I’ve got a new idea for someone to interview…anyways, I’ll be headed to the dangerous streets of Bloomington/Normal, IL for the weekend. Have a good one!

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The Niche Market in NC!

There’s nothing particularly innovative about this store…looks pretty nice, they carry some good brands - Adidas, Vans, Stussy, Paul Frank…it’s not groundbreaking…but it’s in Charlotte, North Carolina. And as far as I know, there aren’t many other places like this in that area. And that is what is innovative about it. I guess I just like to think big, but imagine putting a store like this in an area that has never been exposed heavily to ‘smarter street fashion’ so-to-speak…one little store could affect a generation’s style in a certain location, couldn’t it? Maybe I’m rambling, I don’t know. I just have a lot of respect for people who open their own stores in areas where it is risky that the success will flourish…Or just anybody who makes things happen in general. Naw whattum sayin?

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The Apartment & YMCA!

This is two real-estate related posts in a row. But this one is only half real-estate…the other half is concerning a creative agency know as ‘The Apartment.’ I really like what these guys do. Here is why: They are one of the only agencies who took the steps before others to mesh marketing/branding/and interior design+architecture as one product. Each can be sold as its own service…but, for example, in the case of a new residential loft building project…all of those services will come into play at one point. You must design the space, you must brand, and you must market. Having one agency execute all of these with a clear vision has some pretty sincere results. Such as their latest, the YMCA project, as seen in the latest issue of Interior Design. It’s really an incredible space. Check the link below for more info and check their whole site and get familiar with what these guys are up to. Thanks to Stefan for this…keep doing your thing guys.

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Mark Romanek is…

one of the biggest artistic inspirations to hit me in a very, very long time. I have been subliminally searching for new creative inspiration for a long time now, always checking out artists sites online, portfolios, work in magazines…but nothing has struck me quite like Mark Romanek’s DVD in the Director’s Label box set struck me. His vision, his story, his eye, and most importantly his final product (the music videos) are so striking to me…this isn’t really ‘news’ so-to-speak, but I just only recently bought that DVD and watched everything on it over and over again. More info on that DVD and others at Director’s Label. Anyways, Mark’s videos for Fiona Apple, Jay-Z, Johnny Cash, NIN, and my new favorite video of all-time, “Can’t Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers are all included on the DVD. It’s pretty much a must-buy. The best DVD in my collection, right alongside my World Poker Tournament DVD set. Ha…I’m not kidding. Anyways, I have now told myself I will work with Mark someday. And when I say things like that, I mean it. Someday…

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Stussy’s online store!!!

Of all the online stores I order clothing from, I’d say Stussy is probably my favorite. Always stocked with a ton of stuff, great product shots, and one of my favorites - multiple colors of every shirt available in most every size, you can’t go wrong ordering from No, I’m not getting paid for this, and it sounds like an ad, but whatever. $20 tshirts that fit great, lots of fresh jackets and hats, and Stussy oven mits (just kidding. not funny, I know)...but anyways, what’s up to my man Paul at Stussy. Good guy. Go order something from Stussy right now. Get that Neighborhood X Stussy tee maybe…I love the graphic on that one.

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Man…I guess I was just expecting more. I mean, he’s no Jay-Z…but he has such flavor and personality, so I was expecting something new and refreshing…that’s all. Nothing classic, just something new. Draped Up, Trill Recognize Trill, Pushin, and Story (!)…after that, you can skip all the other tracks. Seriously. And real quick, that Get Throwed track has a perfecto beat but Bun’s flow is too…I just didn’t like it. Pimp C did his thing though. One more thing too, Late Night Creepin…Bun hits it correct but the beat doesn’t work and who the hell is the dude at the end?! Anyway, maybe it was the beats maybe it was his lyrics…not sure, but this album doesn’t work for me. I was expecting a UGK type feel…more south, fuzzy beats, chopped & screwed hooks, more of that whole southern feel…I love that stuff. These beats could have been for any rapper…he should have had Bun-B tailored beats. That’s all I got. Shout to Peter for the hook-up as always. ***Get the album at the link below, King of the Trill. It makes up for everything. Shout to Nat @ ASF.

