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 Violet Hour, have a drink!

Love this place. I was in Chicago this past weekend catching up with Virgil and doing a little shopping, etc. Good times. A highlight would have to be our visit with some crew to ‘The Violet’ hour, a relatively new (right?) night spot in Wicker Park. Loved it man…super cool. The whole concept is perfect, they only let in as many people as there is seating for, all the drinks are a simple $11 and amazing/well executed, the scene is somewhat hushed and quite ‘un-bar-like’ in its feel, Virgil dubbed interior design as ‘being inside a Tiffanys box’ - a good call, and best of all, the exterior, has no windows and is pretty much comprised of black painted plywood with a very, very simple door. It seriously looks like its out of business or being worked on - just one guy, quite polite, in a suit managing the door. The whole reservation process is kind of wild too - I guess they don’t answer the phone until its dark. Yeah, great spot, great drinks, cool crowd…and very well executed. ***No website, I love that

Perfection: My trip to Tahiti, Moorea, & Bora Bora…

I actually shouldn’t really be saying “my” trip, because a honeymoon is most certainly an “our” trip kind of thing…ha… But moving on. A year ago at this time I was starting to really try to figure out where I wanted to take myself and my then-fiancee-now-wife Holly for our honeymoon. I knew I wanted somewhere that would be considered paradise…somewhere that is as close to Heaven-on-Earth as possible. It didn’t take long after a few Google searches and quick looks through some travel magazines that Tahiti was what I needed to look into. And it wasn’t long after that that I was trying to figure out what hotels I wanted to stay at on the islands of Moorea and Bora Bora. So anyways, here I am, almost 2 months after we were married and spent what had to be the most beautiful week and a half of my life, and I still can’t quite wrap my head around the utopia that is the islands of French Polynesia. We flew from LA to Tahiti and hopped over to the island of Moorea shortly after landing. This 10-minute flight was like nothing I’d seen before. The sun rising over the Pacific ocean with the island of Tahiti visible behind us and the island of Moorea ahead of us…truly blissful. We spent the first 4 nights at the Sheraton Moorea. Moorea is, simply put, a beautiful island with beautiful people, full of amazing history and colors and sights that you really have to see to believe (pictures at the link below…) We were fortunate enough to take a Jeep safari tour of the island, and at the climax of that tour found ourselves looking out at this. Unbelievable…I really could go on forever but I have to move on and tell you about Bora Bora. Bora Bora is somewhat of a fantasy, make-believe kind of place, even when you are there. You don’t believe the water actually looks like that. You go in it, but you have to convince yourself that it is real. Even with the abundance of overwater bungalows, they seem to fit right in to the natural, simple landscape of the island. Bora Bora is small enough to get around the entire island by motor-buggy or car in about 45 minutes. Just one road that goes around the whole place. We stayed at the IC Le Moana there. Beautiful property, lagoon, just about everything…perfection perfection perfection. We had some seriously good food (seared red tuna anyone!! mahi mahi!! and the pineapple on these islands is the best in the world). Oh - I have to mention the snorkeling we did…a seriously crazy amount of beautiful fish, stingrays, and these incredible sharks. One last thing - if you stay at the IC Le Moana, you can hop over on a free boat ride to the brand new IC Thalasso Resort where they have a beautiful lounge area filled - no really - filled with about every piece of classic furniture that exists in white. I could seriously go on and on about this trip, this place, the hotels…everything…but it’s really best to just look at some pictures to get the idea. Link below.

Faces in Places!

Ha… How could I not post this?? This is the internet at its finest…random objects in random places that look like faces…Perfect. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen things before that look an awful lot like faces and laughed to myself…but it’s the internet that reminds me I’m not the only one who thinks certain things are funny. This will have to be a short post because to be quite honest, I’m not sure what else to say about this. Ha. Just go look…

School Movies Revisited, Fahrenheit 451!!!

Remember those afternoons in high school, couped up in semi-lit classrooms with the TV-VCR up on the stand watching random movies, trying to understand the point. Ahh… he good ole days when life was easy. One flick we had to watch was Fahrenheit 451. For some reasons I had a flashback of the movie the other day. I loved the aesthetic, the was it was shot, the color saturation and of course the subject matter. Plus it always interesting to see what they depict the fashions of the future. Its on some Jetsons-esque, but anti-Jetsons view of what the future would be like. Basically books are outlawed and, no one thinks critically or goes against the grain. You watch the main character fireman in charge of burning books, Guy Montag come to his senses. Next person who uses this film as a basis for some theme, I’ll know where you got it from, THE BRILLIANCE has a make-believe patent on this concept, especially if your starting a streetwear brand.

Radiohead’s new album, pay whatever you feel like!

Two things. (1) This is brilliant. Radiohead is independent now, and they are taking distribution and more importantly, ‘customer relations’ into their own hands. I can’t imagine Thom Yorke even saying ‘customer relations’ but you get the idea. Their physical vinyl + CD is like $80…but to download their album, you simply pay them what you see fit. In my case I gave them 10 pounds. Really brilliant. Beyond it just being a ‘neat way for your fans to get your music’...its really a fantastic marketing tool. I’m certainly not the only blog talking about this, right? (2) The execution could have been better. The web interface is slightly confusing at best…a bit hard to use. But hey - this is absolutely a step in the right direction. I can’t wait to hear the tracks. THE BRILLIANCE! loves the concept. ***Oh yeah, FYI, I’m re-launching INDISTR in about 2 weeks - stay tuned for more details.

