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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Monday Randoms!!!

They say today is the unhappiest day of the year. I don’t know who these ‘experts’ think they are, but if you are in Chicago or Indianapolis right now, it is most certainly not the unhappiest day of the year. First and foremost, in regards to the Bears and the Colts both winning on Sunday and heading to the Superbowl, I think it’s important to pay respect to the fact that this is the first time a black coach will be in the Superbowl…of course, actually, two black coaches are in this year which means one will win. Good luck to the Colts and all, but, I’ve got to root for the Bears of course…Chicago and all it’s suburbs are buzzing right now. It’s such a cool feeling. Your team wins, you win…that’s just the feeling that you get as a sports fan. What else…I saw Children Of Men on Saturday night…Very good movie with very good acting and a wild plot…too bad the baby in the movie is so clearly CGI…Anyways, the theater I was in had some problems with the sound so afterwards I went and complained, along with the rest of the theater, and got my money back. Ha…saw the whole movie though. Alright…so the other thing that was good about this weekend was SNL with Jeremy Piven the other night….I mean…come on…those Blizzard Man skits or the MacGruber ones…Haha…anyways…..

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R-R-R-Roc Pastelle with Gucci on!!!

Pastelle is coming soon. The website has just been updated. Click the link below for a look at the site and more information.

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Secret wall tattoos!!!

This isn’t exactly new…it’s been online now for probably over 2 years or so. Maybe longer, I’m not sure…but I haven’t really seen it posted up in many places, and, like most of the stuff we post here on THE BRILLIANCE, I just think this is really just pretty damn cool. So anyways, there’s my ‘get with the times’ disclaimer…According to Wikipedia, Josh Homme started doing this secret wall tattoo thing a few years ago. Basically taking a mirror or piece of framed art off the wall in a hotel room or hallway, painting or drawing something on the wall itself, and putting the painting/mirror back up…or even doing this on the bottom of furniture. What’s the point? None, really…except it would be fun while you’re traveling to do it yourself or look in your room to see if someone’s done it already. Kind of like the poor-man’s graffiti… Too scared to get out and throw something up on a wall in the street? Go in the hotel room, do it in there, and on top of that, cover it up. Genius…for those of us who are real nancy boys I guess. Ha. Nancy boy. Anyways, there’s a Myspace page for Secret Wall Tattoos, and is linked below.

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How to keep secrets…Apple.

I dig this article…and it digged it, ha – that was corny. I have always been fascinated with how Apple keeps products so unbelievably secret until they launch them – its almost unbelievable at times. Especially compared with their competitors and pretty much any other industry where product leaks are totally common place. I think the first time I was really struck by Apple’s ability to keep things secret was when they released the iPod nano – first generation. The huge undertaking that it is to launch a physical product with manufacturing overseas then to announce it to everyone’s surprise and have it be available THAT DAY at retail stores around the country. Pretty unreal. The iPhone is of course even more unbelievable - 30 months in development, way more outside support needed, etc…wild stuff. Check the article. (Does the picture I attached really make sense? Ha?)

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Random & well branded: Jack Spade!

I tend to take my time with a lot of brands – and honestly I don’t have a terribly good reason why. I have this thing where I like to research them over the course of time before I actually buy anything. And lately – the past year or so – I have been really into products that I intend on owning for a long time, products that age well. I’ve always been a really big fan of how Kate Spade did her thing and started a really tremendous brand…I’ll be honest in that I think its lost a little luster with over accessibility lately – but still good stuff. Anyway, enough women’s bags – Jack Spade has always had some cool stuff but its their presentation that has always piqued my interest. I remember when Lacoste was just kind of re-emerging as a fashion brand and it was very hard to find in Chicago. There were only 2 spots, Lord & Taylor – and then very randomly – the top floor of the Kate Spade store where the Jack Spade stuff was. I loved how he/they integrated other brands they liked into their own retail spot. Perfect way to build a brand-image quickly. Ever since then I have checked their site regularly and I love how they have super random products – ping-pong case, leather match book covers, c-lo dice kit (!!), rubber bands, etc…and that jacket they had last season, the plaid one, was nuts. I love brands that just do really random stuff – true lifestyle products. So yeah, I just got a MacBook this week, and the idea of a laptop case feels too PC – so I think I’m going to do the Jack Spade backpack instead…good stuff.

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POOF! Your phone is obsolete!!!

Apple seriously has out done itself by dropping the iPhone. We here at THE BRILLIANCE are going nuts with the emails keeping Ben up-to-date while he’s in a meeting discreetly checking his Treo. I am speechless….Ill just let Steve Jobs post this via satellite. These quotes are essentially in real time by-the-way of him giving a demo of the iPhone at the keynote. “I’m going to load up stock information off the web, and right onto the phone here.” Apple’s shares up over $2.50. Ha.” Or in reference to the $499 entry level price tag ”We should charge more for this stuff!...” Seriously Windows were chasing the iPod with the Zune and Apple pulls this stunt…..Ouch!!! What other company has the CEO’s of Google & Yahoo hand in hand, gitty on the same stage at the prospect of the ton of money they are going to make….Chuck what’d you think about this madness??// Chuck: So yeah…what can I say? As a Mac user myself, this is definitely amazing. Of course, I have to mention some of the turnoffs…Cingular/AT&T only is very limiting. That immediately creates a problem for anybody on a different provider. And anybody on Cingular who was paying attention to this was probably drooling, until they heard they have to wait until June…but honestly…that’s not that far off. You’ll be just fine if you’re one of the eager Cingular users dying to get this…be patient. The pinch-zoom thing is pretty awesome…as is the way music fades in and out when you get a call…seamless wi-fi and EDGE, and free push email from Yahoo!?! Nice…now you don’t have to lug around a Blackberry to have that… On another, kind of downer note though…where was the new updates to a Mac Pro? Leopoard / new software? This phone stuff is nice and all, but it would have been nice to see some other product. And this Apple TV thing is…eh…kind of useless. No DVR, 40gig HD, no 1080…seems a little ‘blah’ to me. It’s cool you can stream your media from your computer wirelessly to the thing, but on a whole…it’s alright, not great in my opinion…anyways, overall though, this phone is unbelievable as a product and as a technological step forward…Should have bought some Apple stock yesterday…

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Launch day! INDISTR, Beta 1.0!

