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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2009, year in review!

Alright, here is my full year in review, sike! “2009?? Never heard of it.” - Benjamin Edgar

2010 is here, but lets be honest, its just a date on a calendar - nothing has ACTUALLY changed? But you know, its a nice to have like a “place-marker” to move past, re-consider and do new stuff. I’m getting more and more like Mr. Lagerfeld in my complete disinterest in the past - I just don’t care about it. Here’s to the future everybody! Here’s to a year full of fun. Building the brands/businesses/projects I’m already a part of and some fun new ones too that I’ve been working on. Can’t wait to see what happens with some of them. Hearing new music. Goofing around more. Traveling. Having a ton of fun. Get out what you put in! Alright, back to this new South Rakkas Crew album and diet coke! Woowww. See you on the internet, later crocodiles.

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I went to Art Basel Miami! And all YOU get is this lousy post!

That title was supposed to be like those tourist shirts, did it work?! Ha. Oh boy. So this post will be two parts. #1, my first experience in South Beach/Miami. #2, the whole Art Basel experience. Both of which get an “A++++ WOULD BUY AGAIN - FAST SHIPPING, ASSET!” rating. So #1, Dear Miami & South Beach: I think I kind of fell in love with you. I expected you to be a corny club girl with hot-pants, bad shoes, heavy tan, and a fake Chanel bag - but I was all wrong. Please forgive me. Seriously though, I guess I don’t know what I was expecting, and yeah, there is some corny Florida stuff happening down there - but its super cosmopolitan, has like a real thick “feel” to it. Almost like I wasn’t in the states except for the extremely convenient placement of CVS’s and Walgreens all over the place. Maybe it was just because Basel was going on, but the fashion, the people, the scenes, the parties (zomg!), the super relaxed vibe, the amazing weather, and my goodness to you guys love your cars. Sheesh, was like a car show down there. So yeah, I’ll be back for sure this year actually looks like in the next couple weeks. And…I’ve actually looked at condos in downtown, thanks to people buying things they can’t afford there are some amazing deals, bam. #2, Basel itself. Simply overwhelming. Take the Chicago auto show, make it a bit bigger, and then throw some of the worlds most amazing art into a space that size. Just unreal. Then you’ve got all the other related fairs, Scope, Pulse, etc. All of which were amazing. Its certainly got an art-snob feel to it though - good or bad - just does. Lots of wrist-glancing by the snooty gallery owners. Ha, imagine: “Ugh, a Bretling, seriously?...looks like I’ll be selling just signed prints all weekend, omg.” Ha, sorry, but its somewhat true, and you thought walking into a Porsche dealership was rough. Basel, the main affair, is certainly a members-only club where the art shown is tightly controlled and who can buy it is even tighter. Makes you really, really appreciate events like ArtPrize here in Grand Rapids. All that said, hell of a trip to Miami, I got to see some amazing art & partied way too hard (Max Fish!!!). Can’t wait to do it again next year.

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Maestro Knows!!

I hope you’re all calling me “late” on this post - mostly because I really hope you’ve all gotten familiar with Mr. Levi Maestro, and his SHOW (not blog!) known as Maestro Knows. I’m actually chilling at my favorite restaurant/bar right now eating some General Tso’s chicken and having a Coors Light - wasting time on twitter, etc. And I wanted to throw up a quick post on what I’ll go ahead and call a new phenomenon in this whole “niche culture” thing we participate in - yeah, I think his show is a bit of a phenomenon. Thing that struck me, first time I watched his show, was how nice he seemed/was. No cool guy attitude. This is so important to me!! Maestro is stoked to simply be doing what he wants to be doing that he can’t be distracted by being “too cool”. His show is a simple yet brilliant almost like point-of-view connection with people he finds super interesting and what they do on a day to day. Think of it as a travel show almost. And his quirky use of twitter to connect with people who dig what he’s up to and build a personality/brand on-line beyond just his show. Its really in the details with what he’s up to. He’s really creating a pretty fantastic brand. Maestro and I actually had a chance to catch up in Chicago not too long ago - so yeah, ha, I got to verify all this in person. He’s a cool dude, doing super cool stuff using the web/his creativity/vision and I’d place my bets that he’s going to be up to some huge things in the near future. I think he’s a great ambassador to “niche culture”. If you haven’t checked out his show yet - please do!! Stay tuned for more.

