The Brilliance!

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#INTERNET Ah, we're back! Like we said, we were just "chilling out" for like 3 years. Feels good to have the team back writing. Still us three: Chuck, Benjamin, and Virgil. Got new interviews coming up, and hopefully we'll be posting on a regular basis, who knows. We also interviewed each other, check: CHUCK, BENJAMIN, VIRGIL...

The *New* Standard - Hotel!!!

So I am broadcasting from The Standard Hotel aka the crazy building that spans the High Line in NYC’s Meatpacking District. The Standard is seriously my favorite brand of hotels to stay in, in the world. Ritzy-fancy-old-hotel have too much of a generational gap for me and most boutique hotels over do it on the wrong details. The Standard does it right on all the details. Their logo is written upside down on everything. I love it every time. First off the design of this building is one of the best in NYC, period. It looks like it should even stand up properly. The entry/lobby is a smash…mirrors, marble and interesting lights. The experience of the stay is where The Standard keeps winning. The reality priced liquor bar makes it actually make sense to partake. I really dig the layout of the room, my glass boxed in shower is dead center in the room and separates the bedroom & bathroom. Free wifi (note to all hotels, get with the times). Free breakfast room service! Awesome views no matter what room you got. And icing on the cake is the iHome iPod stereo thing that actually charges my forever dead iPhone while blasting Sebastian Tellier all day long…and yeah…tons of ‘real’ magazines, like Fantastic Man, V, Art in America, TAR, etc. All in all I think you get the gist, I am raving about this place. It’s that good.

Jonathan Borofsky’s work!

I’m actually just about to leave, in like 26 minutes, to go meet with Chuck to go check out Borofsky’s installation and other works at the Frederick Meijer Gardens…again. I checked it out for the first time yesterday, and really kind of fell in love with his stuff. I really love larger installations - the classic white room as the canvas - just really love it. His work has a very obvious ‘human’ theme to it…but its also very, innocent I suppose, or maybe hopeful. That’s the feeling I walked away with afterwards. I love the engineering that has gone into his stuff as well, the translucent polycarbonate/plastic is really pretty amazing, and the way the different colors (or people?) interact with each other at his installation here in town is quite beautiful, just visually…take whatever meaning from it you might, you know? Alright, I gotta go meet Chuck at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Bringing back Polaroid instant film - project ‘Impossible’!

Alright hipsters, listen-up! Until the iPhone has a flash and an app that makes all your pictures look like perfectly-terrible on purpose, you need to be informed on this project. Ha..kidding, kidding. In case you hadn’t heard, about 2 years ago (right?) Polaroid decided to stop producing their ever-so-famous instant film. I haven’t done a ton of research on why, so whatever - but after hearing that I always thought ‘huh, why wouldn’t someone either purchase their old mfg equipment, or come-up with an aftermarket solution?’ Right?? There is so much social cache in the Polaroid instant camera and its iconically bad quality. Well, I wasn’t the only one with that question…in fact a group of employees of the old factory itself in Holland have banded together to form a business they’ve titled ‘Impossible’ to make it happen. they’ve leased the factory themselves for another 10 years, are getting all the equipment back up and running and they plan to relaunch in 2010. They say it’ll be better quality but still compatible with the older cameras. Hmm, is ‘better quality’ really better in this instance? I can just see ‘purists’ being like ‘Dude man, the new film just isn’t as…you know, like…like, like…real.’ Ha. All stuff aside its a pretty cool story, can’t wait to see how they spin the re-launch. Check out more below from Curated Mag, cool site.

I’m listening to baile funk!

My music taste goes is such waves. One month I can’t get enough of Babyshambles, month before that it was random screwed and chopped tracks, then The Beach Boys, then back to The Specials, then electronic music, and an ever present amount of Jay-Z, etc, etc. I just love switching it up I guess…maybe cause I used to listen to one style of music like super intense for months at a time. Anyway, my new addition as of the past few months has been this baile funk stuff. It truly felt like a new style of music when I first heard it a while back. Quick rundown: it’s music created for and in the slums, falevas, of Rio De Janeiro with its original inspiration coming from Miami bass I guess. Lots more to the story. It’s got all sorts of culture around it…super interesting. I don’t speak the language, and even if I did I imagine the slang used would be super far over my head - but I still dig it. Blender did a good write up, linked below, and Mad Decent posted three super classic tracks a while back…check them out here. Some intense new music for sure if you’ve never listened to it.

The problem with web services being free.

