The Brilliance!

HTTP://WWW.THEBRILLIANCE.COM/

#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 Motug!!! JB Classics!!!

Futura, Doze Green, Shepard, Ewok and more. All together on a JB Classic shoe?! Wow…MOTUG stands for “Monsters of the Underground.” And talk about ltd. ed…24 pairs made!?! Each artist who worked on it as well as a few people who were in on the project will recieve a pair - leaving only 7 available to the public. So that means 7 people will be making some FAT CASH on eBay soon thereafter…Check it out though

The Ace Hotel, Seattle… Catch up!

The W is hot, probably always will be. Ian Schrager did his thing and apparently is moving into real estate development and leaving hotels behind (read page six punk!). Enter Ace Hotel with one location in Seattle… Wow. Wild low prices for what you get, like $149 a night for a deluxe room. No more paying $400 a night to stay at a well designed hotel. They have refreshing architecture, the classic super white-painted brick, spacious and perfectly minimal bathrooms, surreal full-wall graphics of rivers, mountains, lakes, and get this hipsters… Kaws, Obey, and various other new-pop icon artwork on the walls of the rooms! How does that stuff not get stolen? I mean, I’m getting money, but I would give it a thought. Either way, the Ace Hotel is a refreshing take on what ‘designer hotels’ are. So to all those uppity designer types who brag about what their hotel’s concierge can do, study up on the team over at the Ace, they are doing it better.

Sugar Cane Clothing… More Jeans!

Maybe it’s just me. But finding a good pair of classic jeans is so hard these days. Seems like designers just over do it… Pockets all over the place, denim is too thin, washes aren’t even realistic, too baggy, too tight, and this crazy men’s low-rise stuff has to stop. Enter Sugar Cane Clothing. Maybe I’m late, but these guys are from Japan and they’re doing some classic vintage denim reproduction style jeans. Quality product, quality designs, nice washes, selvedge denim, all that. Decent price tags too… Nice and simple. You can buy them from the link below…

Peter Cincotti is… Cooler than you.

Actual music. Actual performance. I don’t know what to say… Peter Cincotti is one incredible performer, musician, pianist, vocalist, and whatever else. And so damn ‘cool’ with it. Just cool as he wants to be. I was privileged enough to see this guy in concert the other night… So refreshing. I mean, I love hip-hop and R&B quite a bit, but I sometimes forget what Jazz is all about and how incredible it can be to witness first hand. Peter Cincotti certainly reminded me of this. But I should also be honest. His CDs are… They just don’t touch what he did on stage. It was so fluid on stage… His CDs sound over-produced. And the CD cover of his most recent release is pretty corny. Either way, check him live if you get a chance.

Wonderwall Masamichi Katayama Projects… Clean.

Wonder wall is the collection of Masamichi Katayama’s work. All of his various product design examples, architecture, art direction, exhibition design, and everything else that is cool in Japan. Katayama’s work is so incredibly clean and inspiring… I would love to hire him to design my next condo, for real. His design of EVERY single A Bathing Ape store is enough to make one famous on it’s own…but he has quite a client list including Marc Jacobs, V Store, Beams, Louis Vuitton, and more makes him even more amazing. Check the site. The stuff is fantastic.

HELMUT LANG… Jeans, Branding & Stores…

Honestly, Helmut Lang is a bit too ‘out-there’ for me when it comes to the larger percentage of their ready-to-wear collections… And the fragrances? Haven’t tried them. But their jeans (for men) are some of the best fitting and best wearing jeans I have ever owned. Go get a pair, selvedge or not, they are just good jeans. But above and beyond all that… Helmut Lang is a perfect example of how a well branded fashion label looks and feels. From their abstract advertising with National Geographic magazine and on the top of taxis in NYC to their store interiors and their beautifully simple woven tags… They have it locked. And their website is perfectly minimal, and they were one of the first brave enough to do it like that, check yourself. THE BRILLIANCE says you need a pair of Helmut Lang jeans. Go buy some.

Norma Jean

OK so, here we have this hardcore/metal band who I have personally seen well over 15 times - with a new album. Whether or not you will like it depends on if you are a fan of chaotic/mathy metal…But I am not here to review the music. I am here to praise the artwork. Asterik Studio based in Seattle, in my eyes, often is hit or miss with the album artwork they do not because sometimes it isn’t good, but because sometimes it just feels so repetitive. Not the case with this new Norma Jean album. By far the most elegantly violent, intriguing album artwork I have seen in a very long time. The blend of photography and almost perfectly seamless Photoshop skills really puts this in its own league. Huge respect to Asterik for putting this together so well.

Juxtapoz B+W Issue

When I picked this issue up last week during one of my weekly bookstore stops, I saw the cover and was pretty taken by the Pushead artwork. The artist who most would know first because of his work for Metallica - on the cover of Juxtapoz. Awesome. So - I would absolutely say to go grab this issue…Tons of good black and white work inside…But the thing I love about Juxtapoz is how focused they are on what they do, on the content, features and how even the advertisements are a pleasure to look at. Open up the first page of the magazine and there’s full page paintings by Glenn Barr and Michael Parkes, next few pages some gallery ads for painters, the obligatory Gary Baseman ad…It all makes the magazine worth the $5 you were going to otherwise spend on the new issue of Computer Shopper you sissy.

Calypso Tattoos in Belgium - The work of Daniel DiMattia

OK. There are good tattoo artists, and then there are EXCELLENT tattoo artists. Daniel DiMattia falls under the category of really excellently good, with the added aspect of being incredibly unique and original, and having some of the crispest and best linework and blackwork I’ve ever seen. My ink personally to date is all black, and this is just inspiring. Maybe a bit too tribal looking for some of it - but he’s the best at it. Incredible. Look at the gallery. Found through BMEzine ( www.bmezine.com ) Faaaaaaaaantastic.

A New Car Company? Yes…Cross Lander 244x

Something new. Really. Cross Lander is a new player in the SUV market, and their product is really refreshing. I am a life-long Land Rover fan, but I have to say I miss the whole look and feel they used to have with the Defender 90/110 and even the kitted Series I Discovery… Cross Lander seems to pickup where they left off. It’s a pretty refreshing looking SRV (sport recreation vehicle) with a trimmed down interior (no Connolly leather!) and nice sharp edges on the outside. While a 5th Ave girl may not be interested in taking your new ‘wheels’ down the crocodile mile, it serves as a cool looking and quite affordable (under $20k) alternative to a Jeep Wrangler or one of the other sub-par design examples of an off-road vehicle out on the market right now. Worth a look