And it’s here… Nervous, absolutely. Excited, absolutely. Curious to see what first day sign-up numbers look like?! Honestly, I would love it if I could force myself NOT to look at those for like a week - cause I’m going to obsess over it for these first few days - and the truth is that, its small time organic growth with something like this, so it won’t be super huge. Even though it would be awesome if it was, ha. Either way, starting a ‘real’ business has been quite a trip. I have run really, really large web projects in the past - even some that felt like their own businesses - but none that relied solely on the public’s whims. Especially musician’s whims. So this once presents new challenges. I’d like to note to all that this is indeed our ‘beta’ and that being privately ‘micro-funded’ as I call it has its pluses and also has a few negatives that you might not think of. And no, I am never 100% satisfied with anything - and the design/interface if no exception to this rule - we are already working on phases 2 of this. Either way, I love it…this ‘beta’ will grow, change, stretch, bend, mold, and probably break a few times - but I really believe in it, and I am absolutely thrilled with the ‘engine’ behind the payment piece that I think artists will love. I got a handful tricks up my sleeve. Thanks to all who helped during the process - a huge thank you to my investors. So yeah…here is to risk, reward, and sleepless nights. ***alright Chuck or Virgil, post something today so this doesn’t look like such shameless promotion! This post was longer than I wanted it to be…

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Godfathers never die!

The thing about James Brown that was so amazing is that you can pinpoint his impact on music, without any sort of question at all. He’s one guy that people would literally steal his style or blatantly pay tribute and it was all together accepted. From a djing perspective the catalog of James Brown works in every djing arena there is, from Hip Hop kids to grown folks. I can’t count how many times those snares, rhythms and lyrics saved me. I was fortunate to play with Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown’s drummer for whom the term “funky drummer” came from. The stories he told were almost unbelievable. James Brown had depth as a person and musician and will be missed in his passing. Thankfully his music will last generations. Last Christmas I gave my Dad a James Brown performance DVD and just watching that in the living room had the family dancing. Pick any one of them up, you won’t be disappointed. Check out this Giles Peterson mix for a soulful work day on a much less glamorous keyboard.

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Fresh artists for 2007!!!

Happy new year! I always feel so refreshed in the beginning of a new year. Just feel like I can start things with a clean slate, change things up, take new approaches to work and life, etc… Anyways, I’m back to my posts about artists I love, and who better to start with than photographer Kalle Gustafsson. I mean, wow… truly a forward-thinking photographer. Kalle’s work really is just beautiful. The coloration of the photos, the classic, vintage feel, and for the life of me I cannot get over the first photo in the ‘travel’ section. Not much more I can say - you need to just look at the work for yourself and be wowed…Next up is Marco Cibola. Marco is a super nice guy first off - I met him last year in Toronto at Magic Pony Gallery…I’ve always loved his linework and portrait drawings, but lately I’ve been very intrigued by the patterns and colors he’s using as fills inside his work. The piece for TIME is just awesome - specifically #2 ‘Japan Takes Flight’. I love that…and the Arkitip stuff of course too. Really, all of it is great…Next up - and you’ve certainly seen his work before - Stanley Donwood. Stanley does a lot of the album art for Radiohead and most recently did the work for Thom Yorke’s “The Eraser”. He has some gorgeous prints available on his shop. The work he did for the ‘Hail to the Thief’ cover is one of my favorites…Lastly but totally not leastly (?), I’ve gotta give some love to my good friend Nigel Dennis of ElectricHeat. Nigel has been doing some of his best work lately in my opinion, and he’s sure to knock out even more awesome stuff this new year…look out for some collaborations between me and him too…Alright - that’s my little list for today. Preettttty, prettyy, preetttyyy…...pretty good.

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Thom Yorke video tracks…

Yeah, Chuck told me about these…but there was some other site that had some for free download or something that I missed. When I think of Radiohead and Thom Yorke – I think music snobbery right away – both sides. One, that says Thom is mainstream and he isn’t cool anymore. Two, that Thom Yorke being talked about on THE BRILLIANCE by that kid that always talks about hip-hop is just to show juxtaposition. Ha…maybe I over analyzed that. These songs, specifically ‘Videotape’, are perfect - check them on iTunes. Chuck and I have been talking about music quite a bit lately, specifically listening to music in context, which is how I have always consumed music. I guess you could say everyone listens to music in context – or you could side with Masta Killa that the ‘dumb are mostly intrigued by the drum’. When I listen to Radiohead and/or Thom Yorke its…always an experience. I listen to their music in the context of relaxation, spaced-out-ness, and for creative inspiration. And being able to watch Thom perform a song with just him and a piano but have it sound so multi-layered is a tribute to his ability to create soundtracks for your imagination. If you have any crazy unreleased b-sides or whatever, hit me up at our main email or my personal if you got it.