Something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately… The problem with web services being free. Seems every service on the internet is free, right? Blogging services, facebook, google, email services, even the blogs themselves, etc, etc, etc, etc. I started thinking about it more after just recently switching my personal email to be hosted using Google Apps, and hosting my personal site using Tumblr…both services free. So for $8.95 a year, GoDaddy fee, I have the pretty much the best email solution possible and a fantastic blogging platform - both with rock solid performance and uptime. Minus the GoDaddy fee…I have everything for free. In fact, I left a previous host and I’m actually saving money and getting better service. I’m starting to feel like this isn’t a good thing. In fact, apparently neither is Google, they have been lowering the number of free accounts you can have on your Google Apps service - its down to 50 form 200. And after that its $50 a year I believe. The web has long been about ‘getting eye-balls’ and then figuring out how to monetizing them. This has all been funded by massive venture cap that have made their money selling their hit products to some other, often established, company who thinks they’ll be able to monetize those zillions of ‘eye-balls’...see News Corp + MySpace. But at the end of the day, it always seems to come down advertising real physical things, that can be monetized the old fashioned way…by selling them. It’s like the internet has been subsidized by venture cap for so long that the idea of creating something for the web that makes money because it offers a valuable service…doesn’t even occur to ‘entrepreneurs’ anymore. Kind of scary, you know? There is that classic saying that if you give something to someone for free they’ll never value it. And from that, people won’t really evangelize the product because they don’t really value it. Right? What if Google Apps wasn’t free? What if facebook was $1 a month? What if twitter was $5 a year? What if really great blogs weren’t free? I just wonder how much different things would be if there were 1,000s and 1,000s of great little internet business humming along that made money…without advertising. You know, like the real world. I guess this post was just me thinking out loud. There are companies, new and old on the web that charge…just not as many as it seems there should be, and not enough small ones in particular. ***Did this post suck? Was it too boring/long? Stating the obvious too much? Should I not think out loud on here anymore? Ha.

Obama + Blackberry BFF4LIFE

You’ve got to love this…Not the kind of change talked about during election season, but nonetheless, instant, obvious, immediate change. Taking the White House out of the dark age and into the age of technology with a simple change in policy. Obama will in fact keep his Blackberry. Sure it’s going to be secured and guarded like a tank, but he’ll still have it and be able to use it when he needs to… Setting a totally new precedent for future Presidents, this will be the first time email has been used by a President since FDR. Remember how slow email was back in the 40’s?! Anyways…I think this is a great move forward and a clear sign that this man understands that times have changed. A wired, connected President for a wired, connected generation. If his wife is anything like mine though, this Blackberry will cause more problems than it should…so, just keep the Crackberry addiction under control and don’t use it in public too often, Mr. President, and you’re good to go. What are the chances he’s actually reading this right now on his 6230?

Have you ever taken a “45 minute vacation?” I just did!

Alright…so I got a bit of the winter blues going on. We’ve gotten just slammed by winter this year…like 3-4 snow storms already, super low temps for a week at a time, and its only mid January! I guess I complain about this every year, but this year just seems to be bugging me more than usual. And I have a headache today. So I decided to take what I’m now calling a “45 minute vacation.” I’m kind of creating a list of things you can do to refresh and renew a bit when old man winter puts his cigarette out in your drink. We’re lucky enough to have a really great conservatory/botanical garden here in Grand Rapids, the Fredrick Meijer Gardens. Conservatories, as I detailed in a post a while ago, just blow my mind. A whole mini rainforest inside a beautiful glass building…you know? So today I headed over during lunch to stroll around, enjoy humid air, smell some fresh plants/flowers, listen to the waterfalls, and even get some work done on a new project I was stressing about. As you can imagine, its the middle of the day, and very few people were there…even better. It seriously felt like a tiny vacation. Check out the photos I took!! So…the question is, does anyone else have a “45 minute vacation” recommendation or idea for me? Hit us up, hello@thebrilliance.com

Darcel Disappoints!!!

Seriously the most genius blog. I definitely have an affinity to blogs with no specfic content. The icing on the cake is if the blog has really cool images. Helps keep me inspired. Add a little bit of revelant cultuure and a cool illustration style and you have this blog Darcel Dissapoints. An amazing cartoon take on a New York state of mind. One favorite posts is “Mickey Rourke, Jay-Z and Ashley Dupre? I must be at the Waverly Inn.” or his latest “Ed Hardy vs UGG = Satan’s vortex and the end of civilization?” What a fresh concept.

Justin Van Hoy - Bone marrow benefit!!

A really good guy and friend that a lot of you may know, Justin Van Hoy, recently had a Leukemia relapse and is searching for a bone marrow donor match. It’s very simple to get tested to see if you’re a match - go here to order the kit to take the test yourself, or go here to see if there is a donor center in your area.

If you’re in NYC, there is a benefit for Justin this Sunday, January 18th at Lit Lounge from 7-10PM. You can see all the information about that right here. It doesn’t take much and if you’re a match for Justin - or anybody in need - you can really help to save a life…

James Jean is on another level…

I’ll follow up the longest post ever written on THE BRILLIANCE with the shortest post ever, because there just really aren’t words for this.

James Jean’s ‘KINDLING’ opening at Jonathan Levine gallery looks absolutely amazing. One of the most talented living artists in my opinion.