The Brilliance!


#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 year in music 2007!!!

Paste Magazine says that The National - Boxer is the best album of the year. I have to agree, personally. It was my favorite along with Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam. Ben told me his is hands down Kanye’s Graduation. ”>Pitchfork named Panda Bear - Person Pitch #1 (a great record I do agree…). Metacritic chose Burial - Untrue, MSNBC listed Radiohead - In Rainbows, Spin gave it to Against Me! - New Wave and Rolling Stone crowned M.I.A. - Kala. I researched a ton of other lists and Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Bruce Springsteen, and Lil’ Wayne all also were either #1’s or listed consistently in top 5’s. I have to say, 2007 was a fantastic year for new music. The explosion of indie rock and hip-hop onto the charts and into the mainstream has been pretty fascinating to see and it’s exciting to feel like truly good music is making its way into more and more people’s hands. There’s certainly a downward trend in the importance of labels thanks to Myspace, blogs, and Radiohead this year, although there are handfuls of labels who are making moves to change with the times. I would have to say one of the negative things about music moving to a mostly downloaded format and the rapid demise of the CD is the loss of the importance of album artwork. If we all download our music, we’ll never see the album artwork in more than a 1x1 inch square in the bottom left of our iTunes or in a record store/Best Buy just walking by. I like what Beck did with The Information late 2006 and (sorry for the 3rd namedrop) what Radiohead did a few months ago with the box set option. It keeps up the interest to have something tangible and to hold it in your hand, something I believe cannot be replaced simply by downloading an MP3. So I’m excited to see what artists go above and beyond in that aspect this coming year. Anyways, I tip my hat to all the musicians that put out great albums this year. Here’s to The Breeders and Oasis in 2008.

Lupe Fiasco’s “The Cool”…easy listening!!!

“One of Jay-z boys, now I am skating in your pool, not to be rude, I am just hatin’ on your rules” – Lupe “Gold Watch” Crazy. The Cool is out today. Lupe’s sophomore effort is such important music. In an era ‘singles’ and not ‘albums’ its amazing he was able to make an album with a story. The best stories stick in your mind and replay in different life scenarios. Like watching Crash and riding the train the next day. The Cool is equally a novel as it is an album. The trinity of characters The Cool, The Streets, The Game play out throughout the album painting a moving picture of reality. He sets the concept up here. Its like a secret book on tape for today’s youth. It makes the inside album artwork from Food and Liquor even more eyebrow raising. Real music is too refreshing. His site just launched the in-depth imagery. Check your local itunes store for a copy. Peace and much love to ya.

Saab ‘Aero’ SUV. Boring.

We actually haven’t done many ‘negative’ posts in the past year or two here on the site. We like to highlight stuff we find interesting/inspiring more, you know? But I felt like I had to put this one up. So Saab, listen up…we’re giving you free ‘market research’ here…free consulting. Stop doing boring stuff. Stop making irrelevant cars like this new ‘Aero’ model SUV…and start making brilliant and quirky cars like you used to. I find it so funny that brands do these ‘green’ initiatives like Saab has done with its bio-fuel and diesel stuff…and then they come out with an ‘Aero’ or tricked-out-for-speed SUV. That couldn’t be farther from their brand image…and its not at all an efficient or ‘green’ move on their behalf. Not to mention its really boring and uninspired design. ‘Oh wow, it has 20 inch wheels on it right out of the showroom!! Vrrrooomm!’ Uhhh…so to the crew over at Saab, or GM, or whatever: go back to your roots a bit, go back to the quirky design that made your brand important in the first place, and work to make fantastic and RELEVANT products. Relevant products…wouldn’t you say thats the majority of car companies are missing right now? (Except VW. I’m loving their stuff more and more everyday.) And yeah, I’m a Saab owner.

Tom Ford ain’t never left!!!

I am all about championing this new-era of designers becoming the new rockstars. Hence another quick but valuable insight into another influential fashion designer. This is taken from the Supreme Luxury Conference in Moscow. How nice would it be to get an invite to that…Tom Ford is another fashion character who I am familiar with but never heard speak. Who knew thats what he sounds like? Why did Gucci and him split ways? In my mind he is what Gucci lacks on a number of levels. They have the red/green heritage but there no ‘face’ to the the brand which is so important these days. He’s obviously onto bigger and better things like building his Tom Ford Group empire with his finger on everything his brand touches. Talk about supreme luxury.

“We don’t have logos, we have (Tom Ford) logos about the store but they are representative of your own initials”. - Tom Ford. That’s pretty much my whole frame of mind right about now.

True Boutique Hotel!!!

