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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What blogs I read: The Life Files!

This was hard to find a little image for…in fact so was the last post I made. So blogs I read…I guess the real question is: do any of the people who read THE BRILLIANCE care? I’ll just assume some do, ha. Enter The Life Files or Virgil actually put me on to this quite a while back – glad he did. The content is actually a bit hard to classify – little bit of hip-hop culture, street/niche culture, pop culture, celebrity gossip, paparazzi, fashion stuff, and some randoms – all good stuff. It’s kind of ‘right-by-the-checkout-magazine-rack’ that you only read while on vacation, you know? And, the big plus, its often updated…love that. We should update our site more often, ha. So yeah, its Monday morning and that’s my post.

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Comfort Tee Recipe!!

Every once and awhile I feel the do-it-yourself itch. Its like the kid in me or something. I remember in college I thought I was a head of the curve by dying a pair of jeans purple. Not quite ahead of the curve…yet…maybe after stonewash jeans, colored jeans be cool. Anyways its just cool doing something that has a personal touch, and making something your own. I found this nifty recipe for distressing t-shirts. Turn that brand new college tee you bought from Steve & Barry’s for like $4 and turn it into a $70 tee they are selling at Barney’s and whatnot.

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My Blackberry + Google Maps + GPS!

Looks like I am a couple days late on this…but yeah, whoa. Very cool. So I got the Blackberry 8800 a month ago I think…downloaded the Google Maps app, was cool – but couldn’t figure out why it didn’t integrate with the GPS built into my Blackberry. I guess they were working on it! I just downloaded it this evening, and my ride from Ada to Downtown GR was a lot more dangerous with me staring at my Blackberry watching it update the map and my location in real time. Yeah, cause my Saab doesn’t have navigation. Google is wild, they give everything away for free – and in this case they knocked out the TeleNav application that hit for $9.99 a month. I actually kind of feel sorry for TeleNav – even if it has a few more features that Google Maps doesn’t – I can’t see a lot of people actually paying roughly $120 a year for it. So that’s my post…off to Bar Divani for the night.

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Green Label Art!!!

Last November I got an email from Hawaii Mike Salman over at Seed Communications about participating in a project for this new Mountain Dew campaign coming out Summer 2007. I was like, let’s DEW it! ...................... Anyways…... Just from a behind the scenes perspective, Mike, Nat (ASF), and all the crew over at Seed are really great people to work with. So open minded, patient, and cool…really - so much respect to send their way. So this new project launched this past week - Green Label Art. Basically this is Mountain Dew’s new program launched with 12 limited-run designs of aluminum bottles created by a slew of incredible artists and designers. The site is really fresh…Full of videos from the participating artists, galleries of their work and their bottle designs, and much more. “We wanted to show who these artists are, the events and things going on around the launch, and the other side of that is the contest, the design your own bottle campaign,” said Mike Salman. Which brings me to this next part - this crazy contest they’re holding. Basically go over to the site and click on ‘Contest’ up top. If you’re an artist, designer, or just dabble in Microsoft Paint, you’ve got until June 30th to create a bottle design to enter in this contest. If you win, you get $10,000. Seriously. That’s an incredibly awesome prize… That’s $10K…cash. To you. Not some lame $10,000 to the charity of your choice…YOU get this money to spend however you want. That was horrible of me to say. But yeah…Check it out. Some of the artists include Jeff Staple, Chris Pastras & Paul Rodriguez, Methamphibian, Dr. Revolt, Adam Juresko, and more. Very cool…

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Silicon Valley: It’s not about the nerds anymore?

I am an avid…really avid reader of TechCrunch. Even when it started to get a little trite these past couple months…that aside, this latest post about Silicon Valley needing a downturn was perfect. The last thing I like to hear is some guy’s fire-and-brimstone opinion about bubble…cause at the end of the day they are really just hating on growth. Things are supposed to be uncomfortable in growth!!! But why I posted – I really like how Michael Arrington addresses the lack of innovation and appreciation of truly beautiful and genius products being developed by great minds. Silicon Valley is Hollywood now – now I’m from a far, far away land known as the Midwest, but its obvious even from this distance. It’s about funding and PR more than it is the next amazing idea – more than it is about totally nerding-out and doing wild new things. So yeah, this isn’t a ‘debbie downer’ post…I just think Mr. Arrington has some good points on why technology/innovation is supposed to be fun – not always super-Hollywood. ***Where are all the Steve Jobs like guys…tripping on acid, acting crazy in meetings, not wearing shoes?!

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Josh Keyes!!

