Showing 15 posts tagged Society

Read me your erotica

Sex. Just the word, one word, can physically alter a state. Eyes squint, tongues moisten, lips swell, and skin trembles.

And that’s just one word to describe the act that’s on our minds several times a day (or all day). Imagine what pages of words can do. Pages and pages. All describing, outlining, drawing, and mapping desire, lust, and love.

Books like 50 Shades of Grey may have brought erotica into the modern mainstream but the genre has been turning people on since the reign of the Greek gods. Sappho, a poet in the 500s BC, wrote lyrical lines of lesbianism and Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland, published in 1748, was the first pornography written as a novel.

Here’s some more erotic books all libidinous souls should have under their belts:

1. Delta of Venus by Anais Nin

“When she closed her eyes she felt he had many hands, which touched her everywhere, and many mouths, which passed so swiftly over her, and with a wolflike sharpness, his teeth sank into her fleshiest parts. Naked now, he lay his full length over her. She enjoyed his weight on her, enjoyed being crushed under his body. She wanted him soldered to her, from mouth to feet. Shivers passed through her body.”

2. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty trilogy by A. N. Roquelaure (aka Anne Rice – yes, that one)

“Just the two of us in my bedchamber, where I should envelop her naked soul in rituals and ordeals beyond our past experiences, our dreams. No one to save her from me. No one to save me from her.”

3. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

“Sex and a cocktail: they both lasted about as long, had the same effect, and amounted to the same thing.”

4. Belle de Jour: Diary of a London Call Girl by Brooke Magnanti

“Why fantasize about what you already experience? I go to the written word for places and faces that I don’t get at home. Hot people in hot climates. Sex acts I can hardly imagine. Porn is about the unachievable … and, therefore, the inherently desirable.”

5. Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane DiPrima

“There are as many kinds of kisses as there are people on the earth, as there are permutations and combinations of those people.”

Forget your discrete eReaders, we dare you to read these in paperback form. And even better, find someone to read them to.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

In conversation with James Franco

In case you didn’t know, James Franco’s been in and out of Vancouver over the past few weeks filming the latest Seth Rogen picture, The Interview. He’s an actor, author, scholar, director, producer, screenwriter, art curator, musician, teacher, artist – have I forgotten anything? If you happen to find yourself on a bar stool next to the guy, who can pretty much do anything, here are some conversation points:

1. The book on his bedside. The man reads. And is often snapped with a book firmly clasped in his hand. Franco recently adapted William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and also portrayed Allen Ginsberg in Howl.

2. Cats. He’s into them. So much so, that during a recent interview with Ellen Degeneres, she presented Franco with a calendar featuring his head on various bodies posing with cats.

3. Writing techniques. Franco recently published his first novel, Actors Anonymous. He’s also penned a book of short stories, Palo Alto, and frequently scrawls for such publications as Huffington Post and VICE.

4. Rapping. For his epic role as Alien in Spring Breakers, Franco studied rapper Dangeruss. They performed together on stage for the film and Franco later produced a music video for the local rapper.

5. Diverting paparazzi. He staged a series of “scandalous” scenes to bait the gossip sites into thinking they were real. Hook. Line. Sinker.

6. The evolution of the selfie and its recent declaration of Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionary. Franco’s Instagram is littered with these camera close-ups.

7. Sleep. Does he have time to do it?

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Telling tales in Vancouver

We see a lot of stories coming through OPUS Hotel. Everybody who stays here has a story. Some of them even tell stories for a living. There is so much we can learn from another’s experiences. But if you’re not one to ask a stranger to tell their tale, find yourself at one of these Vancouver storytelling events:

PechaKucha: 20 slides at 20 seconds each add up to six minutes and forty seconds per speaker at this series that is held in 447 cities around the world. Presenters have included Danielle La Porte, Mark Brand, Devon Brooks, and OPUS’ own John Evans.

Creative Mornings: Once a month, in the early hours of a Friday, a small group gather to listen to one person’s idea of creativity. The room is small enough to encourage questions and interaction, while inspiration bounces off the walls.

Rain City Chronicles: This evening of music and talking allows anyone to get on stage to tell their story. From the guy who pours your beer to the voice you hear on the radio. This night is about bringing a community together.

