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...

STADIUM STATUS!!!!

Take a step back and look at this Graduation album as an art installation in a museum. (this is ultimately Hip Hop, some people are calling the artform dead, fyi.) The artwork itself is on another level. Some are familiar with Murakami, others are not. At the end of the day, that artwork that comes along with the album is worth more than the price of the CD, period. As for the music, it really speaks for itself. I would argue there is a lyric on every verse of every song that everyone can identify with. There is a song that fits everyday of the week, from “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”…grinding away at work, to “Champion” when your giving your self a pep talk, to “Drunk and Hot Girls” when Friday night turns into Saturday morning. The videos, geeze. “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” based off the look of those shots. When is the last time you’ve seen those desert rock star shots like that done with a creative twist of the vintage Lambo and color lightning strikes and those fabrics. Or Stronger and the celebration of Akira and the brand new “Goodlife”. I mean the whole bar has been raised up, the music matches the “look” and the fashion is on a higher level. I have been saying, every time I listen to the album it makes me wanna dress better. It just a metaphor for the fact that this album encompasses life, art and style. Sonically this is 2007 and beyond hip hop music. The drums he is using, the synths, the strings at the end of “I Wonder” defines the “you can’t do this at home” sound of the album. I mean the cohesiveness is unmatched, and that cohesiveness stems from his talent as a designer at heart. Dislike individual elements but when you get an art directed package that is so cohesive AND on a MOMA level, the full body of this album is not compromised. In my mind I cannot deny this is one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time and the only album from the genre that respectively could go up against the likes of U2 & the Rolling Stones in the same sentence. Done and done. Just giving credit where credit is due.

Snacks 2.0!

As your local corner-store-king, snack-sultan, and bodega-baller…I have to keep the whole scene plugged into the latest snacking trends. Think like: SnackBeast.com, SnackXHype, etc. Ha…this post is spiraling into something really un-funny, super corny. So, back on topic, I’ve got three snacks to highlight. (1) Panda Raspberry Flavored Confections. My goodness…its like the Louis Vuitton of licorice, no joke. (2) Barnacles from Blue Crab Bay Co. Some crazy spicy trail mix thing with peanuts, roasted pasta spirals, pumpkin seeds and a bunch of other hippie stuff. Super good, seriously. (3) Clif Bar’s Banana Nut Bread. Powerbars? Never heard of them. Clif Bars are the only bars that matter. So that’s that…gone are the Sour Skittles, Mambas and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Sancks 2.0, get familiar.

Another Steve Jobs post?

Ha…I really don’t care. I should posted this up last week…I haven’t been posting much lately! So yeah, Apple announces 37 new ipods, discounts every Apple product by 87% and hints at a new ‘iHome’ that will be ‘...insanely great. The best home we’ve ever built with multi-touch, wifi, and the best iPod we’ve ever made…’ Ha, jokes, nerd jokes. But honestly…we’re all thinking there is just going to be a new Nano or whatever…and they refresh the entire line while adding a totally new iPod, touch, and knock $200 off the cost of the iPhone. The wifi store, the nutso Starbucks thing… Apple has just an amazing velocity right now…seriously. I’m very curious as to what happened in the past 18-24 months that made Apple literally just sky-rocket both in social cache as well as just the market share it has now. What 12-30 year old wants a PC over a Mac? Honestly? And then you’ve got the whole customer service thing they are doing…the fact that we get a $100 store credit for buying the iPhone when it first came out makes me love the brand even more. Maybe I’m getting sucked into their perfect marketing…but the letter I linked below is pretty wild - it was announced only 2 days after the keynote! Ha, come to think of it…what if all of this was planned? They knew the $100 discount would be given, etc. Ahhh…Apple, so clever. Long post about my favorite company.

YES! New Saab Turbo X coming out in 2008!

Yeah…I love Saabs. I drive an Aero 9-5 right now, the just-previous body style with the proper lower front end, boxed-out hood, etc…all the Saab elements I love…almost all. It’s not as loud as the old school ‘hair-dyer-turbos’ from the 80s, but its still quite Saabish. So yeah, check the link below to one of my favorite auto blogs, Jalopnik.com – they got a little teaser on it. That picture looks NUTS. I hope they really bring back that old feel. I believe it gets announced tomorrow at the Frankfurt Auto Show…so stay tuned to Jalopnik.com for updates. Or here if I feel like its worth posting about again. ***Remember the Saabs in Dame Dash’s ‘Paid In Full’? Ha…

More Documentaries, Please!!

