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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Kind of weird that I hadn’t posted this before…probably cause I didn’t want to ‘blow-up-the-spot’ as the kids say. If I wasn’t into cycling I’d be into this stuff. THIS is branding. Start off with a super strict focus - in this case it’s cycling. Make really, really amazingly classic products. Differentiate yourself in your industry by being a bit more understated. Then display, not market, your product as more of a lifestyle purchase than a ‘oh I need this widget’ type purchase. Then add some magic…like all the good brands have. Then keep it up. I just got turned onto Rapha last year…such awesome stuff. I guess the only thing I can compare it to would be maybe what Louis Vuitton is for Travel, Rapha is for cycling. Maybe minus the logo blow-out that LV can sometimes come across with when in the wrong hands. What’s awesome to is how there is just nothing that compares with Rapha in the cycling gear market…like, nothing. It’s like, multi-colored spandex or Rapha? Ha. And their prints?? Actual art prints. I think anyone who sells a physical products should aspire to sell pages from their catalogs as art. Seriously. ***Hey, if anyone has a connect for me to get the white Grand Tour gloves in small…PLEASE let me know. Seriously, hit us up at the email address on our about page.

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Constant rotation, Feist X Gonzales!!!

…Kick…drum…Kick…drum…Kick…drum…Kick…drum …man this is my theme song right now. I have been on this stretch of relying on streamed internet music and dumping my iTunes library cause my computer is super full. So what I have been doing is just streaming the same song over and over and over and just zoning out. This right here is a designers track, melodic music that keeps you goin on laptop marathons. Anything that Feist touches easy listening, but the Gonzales touch adds that perfect energy. Dude is awesome. You gotta check out the making of his track “Working Together” Its like a kids show theme song for grown ups. You’ll see what I mean. Click away.

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Cai Guo-Qiang’s show at Guggenheim Spiral. Wow…

We usually like to end post titles with our trademark exclamation points (!!!) when they are especially interesting, but this kind of defies exclamation points altogether. I found this posted up on Supertouch just a few minutes ago and I don’t know quite what else to say that they already haven’t…” of the most inspiring art shows of the decade with Cai Guo-Qiang’s midcareer retrospective extravaganza, ‘I Want To Believe.” I’m not sure if I’ll have a chance to see this in person but I’d really love to, considering Supertouch also said “...creating masterpieces of epic grandeur and subtle detail that must be witnessed in person to be appreciated.” Beautiful and technically and creatively stunning, the cars suspended and ‘exploding’ from the ceiling of the spiral are nothing short of brilliant. The wolves are a classic that were what originally introduced me personally to Guo-Qiang’s work, and the human, ark, tiger, and light sculptures honestly could inspire just about anyone - even the most self-described ‘non-creative’ people - to want to try their hand at creating something. Tons of pictures on Flickr here, clean, pro shots of the show on the ABC website here, and info about Cai here on his site. Unreal.

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Wired’s article on FREE!