I want to go to New Orleans & stay at Loft 523!

Just found this place yesterday, and now I want to hit up the Big Easy. I honestly wish I could have experienced things before Katrina - what an amazing city. But by no means am I saying its now longer amazing - in fact, this hotel is proof of their vibrant creative culture still at work. Really, really beautiful spaces, amazing bathrooms with Agape bathtubs, crazy high ceilings, etc…just a really brilliant looking hotel. Excuse their oddly designed site. Decent rates too. This reminds me how much I like my Mom’s dirty-rice dish…so good.

INDISTR Version 2, Oct 10th!!!

We’re back with it! So for those of you who follow THE BRILLIANCE often might remember a site a l launched about 8 months back called INDISTR.com. INDISTR allows artist to sell their music directly to the public, set their own prices and get paid 75% of earning instantly. It stood as my first plunge into the world of running my own project, getting funding, executing and building a brand. So 8 months later, how do things look? We made money!! Not a ton, but in this age of dot-com stuff, I was pretty happy to see the bank account edge up on the very first day. Yeah, the first day – then continue to do so! But along with that there were lots of lessons learned and its always harder than you think. Crazy to think this whole concept of music + the internet + artist getting the lion’s share STILL hasn’t been figured out yet. I guess that is good news to me – because INDISTR Version 2 is launching October 10th and we’ve got a lot more focused energy this time around. We’ve also got a fantastic new design, much needed enhanced searching and tagging features, cleaner checkout process, way better embeddable music players and more. And we’ll be updating with new features quite often. Thank you’s to my new head of operations, Kevin Hockin and the new design house we hired, Thought+Theory. Stay tuned!!!!

Recent History Museum, Fruition LV!!!

Such a good atmosphere and even better back-story. I had the fortunate experience of getting to know young entrapeneurs Chris Jullian & Samantha Alonso last month in Vegas in their shop Fruition. I literally just camped out in the store and soaked it in the atmosphere. Make no mistake, there is true vision here beyond clothes on shelves. It feels way more like a curated view in to golden years of American POP-fashion rather than just vintage clothing. Of all the stores I have ever been in worldwide, the best could take a lesson on how to strategically place different pieces to tell a story. Let me step back tho. This shop carries the rarest and some of the most iconic & coveted clothes during the birth of hip hop and standout street fashion from the 90’s. Like Chalkine jackets, Nike Air Jordan stuff, LL Cool J Troop jackets, Coca Cola polos, classic Ralph Lauren, MCM bags, Dapper Dan Gucci and Vintage Dior. As well they pair it up with current designer wear like the hard to find Jeremy Scott designs. What’s funny about the place is some people get it and some people don’t. Of course its not for everyone, but for those that it is for, it’s a gold mine. And in one fell swoop when I think if Vegas I don’t think of MGM, rather MCM.

Book: Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain!!

I’m posting about a book I haven’t even read yet. But I will. I actually got tuned into this book from the latest issue of Wired - great issue, go grab it. Towards the back of the mag they have this ‘Chat’ section and they are highlighting Dr. Oliver Sacks who is the author of this ‘Muiscophilia’ book. He’s an interesting guy - openly talks about his use of psychedelic drugs, marijuana, etc during his time at med school,he’s a neurologist, and how they have similar effects on the brain as music does. The whole book is pretty much as the title would suggest - exploring how music interacts/affects the brain. Some really interesting stuff, really interesting actually. How rhythm can be therapeutic for people suffering from Parkinson’s and how music insights memories and recall ‘like nothing else’ in Alzheimer’s patients. I love this kind of stuff. Music is like an 16-18 hour a day thing for me. Ever present. And I’m huge into music for moods or work being done…as well as listening to music in context and the effects it can have. And thats my post.

Layer Tennis tomorrow, me VS. Steven Harrington. ACE!!!

Advantage! Deuce! Tennis elbow! Smash! Lens Flare! Plastic wrap! PhOtOsHoP SkILL! These are all things that may or may not have to do with tomorrow’s ‘Layer Tennis’ match between myself and the talented Mr. Steven Harrington. Layer Tennis (formerly Photoshop Tennis) is an online event run by Coudal.com that takes two artists, designers, illustrators, etc. and puts them up against each other for 10 ‘volleys’ of 15 minutes a piece. The first person starts their serve with a piece they’ve worked on throughout the upcoming week, then the other person gets 15 minutes with that Photoshop file, uploads it, and so on. It’s quirky and unusual but really quite a fun, cool concept that has attracted a big audience. SO. Tomorrow at 2pm Chicago time, I will be working with/against Steven Harrington with commentary by Jason Kottke. The whole thing is semi-live (semi because you’re not actually watching or listening to real-time action…just getting updates every 15 minutes or so). People discuss everything that’s going on in the forums, so you can participate there or just observe. Anyways, check it out at LayerTennis.com. Bagel! Break point! Vibrazorb! Women’s doubles!