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...

Would you buy a Hyundai?

I don’t watch much TV…but I’ve seen quite a few of these new commercials for the Hyundai Genesis. May have even seen some on Hulu as well. Car commercials in general are usually pretty boring, even if they are ‘high impact’ they all seem to follow the same model…curvy road, shiny wet roads, maybe even the driving thru perfectly placed fall leaves on the road that spin up as the car speeds past…or the ever-present body color painted licenses plates…right?? And to be honest, these Hyundai commercials aren’t terribly different - but they are being a bit more…almost like David and Goliath where David is kind of overly confident, maybe snobby. So they’re not just copying the big guys…they’re throwing down some pretty hard hitting facts about their car. The zero to sixty times in real time, nice touch. The sound system that is only 2 cars, theirs and a Phantom. Their comparison of braking performance in that it bests a 5 series from BMW. As they say, the space of an S class at the price of a C class. How it corners better than an E55. Etc…the list goes on. And usually, I’m turned off by comparisons…your product should speak loudly on its own. But, they actually don’t mind admitting that, yeah…its a Hyundai, and their previous brand image is that of ‘cheapness’...not even affordable, just simply cheap. They do so at the end of the commercial called ‘Twist’ (see the site). They don’t mention the name Hyundai at all in the commercial until the end…at its presented as the ‘twist’ itself…as in, ‘yeah, this is surprising, we know’. Their whole spin on this entire car is that its probably so affordable, yet so luxurious that its in a class by itself and its simply the best option. And to be honest, I think they did a pretty good job. Other’s in their arena have tried, and it usually comes off forced…not so much with this Genesis. Will I buy one…hmm, honestly probably not. But I’m not a huge fan of cars anyway.

I, and so did Chuck, got the new MacBook..!

Chuck got the Pro and I got the regular MacBook. I’m always evangelizing Apple, so I figured I’d throw a post up with my thoughts on the machine. First things, first, yes…the aluminum uni-body enclosure is simply beautiful. Almost doesn’t look like metal its so precise. It looks just as amazing closed as it does open. Now, I’m coming from the MacBook Air, and I’ll be totally honest in that the MacBook Air still wins in design contest, its pretty hard to beat. And the light weight mixed with the same uni-body enclosure makes the Air actually feel more sturdy for some reason. Anyway, that being said…the MacBook is on like a whole other planet compared with the plastic ones before it. I was talking with my friend Nicolai the other day about future design/build direction for Apple noptebooks…the question was, ‘what else can they change??’ They might make it thinner a bit, maybe lighter, obviously faster, etc. But from a pure design standpoint, what more can you really change? Its largely made from a single milled piece of aluminum. Can’t get much cleaner/simpler than that, you know? Plus Apple has an iconic computer in the aluminum Pro of past, and even these new ones don’t look too much different…so why change? These computers are almost becoming the Eames Lounge or Nelson Bench of computing. And I dig that. So I’ve swathed on the praises…but, my battery cover thing does rattle a bit, they should have made it over thicker material. ***Chuck, any thoughts on your Pro?? And Virgil, did you get yours??

Chuck: Loving mine so far…at first I was a little unsure of the super glossy screen, but it’s proven to really be no big deal. Only problem? I didn’t spend all that money on a new laptop to have a dead pixel right in the middle of the screen. So I’ll be bringing it back in to the store to see what they can do about that. Maybe not a big deal for some people, but when you’re doing design on it, it can be a real annoyance. Other than that, this thing is so perfectly designed, so quiet, so quick. I can’t recommend it more.

Virgil: When they dropped I was traveling, no time to make it to the Apple store and was initially hoping for something a bit more “fashion” forward with the design…I was hoping it woulda come in black, something stunning. In any event its a slick machine, I have used one of my friends and its cool. I think that trackpad clicking thing would take some getting used to. It’s an inevitable purchase, I am just stalling…that Canon G10 and that Blackberry Bold are calling my name in the technology department…

Artists doing great work - you told me!!