Man, this is must-see-tv. Just released at Collette I believe is this Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton documentary. All behind the scenes footage of him juggling Louis Vuitton and the Marc Jacobs legion of clothing lines. This is what we need more of. Too much of the design world is so secret. I can’t help but think how inspirational this will be. There’s always that possibility it could ruin everything too. Part of what makes this designers & brands seem so un-attainable is because you have no clue what they really do. That’s probably why these aren’t so common place. Hmm…as with everything in Collette, now I gotta figure out how to get this in my hands ASAP. I am looking forward to “ Electrorama” too.

Porsche Cayman S, Porsche Design Edition 1!

I love how its confusing like: “Porsche Cayman S in a design collaboration with Porsche Design in its first edition.” Ha…either way, this a beautiful car. I’ve been poking around looking at the whole Porsche brand quite a bit more lately. Its really, I guess for me, one of the last true sports car manufactures. They seem so uncompromising compared with other brands. Not to say they aren’t making SUVs (and hybrids now too of course) but they just seem to stick their values more than what I’m seeing with Benz, BMW, AUDI, etc. All those brands are doing crazy, crazy, face-lifts to their models…I wonder if they’ll loose their brand recognition over time because of it? Especially BMW and Benz. Anyway…this Porsche is just stunning. The whole black paint with the tone-on-tone (or is that matte?!) racing strip setup down the middle. DO WANT. Only 777 of this model are being made. Yeah, I took a Cayman S out the other day…yeah, yep…yeah. I want one. ***Speaking of things that are, at the end of the day, a waste of money…check this blog out. Thanks to JS for the link.

Alife’s new shop in LA!

Yikes…I hope you didn’t just put the finishing touches on what you think is the ‘coolest streetwear store design ever’…because Alife’s new spot is sure to be about 5x better. Ouch, ha. Alife is such a wild brand to me…they keep such a constant path with their design/branding, amazing retail spaces, and overall attention to detail. And they’re a really ‘quiet’ brand too. I always feel like its just them chilling while every other streetwear brand is like screaming for your attention. I dig that, it works so well. So yeah, via SlamXHype, check the pictures of the new shop…really, really brilliant. Really. Love the concept. Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing Alife. What’s up Rob.

New Grand Rapids Art Museum!!

Hey…where have I been? No posts in like a week? Ever since the iPhone came out I can’t do my little ‘OMG check out this new phone that has a keyboard!!’ posts you know? I feel like that really limits me you know? Ha. Long intro…for something we here in Grand Rapids have waited a long time for: The new GRAM, Grand Rapids Art Museum. I’m quite a fan of my little-big-city so seeing something as beautiful as this literally smack in the middle of my downtown is an amazing thing. I’ve been a downtown resident for about 5 years now…and man has the landscape changed. I could have never imagined such a beautiful multi-multi-million dollar structure like this downtown. So awesome. It’s also, FYI, the first LEED certified museum in the world if I’m not mistaken – keeping it real green! As for the art? Not too much is being said about what pieces will be there…but I have heard we acquired a rare Rembrandt print, they already hung a huge, huge Ellsworth Kelly piece, and I assume we’ll have a couple Calder pieces in there as well mixed with who knows what else. It opens September 29th. ***To the writers of the Grand Rapids Press who criticized that Ellsworth Kelly piece for not being ‘art’…that’s the type of attitude that keeps West Michigan tied to the stigma of strictly blue-collar manufacturing work and being stuck in the past. Find something productive to write about or move to another city.

The new word art: Who does this!?!

I came across these images yesterday on a totally random ‘funny picture’ internet site kind of thing…unfortunately the site focuses on things that are just cool looking with no focus on who created it. I sent it to Ben and Virgil and they were both equally pretty blown away by these drawings. So - can anybody reading this put us on to the person who creates this super cool “word art”!? As Ben put it in his email to me…“Someone post this up and be like ‘WHO IS THIS?!?!’ I just see a huge amount of merit in these, more than just fun internet doodles. So many interesting ways that this kind of work could be expanded upon - that is unless someone out there has a portfolio full of this stuff already (wink wink - hello@thebrilliance.com)

Who stole my visa? Genius!!!

Glad to see M.I.A. is fairly high on the iTunes sales chart. I not gonna lie, I downloaded it too, but I am for sure buying a retail copy because I am in to her artwork and am looking forward to how she handled that. One of the many highlights on the album is the verse from Afrikan Boy. Any African descent kid like me loves the accent and the wittiness this kid has is outright entertaining. The track “Lidl” is foolishly fresh. Having been to Lidl myself the idea of stealing from there is ridiculous. It is the US equivalent of Aldi. Do they have Aldi’s outside the Midwest? Listen to M.I.A. breakdown how their relationship came about…