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...

Volvo: By 2020, no death or injury in their cars!?

As a Volvo owner myself, I have to say it is true you feel very safe driving one. It’s such a solid feeling ride. I bought my S40 just before the nasty winter came 2 years ago and it was honestly the first time driving on such icy roads that I didn’t feel worried I’d end up backwards in a ditch. Anyways, just caught this story from Drudge...“Volvo to produce injury-proof car by 2020”. See the video/story here. Basically, they are trying to push the limits of how the mechanies of a car and the mechanics of a human can interact to create the safest driving experience. Admittedly it will not be an easy task to accomplish this but they say they want to create the perfect vehicle that can act as a complete bumper/bubble to the passengers. Much like Ben’s post below about Carrotmob, you have to love when people truly put their minds to the test to see how much better they can make life for the people who inhabit our planet. Just think if Volvo is able to create some sort of technology over the next 12 years that truly minimizes the 1.3 million car deaths and 50 million car injuries that happen every year, other auto companies will begin to adapt and learn from their example to truly make driving safer. I love what they’re doing with the anti-drunk-driving technology already and in time I’m sure it’s safe to say that we will be able to worry less and less on the road. Unless you’re living in New Jersey. My experience there is that Volvo has very little hope.

This ‘Carrotmob’ movement, I can dig it.

Alright…the name, yeah, kind of weird. But whatever. This video…is about 90% really, really fantastic, and about 10% corny. Fortunately, the corny parts, namely the really terrible ‘music video’ and Lil Wayne thing aren’t really the true point of their movement…just their choice of humor. That stuff aside, I really, really love what their doing and the narrator/creator guy’s approach and delivery. Seriously, well done my man. I’d prefer you watch the video as opposed to just hearing my spin…but the basic gist of the video is an experiment where local mini-marts/convenience stores in San Fran are given the option to bid on what portion of their sales they’d donate to making their store/process/etc more environmentally friendly. Which ever store ‘wins’ the bid how much of their revenue they’ll donate will get promotion as THE store for green-minded people to buy their goods at. A very capitalistic way of encouraging environmental friendliness. The video obviously shows this whole process in practice a bit better than I’m explaining…so check it out. Good stuff, minus the really corny fake-video thing. Love the end result. ***Plus, maybe more than anything, I love how scaleable this idea is…seriously, think about it.

I’m throwing a Muxtape party!!! (beta v1.1)

I love Muxtape. I love how it got on the hipster’s radar so quickly…like, “Whats your Muxtape address dude? Oh…you don’t have one? Oh…” ha. Maybe not that bad. But I love how the founder, Justin, created such a ‘niche’ little product and marketed it well enough (ie. aligned with Jakob Lodwick) to the point where it carried social must-have-one cache within a week of its launch. Enough compliments. So yeah, I’ve been preferring more thrown-together social gatherings over bars lately. It’s just hard to build community at a bar you know? I know that sounds weird, but thats what the social scene is all about…building community. Plus I love blending scenes…and how better to do that than music, you know?? So I hit up my friend Rob like “Hey man, I want to throw a Muxtape party where everyone who shows up needs to have a pre-made Muxtape with a four track maximum on it…and everyone will get to be DJ for a bit of the night.” Super simple. And its all going down this Friday at my friend Kevin Hockin’s loft here in downtown GR. We did a little Facebook event and invited our friends from all sorts of different scenes, demographics, etc. with the theme of ‘DANCE, DANCE, DANCE’ and nothing more. Make a Muxtape that’ll get people in the dance zone…and get creative with it, hit everyone with stuff they’ve never heard before…meet new people. We got a big PA for the sound and a projector to throw each Muxtape on the wall super huge so everyone doesn’t have to scream over the music ‘yo, who is this?!?!’ Like the title says…I’m disclaiming this one as ‘beta’ so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll report back…with Flickr updates as well. I’m just trying to use the internet in ‘real life’ more often…

Pop Music! Madonna, Kanye, and Pharrell…

“Get down, beep-beep, better get up out of your seat…” I think Virgil and I were talking about the idea of ‘pop’ music a while back…about how we kind of wish ‘pop’ music was truly popular again. Like, what happened to jams on the radio? I mean, they do play jams on the radio…but the majority of truly ‘good’ music isn’t really played on the radio you know? Its more just been the cookie-cutter radio single stuff. Anyway…this track “Beat Goes On” by Madonna with production from Pharrell and guest feature Kanye is literally perfect. This is music EVERYONE can enjoy…anyone can dance to this, you know? It just sets the perfect tone for a good time. But beyond that…its really, really good music from really, really great iconic artists. That like…true pop music right? No flash-in-the-pan stuff on this track. Anyway, take a listen on Kanye’s blog below. ***And yeah, for the people who’ve emailed us, it is really awesome to be linked on Kanye’s blog…ha. Check out Ibn’s and Don C’s blog as well.

Powers of Ten from the office of Charles and Ray Eames!

