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...

Ffffound.com - a perfect site…

If ever I’ve come across a good resource for creativity on the internet, Ffffound would be it. A massive resource/archive/index for all things type, design, photography, art, and more…This site is most definitely going to cause you to waste away hours when you should be working or doing something constructive…but as an artist myself, I really believe that spending time digging into things like this is a form of subliminal work…just getting inspired and seeing what comes out of the minds of other creative people can be such a cool release and way to exercise your mind for future ideas. Anyways, check it out at the link below and enjoy.

Chambers Hotel in Minneapolis!

Haven’t done a hotel post in a while…matter of fact, I haven’t done a travel one in a while. Actually…I haven’t traveled myself in a while. Need to get on that. So yeah, the Chambers Hotel in Minneapolis is quite nice…and I’m kind of feeling bad that I’ve just now gotten hip to it. They call themselves a ‘luxury art’ hotel – and that appears to be a spot-on description…they’ve got some stunning artwork and the hotel itself is beautiful. Two things: (1) The rooms have high-ceilings. This is super important. A lot of these ‘cool-guy’ hotels are just refurbs of old, washed-up hotels (even motels) so they rarely have that loft feel to them…Chambers is in a renovated industrial building – all the benefits of a loft. Except they really polished it up – looks amazing in the pictures. (2) They have original art in the rooms. From what I’ve read Mr. Chambers himself has the second largest collection of art by the YBA (Young British Artists) movement – so the majority of the collection in hotel is just that. Good stuff. Haven’t checked this hotel out yet, as I haven’t been to Minneapolis in years, but I keep reading tid-bits about the whole city going thru a bit of a creative renaissance so I suppose its time to make that quick flight from Grand Rapids and check it out.

Can has new music!?!!1!

I kind of can’t believe it’s not technically summer yet. The weather would have you believe it’s been truly summer for weeks now. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying. Anyways, of course with the arrival of summer comes the need for new tracks, new music, and lots of new albums. I have to start off by giving the new White Stripes album huge respect. Very few bands in the last decade have released consistently good albums, singles, videos, and styles. The White Stripes have this beautiful inconsistency about them. They don’t put out an album so different that you wonder what happened to your beloved band…but they do just enough experimenting and Jack White writes incredibly progressive and thought-provoking lyrics…“Well, Americans, What, nothin’ better to do? Why don’t you kick yourself out? You’re an immigrant too. Who’s usin’ who? What should we do? Well you can’t be a pimp and a prostitute too.”
This new album “Icky Thump” has such a fun/dark vibe to it. “Conquest” might take a while to grow on you, but it does, oddly… Can’t pick out any one song at the moment I love the most, it’s an “entire-album” album. Check out the new issue of NYLON for a really good write-up too… Alright, quickly here…new Queens of the Stone Age. Love it…I might love the cover art even more (here). Both of these bands are so good yet so refreshingly simple. Good rock and roll. And there’s not much of that these days with all this Daughtry and Hinder going around. Yikes. New Pumpkins coming out in a few weeks. I’m a little skeptical. Interesting move getting Shepard Fairey to do the cover art though… Oh. Check out Gallows too… aaand… Ben and/or Virgil will probably do a follow-up post with another set of new music…always good to get summer suggestions. For example the link below.

I swear this is un-biased, Ha!!!

Taking Chucks que…on the hip-hop side of things the only thing remotely exciting is coming from Chicago, my good ole hometown. Never a city to demand attention, we are just into hitting all angles within Hip-Hop. I had dinner with Lupe the other day. He’s a couple songs into “The Cool” and ultra-excited for the possibly tricks up his sleeve because of the Halloween release date. And watch out…he traded his keyboard for some thread and a needle. In a few weeks we have Common’s album coming out. An undeniable Hip-Hop classic. The fact that its made in 2007 is even more amazing. You should already know I am into albums with singles like the one linked below…especially when explained like this…“Stronger” is also a fashion statement. It’s for people like us, who dress fresh and like to be fly…and if you don’t like the song, than more than likely you don’t know how to dress either. -‘Ye.

Missoni Home!!!

Fresh from New York/Tokyo and back in the pilot seat and on this lifestyle stuff. Man…Missoni is an acquired taste that is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Then I got hip to their home stuff and I am now officially hooked. Known for their wild style patterns and unique woven knits in fashion their home stuff follows the same aesthetic. Cool color combinations that can make the boringest of living rooms POP. Of course you could over do it but all it takes is one piece to set your interior decor off. Its all about the little details. Finally, no more jet lag…

Mercedes Benz + Apple?!

Yeah, not really liking the icon I put together for this – my bad, I’m not feeling well this AM. So yeah apparently some German magazine is reporting that starting 2009 Apple will be the on-board operating system provider – so navigation, maintenance, communications, etc. Yikes. It’s almost not that shocking in that its such a great fit…but its one of those things like ‘will it ever happen though?’ Apparently so. From the info I’ve stolen off TechCrunch (check link below) it looks like Benz will have exclusive rights to the system for 6 months (not that long?!) and then its fair game for other car makers. Man…Google Maps navigation that works perfectly – would love that. Now all Mercedes needs to do is step up their hybrid game…or knock-out an all electric E-class? Or start simple and give us more of those European diesel models.

Going to the movies…by yourself!

Ha…only on THE BRILLIANCE…random posts for real. So it was Monday afternoon and I had a long weekend, not a lot of sleep, too many drinks, too much fun, etc. So I wanted to chill a bit, but if I watch a flick at home I instantly fall asleep, you know? Seriously…I can hardly watch TV without falling asleep. So I figured I’d catch a flick, without the crew, just myself. Never done that before. The results: I plan on doing it way more often. Yeah…I’m not too cool to say it didn’t feel a bit weird sitting there by myself as all the mall-rat type dudes in puffy-ass skate shoes came in with their like-minded significant others and acted all loud in the theatre…but man, I got a bit more immersed in the movie than I usually do. Didn’t have anyone to turn next to like ‘yo, Brad Pitt always has huge collars on his shirts!’…just enjoyed the movie without distractions. I didn’t even bring my Blackberry! So yeah, if you haven’t before…go catch a movie by yourself. And the feature I saw was Ocean’s Thirteen – loved it…ch-ch-ch-check the reviews at the site below (ha, you know the deal).

Design*Sponge!!!!!

Yeah that’s right, five exclamation points. How have I gone so long without diving headfirst into the incredible resource, archive, and timewaster that is Design Sponge?! Seriously!? I’m sure I’m late on this anyways, but yeah, it’s just really an amazing site. DesignSponge is a site dedicated to home and product design run by Brooklyn-based writer Grace Bonney. I would try to compile a list of the beautiful, simple, and great things I have found so far just in the first 4 months worth of archives I have looked through, but honest to God, there is just too much to bother making a list. Often times, sites like this are filled with hit-or-miss stuff. And while there are a couple things here and there that don’t really cater to my personal tastes, on a whole it is complete quality. I am going to get myself in trouble with this site by not getting enough work done. It doesn’t help that I’ll be moving soon and have a lot of homegoods and things I’ll be buying, or at least the soon-to-be wife will be wanting to buy. That’s weird to say. But anyways, huge respect to Grace for what she does with this site and her really, really great taste.

Riding bikes…

So I grew up around bikes…my father worked at bike shops and rode every kind of bike you can imagine – road sport, mountain, unicycle, race tandems, etc – so I was always around it, hanging at bike shops, doing the BMX thing, freestyle thing (I had the lime green Predator with the white mags), Mountain bike thing huge throughout high school even when I was skateboarding like 4-5 hours a day, etc. Then I started ‘never not working’ and I stopped almost everything except getting out on my skateboard every so often…kind of sad. I’m happy to say that about a week or two ago I switched it up!! I started researching this whole track bike thing last year…straight up fixed gear, no brakes, intense zen biking. Researched a bike I thought I’d dig…and went for it. After about 4 weeks of hustling trying to find a dealer here in the Midwest who didn’t think I was goofy for wanting a track bike for the road…I convinced my father to drive all the way from Chicago to Indianapolis to pick up my new Bianchi Pista Concept – then drive it all the way up here to Grand Rapids…thanks dad! I can honestly say after riding every day (except one rain out) for the past week or two that its one of the better investments I’ve made. I am totally hooked on the whole concept. Maybe one of the more ‘visceral’ ways to ride a bike? I love it…I even raced in the downtown Grand Rapids Alley Cat (whats up Neil) after riding fixed for only about 3-4 days – sorry, I’m kind of proud of that. So yeah…I love it, I’m hooked, and I’m already worried about what the hell I’m going to do when it snows. Is it hipster? Sure a bit…but its also amazingly fun in a perfect sized city like Grand Rapids – yes, we have big hills. Check pictures from our local race scene at the link below…

Nathan Sawaya the Lego Magician!!

Love this…love it. Something tells me about 90% of our readers were heavy into Legos as kids. I think I made reference to it in a post before, but there is something about the ‘savvy-set’ and Legos that go hand in hand. So yeah, Nathan Sawaya who used to be a lawyer decided to quit that gig and build Legos for a living. Yes. Don’t ever tell me you can’t do what you’re passionate about for a living…honestly. He’s got the whole museum thing on lock, doing huge commissions for Fortune 500 companies, one-offs, etc. His work isn’t just novel either – its really pretty intense stuff in some case. In the image I posted this with: the ‘self-made-man’ – you have to love that. I’ll do a follow-up on this post when I get the slightly-larger-than-life Veuve Clicquot that I just commissioned Nathan to do – yeah, that’s going to look CRAZY in my kitchen!