Sorry, sorry…it’s been a really busy last month, but I’m coming through with the followup to the artists post I made back in September. The response was awesome and it turns out we actually do have more than 9 readers of the site. That was great news and made us feel way cool about ourselves. Anyways - I got a lot of great suggestions, several new artists I’d never seen before, several I had seen before, and some people sent me links to rappers and bands Myspace pages which made no sense and had nothing to do with what I asked for. So onto the good stuff:

-Kim Cogan - A really talented painter who does gorgeous cityscapes and paintings of buildings. I can picture so many of these up on the walls in my place…fantastic work. Check out ‘T.L. Midnight, 2008’..one of my favorites. (Thanks Andrew)
-Adam Wallacavage - Anyone who has photos of Buzzo from the Melvins, Camille Rose Garcia, Gwar, and Andrew WK in the same portfolio is awesome in my book. And oh yeah, he makes ‘Octopus Chandeliers’. Seriously…one of the most all-around badass artists/photographers I’ve come across in a while. I’m actually disappointed in myself for not having found his work sooner. I will be getting his book Monster Size Monsters and you should too. (Thanks Andrew)
-Robert Hardgrave - I’ve been familiar with Robert’s work for a while but am only now seeing his site for the first time. You have to check this stuff out…brilliantly detailed paintings and drawings that make me want to see the stuff very badly in person. (Thanks Scott)
-Jose Parla - One of my all-time favorites. There is nothing I can say, just go look. (Thanks for the reminder, Scott)
-Dale Grimshaw - Neurotic, troubled, intelligent… Dark, but not too dark… not “I’m going to go listen to Linkin Park in my bedroom” kind of dark, but “Yeah I totally feel just like these paintings sometimes” dark. (Thanks Corey)
-Stephen Eichhorn - Stephen is one of those artists whose work I know I’ve seen before, but I don’t remember where and I don’t remember when, I just know I’ve seen it and I liked it. So it’s good to place his work to his name and rediscover his stuff again. Stark and organic, his hand cut collages are really fantastic. (Thanks Mike)
-Scott Anderson - Right on the front page: ‘004384 Free website hit counter’. Ok… your work better be good Scott, because leaving a hit counter on the front page of your portfolio is a big bag of hurt, as Steve Jobs would say…Phew…Ok, he does awesome work. I can forgive the hit counter now. Super weird paintings. I love this stuff…check out ‘Federacio’ from the ‘Re Krei, Kavi Gupta Gallery September 2005’ section. (Thanks Frank)
-Angelina Gualdoni - Some of these people just flat out deserve their own entire post. (Thanks Frank)
-Frank Trankina - Super cool still life paintings. Need to find out if this guy has stuff for sale. (Thanks Frank)
-The Post Family - Shout to Chad and Scott - love the Post Family stuff! Check these guys out…a fantastic collective / “art family” in Chicago.
-Nicola Lopez - Wow. Just wow. Reminds me a bit of Julie Mehretu but completely with her own unique style. (Thanks Steffanie)

Super long post, I know, and there were more…but I need to keep this to a reasonable length. To those of you who sent links that I didn’t post, I’ve got the emails saved and I do artist posts all the time…so keep an eye out, I may still post them in the future. For now, take a few hours to go through these artist’s sites…breathtaking amounts of talent.

iwearyourshirt.com!

“In this up and down economy I am outsourcing my wardrobe (namely shirts) to corporate america and you!” Ha, love the introduction. So this project, iwearyourshirt.com, is the brainchild of a friend and colleague of mine, Mr. Jason Sadler of Thought+Theory. I remember when he hit me up with the idea…I thought it was great, super fun back then (like 2 weeks ago, ha) but I think its even better now seeing it up in action. Love the design, nice work Dennis, the execution, all the copy…the whole thing is super fun and perfectly simple. Its got a little bit of the magic that Million Dollar Home Page had. And actually, it has a very Connect Ventures feel to it. So yeah, I’ve already purchased a pre-sale spot…I don’t even know if there are any left…if there are you should grab one, $10?? Can’t go wrong. I can’t wait to see how this project turns out.

Off Bowery: “Turn your lifestyle into a job, man!”

A-ron’s Off Bowery movement just threw out a little synopsis video I guess you’d call it highlighting someone of the scene/culture creators that make up the Off Bowery gang. Not super long, but interesting as always. A look into current culture that matters, at the scene level, you know? We’ve been fans of A-ron’s work since before we interviewed him - always nice to see a bit more into what he’s up to directly from the man himself. I like the little testimonial/quote things they have thrown in there as well. He says it best though: “Turn your lifestyle into a job, man.” We couldn’t agree more. Check the video at the link below. ***...Signing off from sunny Vero Beach, off to dinner.

Jay Walker’s library…I think he has Nigo beat.