“The picnic near the lakeside in chicago is the start of a lazy afternoon…” Kind of weird that I haven’t posted this before…I actually watch if often when I need some inspiration or when I need to juice my imagination. First off…this was created in 1977. 1977!! Brilliantly done with the lack of pretty much 99% of the technology we have today. So cool. And, perhaps more important, its from the “office of Charles and Ray Eames…what more can be said? Multi-disciplinary and multi-visionary designers…this video is proof of the fact. The video itself, which you may have seen in High school, is just flooring to me…it never, never ceases to amaze me even after multiple watches. Needless to say, our universe is literally beyond comprehension. This video/film does such an amazing job of making the incomprehensibility of it somewhat comprehensible. The narration is great and the music…is just awesome, composed by Shawn Lane. Actually, if anyone has access somehow to the score/music from this film PLEASE hit me up…I’ve been trying to find it forever. So yeah…whenever you need a creative boost just zone out on this video for a while. It never seems to disappoint.

Michael Bastian, get to know him!!!

The light bulb just went off in my head…these designer x “insert asseccible brand here” is whats really going to elevate American stand of design/fashion/style to European or Asian level. Michael Bastian to me is the next Ralph or something. The former mens fashion director turned designer is on his way to becoming a household name. Those are the designers I like to watch, the ones that don’t go to school for it, but have the knack for it. A fresh perspective he actually gave me. Super nice dude amazingly talented, fresh outlook on real American fashion. His last Fall collection says it all, traditional silhouettes with a modern Pop thing going on. He’s relaunching Bill Blass and still has time to knock out some amazing shirts for the Gap. Check them out. Its rare I’d get this excited over a dress shirt but I think thats my taste changing. Modern-western shirts…I am all in.

Virgil is: still in Tokyo via NYC!!!

Its been a crazy string of fun events, I have no clue what day it is and what time it is back home, all I know is I left Chicago, bags fully packed and I have enough clean clothes to last me till tomorrow. Packing is half the battle. This work trip started out with a gang of fun at the Murakami art opening in Brooklyn. Highlight of that was seeing the bootleg ridden chinatown Canal Street leading into the actual building since Murakami’s print is the most bootlegged LV print…so cool seeing $3,000 bags on the ground. I appreciate seeing a huge brand like that have fun with their image in a satrical way. The event was fresh, seeing who could grab the most placemats after dinner was even part of the excitement. Next stop Tokyo…we landed and went straight to the Worldwide Bape Show. N*E*R*D ripped the stage. Their double drummer and perfect energy makes for a super cool set. Their next album is gonna be something serious! Much of this week has been spent working day ‘n night. We did break away and eat dinner at Nobu. The food definitely lived up to the expectation, toasting Nigo with the same wine that Bape celebrated their grand opening with was something special too. Flickr time.

Benjamin is: in NYC for the week!

For a little business and a little fun. It’s been a while since I’ve been in Manhattan. I don’t think it’ll ever get any less impressive…so immense. I’m actually at Gotham Hall right now as I type this. What a beautiful space. Yeah, so hit me up if there is anything interesting going on that I should know about…don’t really have any plans. That’s my post.

Netflix: Rome: Engineering an Empire!

I rent documentaries from Netflix often. True story. I’ve taken quite an interest in Rome lately…figured I’d polish up on what I’ve forgotten from high school. While I’m no ‘buff’ on the topic, I thoroughly enjoyed watching “Rome: Engineering an Empire” last Sunday while enjoying a cold Coors Light. It’s pretty much unfathomable that these unbelievable structures were created so long ago, so precisely, so beautifully, and so quickly. I had no idea the Colosseum was built in 8-10 years. Thats just insane! The hospital they’re building up the street from me is going to take 4 years to complete. Now, granted, we don’t use slave labor of any sort, its pretty amazing that without any modern technology or modern tools…or even producing any pollution (!!) that something so massive could be created that quickly…and still be standing today. The stuff they cover in the DVD is pretty amazing…from the rise to the ruin of the Roman empire. I can’t say I find even 50% of what they did as a culture to be acceptable…quite an in-humane group of people…but wow, just amazing what they accomplished. Made me really want to visit Rome. So yeah, if you’re a Netflix user you should throw it on your queue instead of Beowulf. ***Ignore the negative nerd reviews…

Pitchfork.tv launches!!!

It’s things like this that we love at The Brilliance. Nice site design, good quality videos (YouTube? Gonna catch up soon on that…??), good content, nice execution, and videos of Radiohead with Thom Yorke on drums. Pitchfork Media is notorious for its reviews and its year-end lists (Hey Nigel - think either of us will end up on the “Worst Covers of the Year” again here in 08? Ha…) but Pitchfork.tv seems like a fantastic extension of Pitchfork Media that can put any of the wits of the 0.0 reviews aside and focus on great content. Live performance videos, interviews, and behind-the-scenes looks at all sorts of amazingly talented acts. I LOVE that when you click the links in the top navigation row it keeps your video playing and slides the content sections over. Very smooth… I was watching this Liars video, wanting to look around the site more and thought I’d have to go back to the video to navigate back to where I was before I clicked away but really enjoyed that it just kept it there. Such a nice little touch. I love that good ideas are flowing strong in web design today. It’s great when media-rich sites are simple, good looking, and friendly to use…I don’t think that’s an easy thing to pull off by any means. And it doesn’t hurt that they kicked off with Radiohead, Liars, and the Pixies either…Anyways, well done Pitchfork. I’m impressed.