“One of the old jokes from the late-‘90s bubble was that there are only two numbers on the Internet: infinity and zero.” I may be taking that slightly out of context - but I couldn’t agree more. You get EVERYTHING for free on the net, and it costs NOTHING. And if they’re charging for it today…someone will figure out a way to make it free tomorrow. Ever stopped and wondered how this works? I mean yeah, ads, etc…but…really??? Funny too, I’ve been having lots and lots of conversations with friends about the whole concept of all things digital being free. Music, TV/Movies, storage, maybe even software, etc. Seems like every argument I come up with to explain why something will still have a cost to the user…I can find a reason why it won’t in about 5 minutes. Arguing with myself, ha? Yikes. One of the more simple examples would be movies. Sure, they’re pirated now, but not as obviously as music…mostly because they take more than 30 seconds to download. But remember when songs took 5 minutes to download? And that was fast? Or software…what if Photoshop/Illustrator were online tools? Seems pretty hard to imagine a web app that could do that right? But it’s almost like an ‘imagine it, and it is’ kind of a thing you know? If you can dream it…bandwidth, clever kids, and venture cap will eventually make it happen…and by eventually I mean sooner than you think. And it’ll most likely be free. It’s so funny to me…a whole market can exist, all charging an ‘industry standard’ for a product/service. But if someone with a tiny bit of pull makes it free, the whole market collapses. Like…what the hell are they going to do with all that space where the CDs are in Best Buy??? Ha, right? So weird to stop and think about. Even weirder is that we’re, ages 20 and better, not the real internet generation. A whole new generation that sees ‘free’ as totally normal and completely expected is growing up now. Can we compare this to anything that has ever happened before in human history? Interesting stuff to just think about…this fantastic Wired article addresses all these things in great detail. Check it out..for free. ***I guess it’s important read the article and really think about industries that could become digital. That’s when it gets a bit more mind-numbing…to me at least. Also, thanks to Rick and Dennis for sending this link over.

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Forbes: Greatest Art Heists!

I’m such a sucker for this stuff. Really. I’m actually a little late on posting this…meant to do it the other day after that ‘smash-and-grab’ job where those guys stole $130M worth of art by just holding a couple guards at gun point and having a well placed get-away van. Nuts, right? So, truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever stolen anything in my life…just the thought of it makes me feel guilty, ha. But, there is something about the whole idea of stealing art that seems somehow more ‘made-for-movie’ or maybe more of a ‘romantic crime’. Interesting too, Chuck and I have been going back and forth in convo a bit about how stealing art even works. Since its not really ‘tender’ or liquid currency and its not a meltable precious metal…it’s pretty much worthless to the thieves after its been stolen. Maybe ransom, but for the most part I would assume art is never stolen unless a buyer is already lined up. And that’s even more bizarre as it can never really be shown publicly after its been stolen. Apparently there are collectors willing to risk some pretty serious penalties to have a piece of art strictly for themselves to enjoy - and no one else. Right? Interesting stuff. Check our the article below, good stuff.

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Just Bought: RAF SIMONS x Eastpak Backpack!!!

&designerMy new ongoing series of posts. I admit I am a consumer and I love design and pay attention to brands so this is gonna work out perfect. So I mentioned I was seriously anticipating these backpacks to come out since I saw the first images pop-up on the net. DHL came by yesterday and dropped one off just for me. Seriously, from the moment I opened up that packaging I go the impression that this is a “designers” backpack. Every single detail was thought about, perfected….colors, material, fabrication, the oversize-ness of the shape, the packaging….how the pocket enclosures work, the whole triangular theme. I was the kid with like 3-4 backpack a school year so I have seen my fair share. On the market, the backpack to beat is any Visvim models, which is like a Burton AK pack with super soft elk leather, the best Cordura nylon, no grain straps etc. The RAF pack is not on that level of material quality but makes up for it with the aesthetic. Like pushing arguably the best backpack of all time, the Louis Christopher with a military tint to a more modern utilitarian place. Raf Simons all together is an unknown designer, check out this perfectly timed article to see why he’s important and why I am doing all this typing about a backpack, ha.

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My new fix: Resurgence of the Soul Sample blog!

Music…they don’t make it like they used to. So we sample it. Old soul, R&B, rock, funk, groove, lounge, etc…whatever. I’m starting to get obsessed with old classics. What happened to music with ‘essence’ like that?? Even with pretty poor recording quality it has more FEEL to it than half the stuff coming out today. I always liked a classic here and there, but ever since Virgil gave me that ‘Welcome to Kanye’s Soul Mix Show’ mixtape I’ve been hooked. Thing is, the music is actually pretty hard to find, almost impossible sometimes. For example, Common’s track ‘They Say’ samples Ahmad Jamal’s track ‘Ghetto Child’ off of his Jamaica album. Seriously took me 2 months to get a digital copy of it. Long gone are those days…enter Anwar’s fairly new blog called Resurgence of the Soul Sample. I could seriously waste hours on the site. All sorts of popular (and some rare) hip-hop tracks accompanied by the full, original, song sampled to create the beat….and often some insightful background on the original artist as well. His site is already getting quite popular. The link below is a pretty comprehensive Ahmad Jamal post he did, and a little shout to us. ***And since I’m a music buyer, I encourage users to pay for the music if there is place where it can be easily purchased, iTunes/AmazonMp3!

