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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Aston Martin for sale, and no one wants it!

Kind of interesting. Cars companies, or brands actually, are sold between the big auto makers every once in a while..not a huge deal. What I find interesting about Aston Martin being up for sale is that no one seems to be interested really. And even more mind numbing…they are valued at ‘a lot less hen $1 billion.’ I mean, I guess I don’t know what I thought they would be worth…but the image/feel of these boutique ultra-lux car brands is so big…huge. Then to find out a website with a bunch of uploaded home videos is worth more…kind of weird right? I mean Aston Martin has some of the most beautiful manufacturing facilities and some amazing heritage (James Bond)…not that you can value a company on these things, but. Anyway, there were rumors that LVMH, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, was interested in acquiring the brand…as well as Cartier. Both shops have denied the rumors, but who knows. Can you imagine the special-editions? No more fake (Birdman) LV seat treatments. Personally I would take an all white Vanquish with an entirely Damier interior treatment…whoa. So yeah, check this news article at the link, kind of interesting. ***And kids, that includes you Funk Flex, its Aston…not Austin.

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James Blagden’s Illustration!!

Every now and then I run across an artist’s work that makes such an impression on me that I feel like I have no choice but to spotlight them in a post all their own. James Blagden would be one of those artists. I love the stupid simple little rollover on the front of the page, and then again when you get into the navigation. Nothing flashy, nothing about the website gets in the way of the artwork. It is fun, it is what it is, and quite frankly I think his work is some of the best illustration, both technically and conceptually, that I have seen in a long time. First thoughts - when I highlight over the colored stubble on the 2nd page of the site and the beard grows!!! I love it! Roll over the glasses too - both lenses - and the brain…simple, almost primitive when it comes to web design, but that’s what I’m all about…and what the Brilliance is all about too. Simplicity on the web - no need for flashiness. Keep is smooth and usable, whether it’s basic HTML or complex Web 2.0 programming, just make it nice and easy for me to use. (Take notes,…) Anyways, back to the artwork though - I really don’t like to elaborate on a wordy description when I find a new artist I like, so the best thing to do would be check out the site and go through his portfolio. The work for Arkitip is particularly incredible.Much respect to you, James. You keep the ‘tion’ in ‘illustration’. !?

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A Watch for Space Travel!!

I need to start wearing a watch. Ideally one that I am gonna have when I am 45 strolling the South of France. I don’t know how timeless this Bell & Ross limited edition BR-01 94 with the orange dial & carbon finish is…but I love the design. Instruments picked out of a cockpit heavily influence Bell & Ross aesthetics. Definitely a nice contrast to any article of clothing or your overall style, unless rocking one piece fighter pilot jumpsuits is your thing. I really dig the way that the orange pops off that matte black. When are companies gonna realize matte black is the new silver? Hopefully sooner than later. There is a brief history of their watches is on their site. Astronauts, divers, and bomb disposal experts are already onto Bell & Ross. They need to add BRILLIANCE writers to that list.

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First it was beepers, R.I.P. cell phones!

Finally they are starting to come in quicker. These wifi Skype ‘handsets’ as they are called. I’ll call them Skypers, or non-cell phones, or just…phones. Cause they are about to be all we use in the next 5 years…and it’s kind of a big deal like Ron Burgundy. Here is the quick rundown, no matter where you are in the world, as long as you are in a wifi hotspot you can call any other Skype user anywhere in the world for free, or call a regular-ass phone for pennies a minute. You got Belkin, Logitec, 3com and some others already making it happen. And they look sharp! Just wait till they starting coming out with blackberry-esque versions – SMS/texting/push email will disappear. Everything will be instant and easy. Seriously. Why did eBay buy Skype for $2B? This is why, right here. Why Sprint, Verizon, Comcast, Vonage didn’t? Who knows…maybe they didn’t have the cash, but probably cause they aren’t visionary. Walking down the block with life in my pocket…hit me on my…???

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Weekend Trips & Product Placement!

Mini-vacations keep things moving. Ben & I wrapped up NYC, both hoppin that early flight on the grey day back to the Midwest. Best believe we hit up the retail landscape hard. Popped in and out of the standard stores as well as the newest additions. I am feeling bblessing on Orchard. A nice mix of styles in combination with a stellar interior gets two thumbs up. As far as dining, that rumor about The Little Owl in the West Village is true. We ate like kings, stay tuned for important developments on that front. The Hotel on Rivington did its thing. It has come a long way from when I first got to peep the unfinished penthouse and skyline views. Shout out to all those who lended their hospitality along the way. Quote of the trip, Benjamin - “Look it’s a squirrel…wait NO IT’S A RAT.” Me – “We couldn’t be more Midwestern.”

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Weekend Randoms!