Chuck sent me a link to Josh Keyes’ work yesterday…and I think I’ve honestly had a browser window open with it since than, ha. Like opening it, scrolling thru it…thinking how it would work in my home, etc. Really just ‘floored’ by his stuff. I think I made mention of it in a pervious art post – but how I dig stuff that is looming or almost scary maybe. His work hits that dead-on. Has a great starkness to it – how it floats on the middle of the canvas as well as the colors…they are so perfectly flat. In fact, in an interview he mentions that he studies a lot of 1950’s - 1960’s school books and how their diagram art looked, etc. You can certainly see that influence in the ‘side view’ or cut-out pieces where the root structures, dirt, etc show…really amazing use of that. But beyond all that – the actual environments he creates, with the blending of water and three-dimensional stuff is so wild, seriously, I love it. The half in water, half out of water deer (shown) and how the water distorts the color, reflects on its fur…then how it refracts the actual image of the deer. Man…ha, I could go on for a while with this! Check his work, so inspiring.

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Slaying and shredding with Guitar Hero!!!

Ok ok, so I’m just now getting on the Guitar Hero (1 & 2) bandwagon. I’m not a big video game person. I’ve just never gotten into them that much, besides brickbreaker on my Blackberry and the occasional Chip’s Challenge or Jezzball break when I used to use a PC… Anyways, my little 11 year old brother got Guitar Hero a few months back and made me feel like an idiot every time I tried to play him. I’d say “Troy, how do you keep up with this stuff?” and he’d say “With pure speed and metal mastery given to me from the lord of darkness.” That’s actually not a true story. But anyways, the first time I played I thought, what a brilliant game…but how is it possible to play some of these songs on hard or expert?! Now I know, because I can shred with the best. That’s actually not true either. But I’m pretty alright at it, and I recently bought a Playstation 2 slim silver pretty much just to have Guitar Hero 1&2. I plan to get a flying V for my 2nd guitar when I melt the faces off my friends who try to beat me. What would be really great is if I could play real guitar. That would be something to post about. But since this game makes it much more possible for someone to play ‘Psychobilly Freakout’ or ‘Institutionalized’ pretty well after a couple weeks of practice, I’ll just stick with the game for now. I started a career and couldn’t think of anything for my band name besides Chuckbutt. This is actually a true story. Anyways, if anyone from Harmonix/Red Octane/Guitar Hero/Playstation/Xbox/Iron Maiden is reading this, please know that you have a huge fan here at The Brilliance and I think you should put a Mastodon song on the next version, possibly ‘Circle Cysquatch’...or go way back and put Snapcase ‘Zombie Prescription’ on there…that would be siiiiiiiiick.

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Karl Lagerfield says Night, Night!!

Never heard him speak and surprisingly he’s quite well spoken and not as harsh as he looks. This is a great clip of him talking about his photo exhibition Farewell to Daylight. Really good commentary and even better discussion on his perspective as a creative icon. Tons of thought provoking stuff here. I especially like the reasoning behind his anti-tourist look in his Paris photographs and his ‘stunt’ answer when the lady interviewing him draws parallels between architecture and fashion, i.e. labeling his work. Great morning video for that creative ‘pick-me-up’.

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Amy Winehouse + Jay-Z, Rehab Remix!

And…even more good music?! The new Kanye then this? Love it right now. So basically it goes something like this: “Hi, I’m Jay-Z. I can get on any track I want for a remix and there is a 95% chance it will be better than the original when I’m done.” Ha…I mean, I have to watch that I don’t get to fan-boyish with the Jay stuff…in fact, the other day I was like “I wonder if Jay is hitting that Wu-Tang time when he should just totally stop and preserve the legacy?” Then I heard that latest Timbaland and then this. Above his flow and all that – this is just a fun song, Amy Winehouse has a totally new thing going on and its cool when you ‘mash up’ artists like this. Good stuff. So yeah, I’m not going to link to the track…instead I’ll just give some shine to my guy Mike C from CarnevaleID who hooked me up with the track. It shouldn’t be too hard to find…

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Murakami X Kanye, say what?!?

Sheesh here we go, I think we have a movement on our hands. So the information is starting to flow. In a time where creativity and real art direction in the music world is on the decline with digital formats we get this duo. Murakami and Kanye and a painfully short, 30 second clip of “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”. I am not one to ruin surprises so…grab some popcorn and enjoy the suspense, from an art icon and a self-made kid from the southside of Chicago. Their pasts tells everything. I love the idea of Murakami collectors around the world picking up this single and hearing Jeezy adlibs throughout their multi-million dollar homes. If your not up on Takashi Murakami pick up the New York Times and see why he’s constantly called the Andy Warhol of our time. Personal thought here, this is some Madonna or Bono type stunt move…hop into the real art world and strike up a relationship and give the world something super good and artistically valuable. Since you never thought that hip hop would take it this far I guess we can’t tell him nothin’….nah uhh