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OMG NYC Real Estate!

Get it skraight…I love NYC real-estate. Lavish, decadent…whatever. I’m back with round 4 or 5, not sure. ONE – Wowzers…I’ll take two of these. In SoHo, huge, 13 foot ceilings, 4000 sqft, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, etc. Simply beautiful, I love it…everything down to the furniture in this one. So sincere. Hits for $5.2M… TWO – Crispy, white and expensive. This one has a soft feeling to it but you still have to take your shoes off at the door. I love the book cases and the flooring. Classic and new at the same time. Cop one for $6.48M. THREE – The ceiling in this one is nuts…good flooring too. Everything except the bathroom…what the hell? The marble looks like an old school screen-saver, it actually looks stressful. This place just needs some new touches. $4.27M. That’s all I got. Honestly…I hate the idea of co-op. It bothers me every time I look through real-estate. My current condo association is enough as it is! Draped up and dripped out.

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My city, Grand Rapids!

Nope, we’re not from nyc. I love Grand Rapids. I’ve been living in downtown ‘GR’ for roughly 2.5 years…the city is almost hard to describe. Yes, it really is a ‘city.’ We have fresh loft buildings, great night-life, great art scene, unreal new art museum on the way, tons of commerce, progressive people, good diversity, low cost of living, 2 hour drive out of Chicago, an hour and 20 min out of NYC by plane, and we are only 20-30 minutes away from some of the most beautiful beaches in the US…and I’ve been to Maui! I basically wanted to post this because of all the great things that have been going on in our city in terms of cultural growth. The fashion shows as of late have been pretty incredible thanks to Dyce and 11-11 productions…for real, I feel like I want to personally thank them for making things happen here! Those model girls at the last one were perfecto…yessir. Speaking of which…Dyce is throwing a fashion show / gallery event this Friday (14th) at A Pair on Monroe Center starting @ 7 PM. Shout out to all the designers and a big shout out to the crew at Blame Clothing…also HUGE shout out to the whole Premier crew…they are doing big things in the city. Plus the whole real-estate scene downtown…shout to Virgin Soil, doing huge things. Shout to Bar Divani, Thursdays at Drink, Penthouse Scott, AK Rikks, Urban House, European Living, The Chop House, Conduit Studios, Bottega Salon, Nooma, Lumber-Barron’s, Monroe Terrace, Landmark Lofts, People’s Building, Cherry Street Lofts, Yesterdog, Martha’s Vineyard, The Dog Pit, Sundays at Billy’s…All districts: downtown, east-town, the hill, north Monroe, EGR, etc. LONG POST. ***Also…I have a one bedroom loft (800sqft) in the new Union Square building that I will be renting out. Get at me if you’re interested, it’s beautiful.

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SVSV, Collection 2!

SVSV is back for round two. I’ve been lucky enough to watch this brand grow from the imagination of David Gensler into a beautifully executed line. The pieces are wild, the look-books are great, especially the one Chuck and Kareem did, and the whole theme of the brand is really quite refreshing. Some might find it over the top…but let’s not forget this is fashion. Anything goes. One of the things that I really like about SVSV is the ‘looming’ feel the brand has. It has this quiet looming feel to it. I can’t say I like all the pieces…but there has never been a collection from any designer where that was the case. I was actually just talking with David like 2-3 days ago about branding and where SVSV is headed…we got into a conversation about heritage and how it is built. This is one area where I really feel SVSV will stand out from the others. Slow, thoughtful growth, and disregard for trends will end up making SVSV an important brand in the future. T-shirts are dope…but for the cool season you need to step your wool game up! Lambs wool, merino, cashmere, vicuna and all that. Catch me in something soft and vicious!