Remember when W Hotels were first on the scene. They just blew the roof off of what I thought of as a hotel. Perfect timing for the Dwell lifestyle movement. How quickly they lost there spot to all the million other boutique hotels that have popped up in every city. Conceptually they are all losing to Everland Hotel tho. This is crazy. A one room portable hotel that has just landed on top of the Palais De Tokyo in Paris. Crazy. It just sits at the edge of this building. One night stay is like $600 bucks and reservations can only be made online. They figured out a way to give everyone a equal shot at booking a reservation since there’s only one room. Talk about ground breaking…

I’m going to St. Barths…and I need your help!

I just typed like three or four different opening sentences for this post…and deleted each one. Hard post to start, cause I can’t believe I’m even going…so nuts! So yeah, St. Barths for New Years and a couple other islands before then (I finally get to see Virgin Gorda!!)...again I just can’t believe I’m going. Anyway, that aside…I need some help from all the super-savvy traveler types that read our site. We don’t ask favors too often…but I need some suggestions on where to be and what to do while in St. Barths. I’ve researched on the web, forums, etc but most of that stuff is all the clubby or like honeymoon type stuff. I’m looking for the relaxed ‘real’ spots to eat, hang, late-night party, shop, etc. And even they are a little touristy, I’m interested in the ‘you-have-to-visit-while-your-there’ spots as well. So any help what-so-ever would be very much appreciated…I’ll be blogging live while I’m on the trip as much as I can giving updates here and photos on our Flickr page. “Drinks with Russell at 6pm? Sounds good…” ha.

$2,500 and 126,000 hits in a day: Ruben FM!!

It’s funny, I first heard of this director Ruben from the crazy list of links on the asilentflute blog when it was the source of ‘real’ information. Like 2 years later my friend Nino is like, “my friend Ruben is shooting this Kid Sister video in Chicago for basically no money and I need a stylist, quick”. So I called up Sharon Mackin at Barneys and wallah, a fresh video for next to nothing. I just saw an interview on The Fader he did a cool little behind the scenes/making of thing about the video. It’s cool. I love the fact how television is not even in the equation of music videos anymore. Its all about that attention grabbing camera trick or look & song and Youtube. (sidebar: anyone know that music video that has the people wear all black jump suits doing all the in-camera special effects/pls email me that) Check out Ruben’s cool back catalog of videos for M.I.A. and Dizzee Rascal etc.. He’s heavily involved with the Rob & Big too so you know he’s graduated to the big stage.

Gilles-Marie Zimmermann photography!

Tired of Terry Richardson a little? I mean…yeah, I actually dig his stuff…but I’d almost forgotten what really amazing fashion/beauty photography can look like. Gilles-Marie Zimmermann’s work is just amazing. Specifically the project titled ‘Simply I Project’. So, which do I like more? The the photography or the amazing subjects? Ha. The composition and lighting are so ‘thick’...and its not like 15-20 great shots. The quantity of pretty much perfect pictures is just unreal. So yeah…I’m a fan of Gilles-Marie Zimmermann.

Things: Vans Shoes!

Benjamin says: Been wearing Vans shoes on-and-off since I was 10 or 11. One thing I love is heritage. Name a ‘skate’ soft-goods brand with more heritage…and Vans is nothing short of iconic Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the surf world, skate world, slacker kids, hipsters, artists, rock stars, etc. Nothing more to say really. Give me some off-white Eras with the little blue strip on the sole. I just wish they were still made stateside…and I missed out on the whole customization thing they did!
Chuck says: I used to wear Vans slip-ons all the time. Then I got this one black pair that were a little too narrow for my feet. Every time I looked down it looked like I had giant lima beans coming out of my jeans. They were like a shoe-sock, kind of formed to my foot. My bad for getting a size too small. But a more serious note, nobody makes a cooler more classic shoe than Vans.
Virgil says: First thought that comes to mind about Vans is the chewed up sock I got after skating them for a few days, which lead to me thinking that skating my pair of OG Jordan 8’s was a good idea. That shows my age. Vans masters that fine line of modern classic in a less in your face why than Converse. It speaks to me. One color Sk8 Hi’s work whenever, wherever.

So yeah, this is a new thing we are trying out here on THE BRILLIANCE…all three of us throwing together out thoughts/comments/etc on a given ‘thing’. But instead of us just reviewing stuff we’ve come up with ourselves…we’d liek the readers to throw us suggestions of ‘things’ for us to cover. So…yeah, do that. Email your ‘thing’ suggestions to:

Steady inspiration! More Karl Lagerfeld.

These once a week trips outta town are really throwing me off. I am on the internet, outside Gmail like once a week now. I am reading blogs that are a week old, kinda weird. I just came across this Karl Lagerfeld interview on Mr. Kim’s blog. Someone please name me a better interviewer than Charlie Rose. Whatever genre of celebrity he masters the art of asking questions and really getting into what makes people tick, political figure or fashion designer. Every time I find a Lagerfeld interview odds are I am going to post it. Genius. Too many great quotes, so I will just quote one.

“Designers shouldn’t talk, they should just design.” -real talk, Karl Lagerfeld