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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KIVA! Microfinance made simple…

It isn’t often that we take time out of our oh-so-busy lives to stop being super important and in a hurry for a second and think about other people. Face it, humans by nature are mostly concerned with themselves. I’m certainly guilty of this myself. But I’m trying - really - I’m trying to open my eyes to the importance of things like volunteering, participating in some kind of charity, or donating some of what I have to the places and people who have very little. But one thing some of these people out there in the world do have is hope and a dream or an idea. Enter The concept behind what KIVA is doing is absolutely brilliant and truly puts a smile on my face. Their tagline is “Loans that change lives.” KIVA “...lets you lend to a specific entrepreneur in the developing world - empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty.” In other words, you go through the site, find a struggling business somewhere in an impoverished area, decide what you are comfortable with, and you lend money to a budding business. Thus making you a donator to the working poor. Microfinance truly simplified and made easy to get involved with. And don’t worry, your money isn’t going to King Savimbi from Nigeria who has $48M waiting in a bank account for you after you give your credit card number. This is totally legit, totally pure. From their press section as quoted from CNN Money, “If you’ve got 25 bucks, a PC and a PayPal account, you’ve now got the wherewithal to be an international financier.” This really just goes to show a little can go a long way. Some of these people are asking for as little $400 to start their business!! It shows how much money is still needed for each needy business, shows pictures, and gives very good descriptions of what you’re donating your money to. I love this, I really do. Keep in mind too - this is money you are lending! As loans are repaid, you get your money back. It’s win-win, honestly. Check it out and do what you can if you are in a position to help.

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Fashion Week Standouts!!

So its fashion week. Kinda of a big deal if you are into what the heavyweight fashion houses thrives on. THE BRILLIANCE has steadily been vouching for Y-3 for good reason, they are on a different playing field. When your constantly searching for what is ‘next’ a light bulb goes off when that moment happens. For me it was reading this review of the Y-3 show last night. First of Y-3 is a real deal collaboration…Adidas & Yoshi Yamamoto are both bringing something to the table and the end results are pushing the envelope of design and presentation…this is streetwear for the fashion minded. Talk about presentation, who skips the Bryant Park tents for a neon lit floating barge on the Hudson. Another nice take on proper presentation came from Trovata. Instead of doing the traditional runway bit, they just had a party with music and margaritas, and let the clothes take center stage. I really dig this brand because of their beach bum/urban vibe. It feels very homegrown and their pieces are detailed to perfection without being boring.

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Introducing our new tagline!

After a couple glasses of Beringer, 2000, from Napa everyone gets to read two posts by me in one night. So we had our infamous tagline…infamous? The ‘Diamonds are a trend’s best friend’ line. I’ll be honest…I liked it. I mean, I came up with it…catchy-catch phrases are always fun. But it’s a bit played out. Diamonds and simple vectored images of them are a bit played out you know? Played like an old Operation Ivy tape. So Virgil and I were walking through the lower east side of New York City a couple weeks ago…kind of yacking thru what this site really is. Good question!? What is this site?…its actually pretty simple. We all decided, Chuck, Virgil and myself that the site is just really ‘internet’. Of course, using ‘internet’ as an adjective. Our site is really, really internet. So we’d like to say good-bye to the old diamond referencing tagline…and usher in our new tagline…obviously this is huge, huge news…so the only natural reaction would be for you to link us up on your blog talking about our tagline change, ha. New tagline…

THE BRILLIANCE! Really internet.

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OMG NYC Real Estate!!

Back with ones of these…basically since the whole Apple thing was a huge let down, ha. I really wanted the full screen iPod for my flight tomorrow. Location location location, lets get into it: ONE – It’s terrace is bigger than two of your dorm rooms. That’s actually why I posted it…this whole spot looks like it was built to simply relax. Big, private, awesome windows…I can dig it. The bathroom is hideous. TWO – I posted this one mainly off its ceilings. Love it man…I love ceilings. The furniture is a distraction here…easy to fix, the kitchen is a bit too ‘grown-up’ but I’m heavy into the windows in the bathroom. You could live here a while. THREE – Had to post this one just cause of the library-hall-way thing or whatever. Love the minimal approach and crazy open spaces. Nothing more decadent then wasted space in NYC. FOUR – Bam! Love this spot. Seriously…I had to find the Ikea of the The Village you know? At $2.I-cant-afford-the-assocation-dues million it’s a steal! Honestly, its one of the cheaper places in this area though…great ceilings, very nice kitchen, very open you know? Terrible furniture…you can buy big spaces, but you cant buy swagger I guess. (Just playing on the association dues comment…anything is possible right?!)

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Concrete King!

If your into modern architecture and that pristine concrete look I know you’ll be into Tadao Ando. Most big named architects have a standard trick they do really really well and Ando’s is most definitely his use of concrete. Check out his Langen Foundation outside of Dusseldorf, Church of Light in Osaka, or his $12 mil Morimoto sushi spot in NYC. Utterly amazing stuff that takes concrete past notions of being a lifeless and cold material. Its weird, he’s even done a house in Lincoln Park, Chicago kinda tucked in off a typical Chicago street. To do the super smooth concrete look you have to have an insanely skilled crew and a immaculate set of drawings for the job. Architecture and rumors can go hand in hand and word is that walls were built and torn down because tolerances within ¼” were not being met. In the states if you can pour a 100 ft wall and have it be dead on straight within a ½” you’re the best on the block. If I could only afford one of these bad boys it would be on.

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Chilled weekend…the big party Friday night was good, and the fireworks last night were better than the fourth of July ones. So some things: (1) Supreme is an amazing brand. Can’t say their retail space in NYC clicks with me…but I honestly love the brand - heritage, integrity, etc. I dig the new website. (2) Keeping it New York - congrats A-ron on the gangstore feature in the NY times. (3) Rob Bell said he thinks Jon Stewart might be a prophet. Interesting stuff. (4) So gas here is now only like $2.31 a gallon. I swear like 3-4 weeks ago it was $3.15…no joke. I honestly don’t even know if I want to say this, but: a great way for ‘big oil’ to compete with all this green thinking is to rewind the clock to when the prices didn’t make us think about being green…right?! (5) Chilly weather is back and I love this jacket. Have a good Sunday everyone…

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Hard work.

I have to do this post…have to. This is a personal type post mixed with a shout out to ALL people who take risks, hustle hard and smart, and do what they do with a passion for success. Not just financial success, but their own definition of success. Few people I want to mention: Chuck, my Father, Scott, Brice, Virgil, My mentors – L&L, and a few more unmentioned names. This may seem like a random/odd post – but most people, like myself, have the tendency to reflect on their own ‘bigger picture’ after a large success or goal is achieved. I had probably the craziest week of my life this week – risks, hustle, aggression, and trying hard to simply stay mentally-afloat. All of the stress and anxiety was more than worth it after I signed my name and initials about 2 million times at the closing table this morning at 9am. I guess I made this post for anyone who is ‘going thru it’ at this moment…whatever the project may be…the stress that comes along with a life truly lived. It does pay-off, it will work, and all that crushing stress/frustration WILL pay off. Cause if it was easy man…everyone would do it. So a Friday salute to all those that hustle hard and hustle smart. ***Also, you can call me corny or a whatever for this post…but the people who truly live it, and don’t just talk about, know exactly where I am coming from.

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Banksy Hilton!!

This is seriously modern day graffiti. Its seems Bansky like is extending the art forms possibilities every 6 months by thinking outside the box. I had been into his stuff for the longest time but the Gaza Strip stuff and his Crude Oils show affirmed his position as an artist of out time. Now this…who thinks to get a hold of 500 Paris Hilton CD�s, alter all the images and re-record tracks supposedly with some help from Gnarls Barkley�s Dangermouse. This footage posted pretty much sums it all up…the funny thing is I bet these tracks become bigger club hits than the album and she ends up selling more records because of all this press she�s getting. As of yesterday only 6 of the doctored CD�s were recovered buy shops all across the UK. EBay has already popped up with a few Bansky CD�s and auctions are ending at $2,260 a pop.updated 2 for 1 via the kabakuba crew, great art site

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80 acres of NYC for sale!

Just caught the story from the Times yesterday on Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan may soon be sold. We are talking 110 buildings, 80 acres in an urban capitol of the world going for $5 billion. That’s plain crazy. That site is a case study in history and urban planning. This was the era of housings experiments gone wrong a.k.a. high-rise project housing which is still prevalent in New York and being torn down here in Chicago. Under the Robert Moses era, Met Life developed the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper property for WWII veterans and excluded Blacks and unmarried couples in the 1940’s. Years later those excluded were then allowed to move in. You could imagine the disrupt in the utopian like atmosphere… well MetLife is cashing in on some of their Manhattan property and putting this chunk on the market. There’s a couple of interesting angles to follow with this story. What’s gonna to the rent controlled people still living there? What’s just gonna get bulldozed? Talk about eminent gentrification. Think about the large impact on the city this will have. New York in 10 years is gonna be such a different city with this and the new skyline downtown.

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Future-forward - New Nopattern!

Hard work pays off. Of course you’d find a post on THE BRILLIANCE about NoPattern…I think they call it ‘circular success.’ The new NoPattern site is up, the new products are in the store…good stuff. As with each iteration of Chuck’s work (I have been fortunate to witness all of them) it grows very naturally and organically each time. Never too far to the left or right…but never down the middle lane…I would say its all very carefully planned, attention to perception as well as pure interest in just being creative. This particular ‘re-launch’ has taken Chuck quite some time to make happen…not simply just a new portfolio, but this time it’s the next iteration of the actual NoPattern brand – and its continued progression. Hats off to hard work, dedication, vision and passion. Now all of you go buy 3 books each, they make fantastic stocking stuffers. ***And I honestly didn’t want to address the ‘haters’…but honestly guys, don’t offer any rhetoric if you haven’t been there in a similar form yourself. I find it so hard to take anyone seriously who hasn’t put in work like Chuck, or anyone for that matter that took a different path to their own success.