• Brilliant Bicycle Company

    Miscellany  

    “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”
    —H.G. Wells

    The Theory of Relativity was born on one.
    As a boy, John Lennon slept in his bed with one.
    Helen Keller rode one…tandem.
    At 67, Leo Tolstoy learned to ride one.
    New York is magical on one.

    The bicycle may be the pinnacle of human genius as we know it. It’s unrivaled in its precision, balance, and convenience. Unlike prior inventions for the convenience of man, the more he used it, the fitter his body became. It was a thing of beauty then. Largely unchanged since 1910, it still is today.

    “Here, for once, was a product of man’s brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others."
    —Elizabeth West

    A seductive 90s steel frame Bianchi road bike hangs in my home office. Handsome Brooks England leather handlebar tape, saddle, toe straps, and saddle bag flatter the celeste frame. Exquisite ride. There’s only one problem. I can’t lock it up anywhere. The city would kidnap my baby in a heartbeat. And if not the entire bike, at least the Brooks saddle. I’ve been relegated to the subway for the better part of three years, blind to the winsome corners this city only shows those on two wheels. Brilliant Bicycle Company is seeking to change that.

    Brilliant simplified design, cut out the middleman, and is leveraging e-commerce. The result is a beautifully minimalist bicycle at half traditional retail prices, easily purchased online. Upon delivery (which is always free, by the way), I assembled my bike in 45 minutes. The instructions are incredibly easy to follow. In-home concierge service is available ($69) for those who’ve never assembled a piece of IKEA furniture.

    The most impressive feat Brilliant has pulled off? Insurance. Brilliant will replace your bike due to damage, theft, and asteroid collision. No questions asked—for only $9 a month! In New York, where bike theft is more common than Nuts 4 Nuts carts, this is the second coming of Christ. The Sistene Chapel. The seventh installment of Star Wars. It’s that good.

    The ride is sturdy, yet nimble. And good grief is it gorgeous. Largely devoid of logos and graphics, onlookers are left to marvel at the diamond frame in vibrant colors like Deforges Blue, Adachi Marsala, and Wells mint. How this has not been done before in this Internet day and age seems impossible. It seems, well, brilliant.

    Mar 16, 2015 | Permalink (0) Total Comments

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  • Castello Cavalcanti

    Culture  

    Outside of his beautifully melodramatic feature comedies, Wes Anderson has kept busy creating product commercials for companies for years. If you’re racking your brain to recall any spots besides his American Express spot (by far one of his best, as he also stars in it), that’s because many of them ran internationally. One of his best is Castello Cavalcanti, a short film for Prada set in 1955 Italy. While it’s “presented by Prada,” the short is every bit a Wes Anderson film. It's brilliant because it does what I believe marketing should do, serve as a subtle reminder—not an infomercial. We don’t necessarily want to know the 17 reasons to buy your product, just the world we’ll live in once we do.

    The only sight of Prada is its period appropriate logo emblazoned on the back of Cavalcanti’s yellow racing jumpsuit, serving as his team sponsor. This is art as much as it is ad. Craftship as much as commerce. Prada keenly understands one thing: a spoonful of auteur artistry helps the advertising go down. I’ll chase mine with a shot of the local hooch.

    Feb 20, 2015 | Permalink (0) Total Comments

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  • Let the Good Times Roll

    Music & Books  

    The first listen of JD McPherson's own brand of rockabilly is not all that different from rolling onto the tracks of an oncoming freight train and being T-boned for 36 minutes. That force...that crash…that wild attack. That’s McPherson's Let the Good Times Roll. The Oklahoman's sophomore effort is a raucous throwback rock that's fun, pure, and nostalgic of a time when life and television were black and white.

    I've been listening to a lot of blues lately: Muddy Waters, Darondo, Little Walter, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson...Gary Clark Jr., Benjamin Booker. JD McPherson’s sound is reminiscent of the earliest days of rock ’n’ roll, when blues and country were essential ingredients in its sound. He douses all 11 songs with plate reverb (a vintage effect which essentially turns everything into space music). But McPherson, like Jack White and The Black Keys before him, infuses a cocktail of subtle influences from punk rock to hip-hop.

    "Bossy," "Shy Boy," and "Head Over Heels" will have you turning it up to 11—their hooks, handclaps, and fuzz baritone guitar buzzing through your head and your hips. The entire album is a riot.

    Feb 18, 2015 | Permalink (0) Total Comments

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  • Winter 2015 Playlist

    Music & Books  


    Listen on Spotify

    Jan 26, 2015 | Permalink (0) Total Comments

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  • If the Hat Fits

    Style  

    Dressed up, my lazy brim fedoras looked really smart when we dropped by the Hell's Kitchen Flea earlier this month. They're warm and we like that. Winter is coming, after all (ok, it's already here). They hold up just as well in a simple tee. Here, in my local floral shop's own tee shirt, I'm wearing my rabbit hair wool felt in a camel hue with vintage notions. The pewter roadrunner pin (not seen here—sorry!) was procured from a Japanese gentleman at a flea market. It boasts a tiny touch of turquoise in the eye. I found it reminiscent of The Roadrunner and his uncanny ability to escape danger. Beep—beep!

    Dec 22, 2014 | Permalink (0) Total Comments

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