Well, Ben and Virgil are in transit to NYC and that means I can write about whatever I want and they can’t stop me. Like how Ben says he wears Chukkas and Stan Smiths but really he wears ankle-height socks with velcro strap Old Navy sandals…and Virgil talks all about architecture and posts about interesting places in Chicago, but really the only thing he’s passionate about, as far as I know, is his collection of those Livestrong-style bracelets. Why he hasn’t posted about them yet I don’t know…he’s also got a thing for fanny packs. Weird…I just talked to Virgil actually, he said him and Ben just hopped in a cab from LaGuardia…and something about holding hands…I don’t know…you’ll have to ask them about that. AAAAAAnyways…got a few random things to yack about here on this cloudy Friday morning in everyone’s favorite streetwear hub of the US, the southwest suburbs of Chicago. First off, if you’re headed to Magic in Las Vegas these next few days - make sure you stop by the KDU Annex Private Brand Suite - Talib Kweli and Jean Grae will be there - RSVP and more info at this link. Give Dave a big hug when you see him too. Wish I could go…just too busy to travel these last few weeks. What else we got here…ah yes, one of my personal favorites and a favorite of The Brilliance, KAWS has started writing a blog over at Extra points to Mr. Kaws for the most recent post about dogs. Corgis are awesome dogs. I mean, look at this one… Speaking of dogs, I am going on Monday to get a volunteer job at a humane society. Hopefully they’ve got an American Staffordshire or a Boxer that I can favor over the other ones…a Dachshund would work too…Moving on, I have to give some love to one of my favorite artists at the moment, Akiko Stehrenberger. Seriously amazing illustrations, very inspirational. Do yourself a favor and check out the James Dean caricature and especially the movie poster for The U.S. Vs. John Lennon. Beautiful work. Alright kids, have a good weekend…

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66% of THE BRILLIANCE headed to NYC!

Little weekend jaunt to clear the head a bit. Virgil and I are off to NYC tomorrow…staying at the Rivington, which I’m looking forward too…looks nice. Got a couple dinners planned with friends, etc…and some shopping or whatever. No real purpose for the trip except to goof around for a weekend in someone else’s city. So hit us up if anything wild/fun is going on that we should know about! See you around. ***Chuck can’t go cause his pro roller-skating team is in the semi-finals this weekend – he’s not just a famous designer, you should see how he can ‘shoot-the-duck’! Amazing stuff.

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NoPattern is gonna go Platinum!!!

Even if you live under a rock you’ve heard of the kid Lupe Fiasco. The most anticipated record store debut is wasn’t a joke and is really coming out on September 19th. Guess who did my homeys art work? Yep. Mr. Nopattern himself is at it again. If you are good at those games on the back of cereal boxes, you already spotted the logo. The great thing about the cover in my opinion is where Chuck and Lupe took ‘it’ in the realm of hip-hop. They connected the dots from Pink Floyd, Head Porter, the Quran to Cartier glasses in one fell swoop. You don’t need to meet Lupe because everything you need to know about him is on that cover somewhere. Pay close attention to him in general because he’s putting on a lesson in creative control. Imagine having a one-way conversation with your record label and saying here’s my cover, lets use it to sell millions, and them be like O.K. Rarely happens. Or better yet….imagine doing the artwork for something that’s printed a million times over…

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How to be super late 101! Seriously…I know this has been out forever. But I don’t watch TV really…I cancelled my cable like 2-3 years ago (not m broadband though!) cause I felt like I wasted too much time watching TV. But I don’t mind catching a DVD whenever. Either way, I’m on and they had this 9 minute video of all the ‘best’ Ari Gold moments. Are you kidding me…?! Some of the funniest stuff ever. So I signed-up for NetFlix and I’ve watched all of the show except the last disc of season 2. Honestly love this show man. It’s not just Ari going nuts every episode…there is a really fresh flow to the show, love it. And all the cameos that really help blur the lines between reality and it being ‘just a show’ are too fresh…like the Gary Busey parts?! So funny…Ari: “…you’re going to spin right off this planet…” Ha. Anyway, yeah too funny. Check the clip I was talking about at the link below. Yeah, tons of inappropriateness, swearing, vulgarity…and brilliance. SOMEBODY’S GOING TO PAY FOR THE MYSTIC TAN…JESS…

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Flying an RC plane with Benjamin!

Ha…don’t ever say we didn’t bring something unique to the ‘blog sphere’. No yacking about web 2.0, hybrid cars, or real estate. I went to Target today to get some tooth paste and Diet Coke and came home with a radio controlled airplane. I’ve always wanted one…and I actually did have one when I was like 10 or whatever…but my dad crashed it, ha. Remember that dad? Anyway, I got this little one here…an Air Hog. I’ll be honest, I haven’t had that much fun in…a long time. I swear man…I was like a little kid today at Wilcox part in East Town with my bro-in-law goofing around with this thing, SO much fun man. Best part about this post?! I took a video of it…and almost getting clobbered by it. Sorry for the quality, took it on my Treo. Check it!!