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Kanye Splitting the Grammy stage in half & Lemur Pads!!!

Watching Kanye tear down the Grammy was too fresh. He is seriously putting on a show ahead of his time. Seeing Daft Punk give a glimpse of what they do was crazy too. Was anyone else amazed at those pads they were messing around with. I dunno about others but its kind of boring when you go out to a spot and the DJ just has their laptop & Serato that program that allows DJs to just play their iTunes library using turntables as the controller. But I always thought that was the tip of the iceberg, as it turns out these Lemur pads are the iceberg. I guess multi-touch technology really is the �Jetsons-esque� wave of the future. Word is you can customize the graphics and the pads are totally functional. The customizable drum pads trigger different sounds and actually make loops on the fly. This is way more exciting to watch then just clicking away at a laptop. Who ever starts programming/remixing music live like that will really go back to the future. It’s 2008 and we still don�t have Jetsons cars�least iPhones are out and these Lemur things are available for purchase. Now�.where can I find that LED light jacket�

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Hedi Slimane’s photo diary!

I think Virgil posted a link to Hedi’s site a while back when he left Dior Homme…but I want to highlight the diary piece of his site, or photo diary, specifically. Hedi, for me, is one of those really amazing sources of inspiration for overall aesthetic…like ‘life aesthetic’ you know? The whole package. Yeah, when he was at Dior Homme he created some pretty much revolutionary concepts in both look as well as construction/cuts for mens fashion. That’s undisputed. But his art direction of the photo shoots, the architecture and interior design of the retail stores, the hang tags, the models, etc…and now the furniture and gallery projects he’s doing…that’s the whole package he creates. An entire image. All encompassing. And never, ever, using color…just black and white. Amazing stuff. His style is really 1 of 1…it doesn’t remind me of anything and its pretty unmistakable. So while we all wait to see what his own line will look like, waste some time on his amazing photo diary. It’s almost like its a direct view into what inspires him. People, textures, things, light, scenes, etc. Great stuff. And good ‘web design’ as well, hits that minimal mark perfectly without being annoying.

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The Last Calligraphers!!!

I’m a news editor for DesignIsKinky, so between that site and this site, I see lots and lots of links. Not all of them catch my eye or attention, in fact, most of them don’t. I guess it’s just hard to make whatever news you’re submitting sound exciting in just a few words and a link. But every now and then, one will come through that I can’t ignore for some reason and I want to post it here, on DiK, and everywhere else that I can. ‘The Last Calligraphers’ is one of those. Sent in by Premjit Ramachandran (whose work I should mention is very nice…check the link), I was instantly intrigued - “An important (upcoming) film about the last handwritten newspaper in Asia and probably one of the few left in the world.” Handwritten newspaper?! Like, the whole thing!??! Ha…yes. The whole thing. Truly mind-numbing work it sounds like, but it’s fascinating to watch this trailer for the film which I’ll have to keep everyone posted on. I find this really just incredible but simultaneously humorous when I try to think about this being done here in the states, for example. To think there is anyone in the U.S. that would hand-write an entire newspaper is laughable if not ridiculous. It’s not that our alphabet can’t be beautiful - many typographers and artists have proven the opposite - but there is a mystic, wild quality to Urdu script. I am really pretty floored about it - these people are truly passionate about keeping a superrare artform alive, and for pennies a day. Check the link below…thanks Premjit for sharing.