Wow. And wow. Just found this in the latest issue of Wired mag. So Jay Walker, who is the founder of Priceline.com and Walker Digital, has what I would imagine is the most amazing museum-crushing geek collection of amazing artifacts and memorabilia…ever…and its all in his home’s 3,600 square foot library. I don’t even know where to start. The library structure itself is straight out of movie…hardly looks real. It’s got a maze like layout with tons of different levels, super classic wood-paneled design, walls-wall-ceilling-ceiling book shelves, and an MC Escher-esque wood floor pattern throughout. But its the collection of items…my goodness: a real Russian Sputnik (one of the backups that was never sent), books bound in real rubies, props form James Bond movies, the napkin Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his plan to win WW2 on, a complete Raptor skeleton, the manual to the Saturn V rocket that brought the Apollo 11 team to the moon, 15 pound meteorites, fossilized dinosaur eggs, the ‘Thing’ hand from Addam’s Family, the 1665 Bills of Mortality from London that track The Plague week by week (?!), a zillion (citation needed) books of every variety from 500 years-old to current, and too many other things to list…just an amazing, amazing collection of cool ‘stuff’. And while he has done tours for school kids, business execs, and friends, no press has ever been allowed to document except Wired as of just recently. This is just that classic like what would happen if Peter Pan was rich type thing, ha. Link to the story below.

Maxfields, Merchandising Masters!!!

Yo Yo. What a fresh shop I was clueless about until Lupe hipped me to it, Maxfields in LA. On par with the growing number of select shops in the world what really makes them stand out is their next level jewelery sprinkled throughout the store and their merchandising tactics. I mean, for vintage luxury luggage nuts like me seeing one Hermes nude leather monster size Birkin is cool, but seeing like 4 stacked on top of each other along with 3 hard sided Louis trunks, all in the same shade of nude….I thought that was pretty amazing. All for sale too. Even the taxidermy cheetah off in the corner was for sale and style. Super fresh. They had these Balenciaga high top’s in my size I’d been looking for so that was cool, and the Lanvin selections were on point. Not too snobby & Mary Kate approved, get busy.

Fast Company says: Grand Rapids is America’s greenest city!

Ah, another win for my favorite little-big-city. I’m pretty into this. So yeah, when you think of Michigan, and you’re not from here, you probably think of Detroit, a failing auto industry, manufacturing plants, and all things associated with these…none of which are green in the least, you know? While the state has some work yet to do, and a rocky re-organization of core-industry, we do have something going for us and Fast Company gave us the nod: Grand Rapids! We started really getting attention for our focus on sustainability and general ‘greeness’ with the new art museum we’ve got downtown. Speaking of which, I was just there catching the Richard Avedon exhibit - epic. Anyway, I just wanted to tout my city yet again here on THE BRILLIANCE…Grand Rapids is pretty fantastic. Check the article below.

3 things I like right now!

I didn’t really want to make a post on each one specifically, so I just threw them all together. #1 - The Mash SF x Cinelli track bike. Whoa. Totally ground-up design, no corny branding, beautiful geometry, custom (!!!?) black Campagnolo Record groupo, and made from Columbus steel…had this been around at the time, I think I may have skipped on the Pista Concept. Maybe. Congrats to the Mash SF guys, you’re doing amazing things. #2 - The Peek mobile email device. Its the most stripped down mobile email device available - no phone, no internet, no apps, just email. Super thin, love the square design, and only $19.95 a month flat-fee for national access. I really hope they eventually offer an international package. I just dig this thing. Just a fun, useful, and simple device. #3 - Rob Brandt’s ceramic crinkle cups. Awesome. I have one sitting in my office. They’re the perfect substitute for boring (typical) wine glasses. Its amazing, they really look like a crinkled plastic cup. Super cool, and affordable.

2/3rds of THE BRILLIANCE! is off to Asheville, NC!!

A little business/vacation trip for Chuck and myself. I’ve never been to Asheville, or anywhere in North Carolina before…always cool to visit new places. And we’re lucky enough to be staying at what looks like a pretty fantastic resort/spa called the Grove Park Inn & Spa. Yeah, looks super nice…especially the spa. I already made my appointment. I think we’re hitting up the whole Biltmore Estate thing as well. Anyway, yeah, looking forward to it…I haven’t traveled with Chuck (and now his wife too!) in a while, so should be fun. That’s my post. And just FYI, I’m eating a 12 inch Italian BMT from Subway right now, and its delicious.