Monday Night Live: On a regular basis, East of Main Café, a huge supporter of Project Limelight, opens its doors for storytelling. Actors, directors, writers, and other members of Vancouver’s film community are given seven minutes to tell a true tale on a provided topic.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Spellbound by sentence

She is one of Canada’s most treasured gems. Literary empress, Margaret Atwood has been wooing the world with words since The Handmaid’s Tale was awarded several times over and recognized globally as a notable science fiction novel in 1985.

Her storytelling is daring. It provokes lumps to form in throats and tongues to lick lips. She caresses words, cajoling them into bold statements and poetic sentences.

Here are a few quotes that seem to make time stop in its tracks…

“I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary.”

“Romance takes place in the middle distance. Romance is looking in at yourself through a window clouded with dew. Romance means leaving things out: where life grunts and shuffles, romance only sighs.”

“Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.”

“The best way of keeping a secret is to pretend there isn’t one.”

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”

“You can think clearly only with your clothes on.”

Atwood’s latest book, MaddAddam, was released this year.

~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Ghosts from Paris

Long before Helmut Newton shocked eyes with his salacious images of women in various states of undress and compromise, Brassaï, a Hungarian photographer, captured the inner workings of Paris in the 1920s and 30s. Often seductive, sometimes raw, frequently haunting. He used photography “in order to capture the beauty of streets and gardens in the rain and fog, and to capture Paris by night.”

~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

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…

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…


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…

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…

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Glamour is back

We love old Hollywood glamour. Those days when women spent hours on their hair and makeup, and always left the house looking like a lady. They were femme fatales, mysterious and coy, and wore their sultry curves with pride. Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Bette Davis, and Ingrid Bergman defined that era of strong women with their attention to detail and confident appearance.

Who wouldn’t want to channel their bewitching energy for a night?

Set your calendars for July 19th or 20th to revive the look of those alluring ladies with a vintage hair do. On both Friday and Saturday nights, Rock, Paper, Scissors, a pop-up hair salon, will have a booth at the Vancouver Chinatown Night Market, where stylist Michelle Grimm, a New York native who has worked with the likes of Marc Jacobs and Balenciaga, can add some glamour to your life.

Think Betty Boop, Dita von Teese, Marilyn Monroe, or Rita Hayworth as you let her set your hair into bouncing curls and shiny waves. Dress the part in a vintage frock, draw on liquid liner, paint on red lips, and order yourself a classic cocktail at The Keefer Bar.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Andy Warhol created fame. He manifested celebrity. He defined the term icon. And he gave pop art an eternal life. With leaping colours and swirling pop culture themes splattered on his striking images, and a blazing social life that would make any other human being collapse, it’s no wonder we love him here at OPUS.

Let us count the ways…

1. Long before OutKast told us to shake them, Warhol made Polaroid cool and covetable with a series of celebrity candids

 “I have Social Disease. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumours to my dogs.”

2. He was the original Facebook. He documented his life and the people around him with more hunger and vitality than most of us do on social media today.

“A picture means I know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.”

3. Everyday household objects became works of art when looked at through his eyes. He brought Campbell’s soup cans and Coca Cola bottles to life, while simultaneously boosting the brands’ sales. He taught us to appreciate the “ordinary”.  

“I like boring things.”

4. First rule of icon: Be yourself. Warhol was always open about his sexuality, desires, and personal life by expressing each facet through his art. Then again, he was also the master of warping perceptions. What was actually real and what was fantasy?

“I don’t know where the artificial stops and the real starts.”

5. He didn’t care about the critics. Warhol never stopped creating art.  

“Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.”

~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Giving in to Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald has never been more alive. The author, like many artists, is more prolific after death than whilst he inhaled the Parisian air into his gin and jazz riddled head. This May he has successfully infected the world with Gatsby fever as the much awaited Baz Luhrmann adaptation of The Great Gatsby is released.

The lyrical story whisks readers into a dance with decadence, excess, luxury, romance, and tragedy. The themes spin us around, dip us to the floor, and step on our toes.

Initially published in 1925, the book was, quite frankly, a failure, and didn’t receive the accolades it deserved until decades later. Deemed the “Great American Novel” and the second best English language novel in the 20th century, the book’s popularity has likely surpassed Fitzgerald’s own champagne-sparkled dreams.

If you haven’t read the novel yet, get your hands on a copy before you see the colourful adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio. His portrayal of Luhrmann’s Romeo stuck with us for years – we can only imagine what he will do with Jay Gatsby.

To accompany your film craze, here are some of our favourite Gatsby-isms. Try to contain your goosebumps.

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


“And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


“I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


The original Gatsby manuscript.

“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


“His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider