The Best of Vancouver Summer 2013

This summer (please, tell us it’s not over yet!) has been stuffed with a filling rich in experience, music, and inspiration. Not only that, but Vancouver skies broke records with its consecutive days of sun exposure. No wonder there are so many smiles spreading across town.

Over those sunny days and nights, we held an Instagram contest, #YVRLovin to award those who captured beautiful Vancouver. Judged by photographer Clayton Perry, the above six photos were selected as winners.

Here are a few of our favourite memories from the past few months:

Chinatown Night Market: This year the market stepped up their game with the help of Bao Bei’s Tannis  Ling and pop-up expert Ken Tsui. We played ping pong, sang at Hip Hop Karaoke, and battled at Street Fighter. We bet you’re already practicing your hip hop beats for next year’s show, aren’t you?

Squamish Valley Music Festival: If you can’t make it to Coachella, don’t fret. This 3-day music festival less than an hour out of town draws the most hypnotic of tunes. Vampire Weekend, Band of Horses, Queens of the Stone Age, and Dragonette were just a handful of the talent that trekked onto the stages. We can’t wait to hear what next year will bring.

Grand Hotel Exhibit: Clearly, we’re into hotels, and this exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery pays homage to that international beacon of history, culture and hospitality. If you haven’t yet seen it, get in before September 15th.

Deighton Cup: The excitement of the horse track can be experienced most weekends, but the Ascot-esque finery and elegance that goes along with the races can only be taken in one weekend each summer when the Deighton Cup occurs.

Pride Weekend: While Pride is celebrated year-round in Vancouver, the community rallies together over the August Long Weekend to produce one grand expression of diversity, acceptance, and love. Dance parties, street parties, and boat parties buffered the colourful parade that guests from all around the world fly in to attend.

What are your favourite memories from Vancouver’s summer?

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

#YVRLovin winners (left to right, top to bottom): @TheFalconer; @viviahsu; @youyesyou; @ephekz; @mike_was_here; @Bronwyn_00

Vancouver’s got blogs

There’s so much information zooming and zipping through the internet that it’s hard to know when and where we should reach out our hands (or click our finger to the mouse) to grasp onto a succulent piece of knowledge.

To assist you in your surfing, here are a few Vancouver-based bloggers we like to check in with:

Erin Ireland

Not only is she the founder of To Die For Banana Bread, a heavenly phenomenon that has swept across the city, Erin Ireland knows anything and everything with a culinary twist, including the best restaurants, cafes and bars in town.

Expect salivating upon clicking… itstodiefor.ca.

Bullet with Butterfly Wings

A beautiful and whimsical collection of décor, fashion, and lifestyle treasures are housed within the pages of Kate Horsman’s Bullet with Butterfly Wings.

Your eyes will light up… bulletwithbutterflywings.ca

Booooooom

When we need a little (or a lot) of creative inspiration, we open up Booooooom, curated and designed by Jeff Hamada, for an onslaught of music, film, photography and all things artful.

There’s no telling what you’ll create after a visit here… booooooom.com

Look for the Girl

Magical words of poetry, whispers of literature, and provocative images are captured at Look for the Girl – dedicated to the dreamers, lovers, and the mysterious woman behind the site.

Cue heart swoons and language lust… lookforthegirl.com

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Creative Wine Bottles

With so many wines lining cellars, shelves, and coolers, our eyes are drawn to those labels that capture attention and cause us to pause in our perusing. Wineries are becoming quite cunningly artistic when it comes to marketing their reds, whites, rosés, and bubbles.

Which are your favourite wine labels?

From left to right, top to bottom:

Lascala (via Lovely Package), Botanica (via Simon Frouws), Matsu (via Lost at E Minor), Elk and Wolf Chardonnay (via Coolist), Jolie-Laide (via Dr Vino), Killibinbin (via Under Consideration), Skulls (via Eat Magazine), Return of the Living Red (via Coolist), Vitis Vinifera (via Trend Hunter

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Miami Fever

The pulse in Miami beats to a Latin rhythm that’s harmonious with chic hedonism, while the city’s palm trees sway with the spicy creativity of music and art. Life is heated, hot, and glistening in this vivacious part of Florida.

We’ve picked a few of our favourite things in the city…

STAY:

SLS Hotel South Beach

A whimsical experience that will open up your curious eyes to details you never dreamed of.

EAT:

Cecconi’s Miami Beach

An effervescent Venetian dining experience.  

DO:

Wynwood: Treat your creative longings to urban art. The area is also home to over 50 galleries and several cafes and restaurants.