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Ellis’ no-hitter on LSD!!!

James Blagden has been a friend of THE BRILLIANCE for a while now. We love his work - he’s a super talented, super creative dude who also loves sports, which I personally really appreciate. Anyways, this is just amazing. The drawings, the animation, the story, the actual voiceover of Ellis from a radio interview he did before he passed away…The story goes that on June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitched a no-hitter while completely out of his mind, tripping on LSD. I don’t need to say much more than that, just watch the video. It’s quite awesome. Created by James Blagden for No Mas NYC.

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Red Bull Air Races! My goodness.

A friend of mine just put me on to this, had never seen it before. It’s kind of a like, Nascar 10x and in three dimensions, and more…beauty to it. And danger, my goodness. So I had no idea Red Bull actually has an action sports “think-tank” where they actually dream up new sports. Ha? It makes such perfect sense though, just watching this sport feels like drinking 2-3 Red Bulls. No joke. Writing anything trying to describe this sport doesn’t really make sense - its best to watch it. But briefly, its small, extremely agile/fast, and apparently very simple prop-powered planes through a course with pylons known as air gates that are super small either completely horizontal, or at a perfect 90 degree angle known as “knife-edge”. They seriously have about 3-4 meters on the side of each wine between these pylons and they’re doing 250mph. If that wasn’t enough, the races usually take place over open bodies of water, rivers, air-fields, or natural wonders…and usually about 25-50 feet off the ground. Seriously, just nuts to watch! I dig the kind of international feel of the sport and while super fast cars on a closed track can be (kind of) interesting - everyone, and I mean everyone’s imagination is captured by airplanes and flight. This is confirmed by the 800,000+ people in attendance at the Barcelona race. Cha-ching for Red Bull. Video games, merchandise, licensing, movies, syndication to networks, etc, etc, etc. And, cool that Hulu has them to watch for free.

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Inc. Magazine: Jason Fried, this is how I work!

Man, I’m blogging!! I haven’t done this many posts in a while. I’ve been feeling semi-relaxed these past few days, maybe that’s why. Whatever. So, I always worry that I’m going to sound fan-boyish when I talk about people I admire - maybe I shouldn’t care. Either way. People like Jason Fried are really interesting to listen to - either you loathe his attitude towards things or you really identify with him. His latest article in Inc. Magazine is him giving a glimpse into how he operates day to day. Funny, we interviewed him a while back and asked some of the exact same questions. People, I think for the most part, are drawn to him not just because he’s got a wildly successful business but because he seems to have a business/personal life that are woven well together. Most people don’t, you know? Maybe that’s just why I enjoy reading his thoughts. It’s weird, I imagine Steve Jobs is quite different from Jason Fried, but there are similarities. I have oddly placed their insights in the same “mental bin” in my head. Hmm. Anyway, great feature, check it out at the link below.

***You know whats bugging me, is people in comments asking Jason, directly, how they can: skip meetings, come in late, minimize work weeks, etc, etc, etc, and make money like 37signals does. He never said it would work for you. He’s simply giving a look into what makes 37signals work. Not everything translates to your business, you know? And honestly, I feel like as soon as you have to ask those questions you already don’t “get it”. Probably the same reason why I can’t stand self-help books. Ugh.

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Objectified - the flick that I’ve been waiting to watch for…too long. From the guys who made a movie a fell asleep watching, Helvetica. Sorry, maybe I had mono that day - I just couldn’t keep them peeled. Objectified on the other hand is awesome, as I hoped it would be. It’s not nearly as niche a film - I think pretty much anyone could watch it and get inspired by the idea that everything we interact with, every single day, is designed - either amazingly well, poorly, or just meh. Johnny Ive’s part was of course cool, his little giggle thing or whatever at the end of his bit was kind of weird though, ha. Weird to see him break his whole “AL-YOU-MINI-YUM” intense stare thing. Anyway, yeah. Mr. Dieter Rams is simply mesmerizing to listen to. Naoto Fukasawa’s explanation of simplicity by comparing corny over the top poets (see “slam” poets) to poets who prefer hiakus really struck a chord with me. Kind of like the whole, “don’t design just for design’s sake” - duh, but Muji has that perfect magic about it doesn’t it? I’d have to say my favorite was the Frenchman, the two Bouroullec’s. They are so passe it seems - they’re simply doing what they enjoy, and not too concerned about being “designers”, you know? Or maybe they’re just super French and I just dig French people. I think my favorite part about Objectified was that I could grab it right off iTunes for only $9.99 - I just thought that was a hell of deal, and I don’t have to rip it, or whatever, I’ve got it with me all the time. Great flick, I highly recommend it. ***Kareem Rashid’s suit jacket didn’t fit. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

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We Were Once A Fairytale, A short film by Kanye and Spike Jonze.

You know, I’ve been, dare I say, a loyal Kanye fan for quite some time. His production, his music, his taste, and maybe even more so his apparent lack of pretention in just being himself - totally un-edited. Its cliche, yeah, to be like: ‘oh, I love when someone is just themselves’ - but I distinctly remember Kanye being on 106 and Park when College Dropout was just about to come out - he was wearing this bright blue corduroy polo blazer - and jumped off the sofa and said something to the effect that he was you, he was everyone in the audience, he was the fan that got too close to stage. I’ve never really looked at him as simply an entertainer - he’s always been an artist that uses any medium he see’s fit to present his work. Be that pop-music, proper street music, fame, antics, fashion, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. All as a medium. This isn’t a post for me to gush about him, etc, its more the context that I watch his latest creation in. Its all about context isn’t it?? All that said, have a look - link below.

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Some stuff, or whatever.

What’s up?? The whole THE BRILLIANCE! gang over here has been heads down, busy, working, getting inspired, etc. All is well though. WHATEVERZ though right?! So yeah, I’m just going to post a bunch of stuff I’m into right now, things that are inspiring me, or whatever.

Ferro fluid video. Have you ever seen this stuff? Super cool, in fact, I actually tried to order some on eBay once - it never came, the guy said it got lost in the mail.

Why doesn’t Vans make the black on black, or white on white classic in leather? Bummer.

Triumph Of The Nerds! How had I never seen this. Circa 1996, big glasses, getting it in. I miss coding after watching this.

Clove cigarettes are banned now, yeah, I guess I’m “goth”, ha, cause I enjoy ‘em. I still have a hook-up.

“Beyonce Clown.” First there was “Cat Gate”, and now this. Try and watch that and not laugh.

I kind of miss having a Blackberry sometimes.

I grew up reading Popular Science, etc - I haven’t read one in a while.

I was under-the-weather (I hate saying “sick”) a week ago for about 3 days - and having to sit at home for 2+ days (let alone more than 3 hours) did wonders for my creativity. Forcing yourself to slow down, and just day-dream is a good thing - even if you feel rough.

I’ve never been to Mexico before - I think I’m headed there this season. I think.

Winter-wear. I’m taking it seriously this year. Marmot puffer (sorry, Moncler is getting too obvious) and I just got a Supreme winter cap in the mail. I might even do long-johns. Ha, are there any cool long-johns?? Hey everybody, have a good weekend.

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Heavy inspiration: Rachel Sussman’s photography & travels!!

To be a photographer is one thing. To travel the world and document what most people would consider to be some of the most fascinating natural wonders on Earth is another. Rachel Sussman’s work does all of that. I discovered it via Jason Fried’s Twitter when he posted about her Oldest Living Things In The World section, which by the way is completely amazing and my favorite section of her site. What’s more - her work is good because it’s so simple. No heavy editing, no screwing with colors to make things “look cooler” via Photoshop…Just the photos of a person who has seen some amazing things in her lifetime. Look at this tree!!. 2,000 years old in South Africa. Super cool. Super simple.