South Beach: Watch the scene pass you by before stepping into the self-indulgence yourself.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

90s Replayed

The 90s may have occurred forever and a day ago, but the fashions from that decade doused in hip hop and grunge are still repeating themselves today. Neon reminiscent of the Fly Girls and plaid once reserved for Seattle bands have been rejuvenated for 2013. Time to dig deep in your closets and watch old episodes of My So-Called Life, In Living Color, and Beverly Hills, 90210 for inspiration.

~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Lip Service

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the mouth and lips are frequently featured in art and photography. They are vessels of words, expressions of love, and sensual icons. These are our favourite mouths creatively captured.

From left to right, top to bottom: Matthew Cusick; unknown; Irving Penn; Irving Penn; Tyler Shields; The Rolling Stones; Hugo Barros.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Live Music Series at OPUS Bar

Over the next few weeks you may hear melodic tunes escaping from the windows and doors of OPUS Bar. We’re excited to announce a new live music series that will be taking over our space on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

Bring your friends and socialize to the beat of these talented musicians.

Our schedule includes…

Thursday, August 8, 7pm – 10pm: TÉA
Friday, August 9: Private event.
Saturday, August 10, 8:30pm – 11:30pm: Andrew Mockler
Thursday, August 15, 7pm – 10pm: Martin Acosta Duo
Friday, August 16, 8:30pm – 11:30pm: Mark Fossen
Saturday, August 17, 8:30pm – 11:30pm: Greg Neufeld
Thursday, August 22, 7pm – 10pm: Ali Milner
Friday, August 23, 8:30pm – 11:30pm: Tonye Aganaba
Saturday, August 24: No music tonight.
Thursday, August 29, 7pm – 10pm: Martin Acosta
Friday, August 30, 8:30pm – 11:30pm: Kristopher James
Saturday, August 31, 8:30pm – 10:30pm: Neal Ryan

All musicians presented by Musos Entertainment

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Images from left to right, top to bottom: Téa, Andrew Mockler, Colin Bullock, Ali Milner, Martin Acosta, Jon Shrier.

Vancouver Pride Weekend!

As a devoted supporter of the LGBTQ community, OPUS Hotel couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming Pride festivities in Vancouver. For one weekend each year, people from around the world come to our city to celebrate at a variety of colourful parties that culminate in one of the largest parades in the world.

Here are a few events to catch over this long weekend that marks the 35th anniversary of the Vancouver Pride Parade…

Friday, August 2nd

Davie Street Party: From Broughton to Burrard Streets, cars are barricaded and pedestrians are given free rein to dance, cavort, and revel in their uniqueness.

Saturday, August 3rd

Vancouver Dyke March & Festival: The 10 year anniversary begins at noon at McSpadden Park, followed by the festival at Grandview Park at 1pm.

Sunday, August 4th

The Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival kicks off at noon. Follow the winding parade as it marches from Robson to Denman to Pacific.

OPUS Bar will be hosting a live music night with Ali Milner and DJ George V from 7:30pm to 10:30pm.

Wrap yourself in colour, douse your body in glitter, and dance away the weekend celebrating diversity.

Find more events at www.vancouverpride.ca and www.mydavievillage.com.

Images via The Vancouver Sun.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Artist Spotlight: Robert Longo

The best and most prolific artists cause onlookers to pause. To stop and stare and let a barrage of feeling, resonance, and thought invisibly whip their beings. One of these artists is New Yorker Robert Longo. His eye has created waves, moons, sharks, forests, people and a deluge of other images - always in black and white. “Maybe I work in black and white because I think it’s the truth,” he professed in a recent film made for NOWNESS.

All images from RobertLongo.com

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Best pools for a dip

Pools have long been a draw for summer travelers. Sizzling sun. Bare bodies. The coconut scent of sunscreen hanging in the air. Local surroundings are neglected when there’s a pool to dip in and recline beside. The whole scene sends bathers into a hazy, dazy state where time stands still and days slowly extend into nights.

Where is your favourite hotel pool?

(From top to bottom, left to right)

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (Black lava bathing)

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, France (French Mediterranean views from the lap of luxury)

Hotel Roosevelt, Los Angeles (Pool-side dancing is encouraged)

One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives (Tranquility in a sea of blue)

San Alfonso del Mar, Algarrobo, Chile (The world’s largest and deepest pool)

Ubud Hanging Gardens, Bali (Each room has a private pool)

Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy (Where Greta Garbo found seclusion with a lover)

Villa d’Este, Lake Como, Italy (Both you and the pool float on the waters of lake)

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider