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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

The Punk Aesthetic

Whether or not you listen to The Clash, Ramones, or Bad Religion, followed Sid Vicious, and dream of long gone, hot-blooded nights at CBGB in New York, the punk scene has influenced your fashion choices.

Rows of studs, worn-out leather, haphazard safety pins, scuffed work boots, ripped t-shirts, tattered peacoats, and body piercings are all elements of the often-thought nefarious movement. And it’s almost guaranteed that your closet holds bold details from the milieu.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual extravagant celebration honoured the aesthetic this year with its PUNK: Chaos to Culture exhibit running from May 9 to August 14, 2013. It was an opulent affair for a cultural era that favoured anarchy and opposed the brazenly affluent - a dichotomy if there ever was one.

At the gala benefit, co-chaired by Rooney Mara, Lauren Santo Domingo, Riccardo Tisci, and Anna Wintour, punk-inspired designs by Givenchy, Giles Deacon, Vivienne Westwood, Burberry Prorsum, Gucci, and Marc Jacobs ascended the grand, crimson staircase.

Above: Christina Ricci in Vivienne Westwood Couture; Madonna in Givenchy; Sienna Miller in Burberry Prorsum; Sarah Jessica Parker in Giles Deacon.

The exhibit is an excuse to pause and appreciate one of the greatest examples of culture influencing fashion.

Rodarte, Versace, Spiked cuffs.

Kate Moss for Vivienne Westwood, Vivienne Westwood, Vogue Paris.

Balenciaga, The Clash, Balmain.

Alexander McQueen, Sex Pistols, Versace.

~ Sandra O’Connell

Big hearts at the CampOUT gala

Beauty is not only found in art, fashion, nature and faces, and it’s not about facades, textures, and surfaces. Beauty lives inside people, exposed by a simple action or expression of love. And nothing is more beautiful than the act of giving.

Last week, inside the airy downtown residence of John Evans, co-owner of OPUS Hotel, dozens gathered to raise funds for CampOUT, a summer program supported by UBC that encourages queer, trans and allied youth to be themselves, develop leadership skills, build self-esteem, and embrace diversity.

With the walls bulging from our expanded hearts, we listened to the sincere words of John Evans, Louise Cowan, VP Student Services UBC, Fred Lee, Reiko Mackenzie, and Kasondra Cohen-Herrendorf and John James Wilson, representing Face of Today. Everyone expressed what the charity means to them, stressing the importance of the program and touching our hearts with warmth.

While nibbling on savoury treats from C Restaurant and drinking wine provided by Sandra Oldfield of Tinhorn Wineries, the crowd showed their generosity by sponsoring multiple campers and bidding on an enticing array of silent auction items. As the moon shone and the sun set, and the sweeping view became more radiant, people exchanged stories and memories of camp and acknowledged their proud association with the cause.

When the evening ended, everyone left with the captivating look of inspiration in their eyes.

Find out more about CampOUT.

Images by Joshua McVeity

~ Sandra O’Connell  

A Lesson in Seduction

Seduction is a science. It’s a formula comprised of calculated and sometimes volatile elements. Biology, chemistry, geometry and psychology intertwine like pairs of long legs wrapped in white sheets. It’s also an art form – a colour-soaked brush caressing objects of desire and an improvised dance choreographed by lust.

Some of us have mastered these skills, fallen prey to them, or aspire to be one of the great seducers of time. Whichever category you fall into, it’s in your best interest to be familiar with the ways of enchantment so you can recognize it or play along with it.

Meet a few seducers from history… and then practice your art in OPUS Bar.

There’s no denying that the luminous Marilyn Monroe had the ability to twirl men around her fingertips with one demure look. She was unquestionably a beautiful woman, but the heart of her seduction lay in her playful attitude towards flirtation and sex. She exuded both in her calculated walk that vibrated across a room and sultry voice that could tickle ears like a feather. Her charming light and energy attracted troops of men, both single and married, and her effervescence lingers on even after death.

“Sex is a part of nature. I go along with nature.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

Cleopatra’s secret was her power to dazzle men with grand spectacles and theatrical feats. She fed Julius Caesar and Mark Antony with exotic sights, spellbinding them into enchantment. Upon her first meeting with Caesar, she transfixed him with the art of surprise – she presented herself in his chambers rolled up in an opulent carpet on the shoulders of a merchant. Once her targeted men were sufficiently mesmerized, she would feign disinterest only to make them more persistent.

The romantic allure of Casanova reverberated around Europe in the 1700s. He wooed dissatisfied women by whispering sweet words they had never heard before. The seducer snuck in windows, hid in closets, and ran from angry husbands and fathers all in the name of what his victims would call love, but what he merely called lust. He was irresistible simply because he provided a woman with something she subconsciously felt was missing in her life.

And then there’s Jack Nicholson, a man with six children from five different women. If it weren’t for his dark sunglasses, the mischievous sparkle in his eyes could impregnate women with just one glance. Even Jennifer Lawrence fell under the 71 year old’s spell backstage at this year’s Oscars (watch the video).

“I only take Viagra when I’m with more than one woman.” ~ Jack Nicholson

~ Sandra O’Connell

Art at OPUS Hotel

Upon the vivacious walls of our OPUS rooms hang a collection of artwork that have as much personality as our lifestyle muses. They make one stop to stare, provoke an emotion, and reflect the creativity we so adamantly encourage. OPUS is proud to have these prolific Vancouver artists featured in our rooms.

Every generation has its pop icons and we all have nostalgic references that awaken memories so vivid they may still live. Michael Miller’s youth spent absorbed in video games is evident in his ‘The Nintendo Generation’ series, which depicts characters of that era in all their animated glory.

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Tiko Kerr’s vibrant colours and electric, yet somewhat contorted images were created as a reaction to government cuts to the arts. The luminous cityscape paintings from his Lush Life series are a peephole into his immense imagination and creative breadth. image

At first glance, one may be offended by the guns used as imagery in Mark Mizgala’s art, but if you stand still and stare a little bit longer, it’s apparent that the guns are, in fact, broken water pistols. The iconographic paintings appear ironic and childlike, yet portray another message under the surface layers of perception for each individual viewer to decipher.

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With his series of urban shopping carts, Taizo Yamamoto forces us to acknowledge an often ignored object present in all cities. The images are a study in street anthropology, portraying homes and possessions packed into metal cages on wheels.

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Alana Rothstein’s pulsating images of sensual colours and provocative scenes are a glimpse into another person’s life. Her art is an expression of a memorable moment in time captured in its most brilliant light. We are honoured to have her contribute to our ART + IDENTITY + TRAVEL package.

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- Sandra O’Connell

Films in a Fashionable Era

Films profiling fashion houses have become as common place as music videos. While it’s unlikely that video will kill the runway star, fashion brands are adding film to their marketing repertoire to creatively define their collections and reach mass audiences.

Here are some of our favourites, both new and old, at OPUS.

Dsquared2 – Fall/Winter 2012

Video is featured above

Class is in session. If only all substitute teachers were as sassy and cheeky as the twins of Dsquared2. Today’s lecture includes catwalk theory, lessons in the bejeweled, and hedonistic studies.

Kenzo – Resort 2013

Watch the video.

A cacophony of electric neon and 3D prints, the new Kenzo film directed by Mat Maitland features a jungle that would camouflage only the most eclectic.

Maiyet – Resort 2013

Watch the video

Perhaps drawing on Out of Africa, Maiyet and director Cary Fukunaga painted an ethereal landscape of East Africa from the perspective of two lovers.

Lanvin – Autumn/Winter 2011

Watch the video

Isn’t this how everyone prepares for a night out on the town? Lanvin created a dance party of epic fashionable proportions. The message: You’re never too stylish to let loose.

McQ Alexander McQueen – Autumn/Winter 2013

Watch the video

All senses are on alert while viewing the raw, sensuality of McQ’s latest film. Directed by Roger Deckker, the video pulls viewers into a beautiful chaos.

Chanel – Remember Now – Cruise 2011

Watch the video

Let’s all jaunt away to St. Tropez. Karl Lagerfeld’s French world is one of opulence, indulgence and beauty. In this film, an older man has the charm to seduce a young woman amongst the prettiest of French men. This artistic sixteen minute video is more short film than commercial.

- Sandra O’Connell

What we’re drinking at OPUS

On a rainy Vancouver day, I found myself not puddle jumping, but instead evoking the warm Italian air at OPUS Bar.

Jay Paré, the new General Manager of La Pentola and OPUS Bar, has named April as the month of the Negroni. The classic beverage, conceived in Florence in 1919, transports sippers to the shores of the Italian coast with just one taste.

Forget April showers. Imagine lounging on the deck of a yacht, the heat of the Mediterranean sun on your back, and a paramour chilling your skin by dragging an icy glass of Negroni against your burning neck. Do you have shivers?

The bitter-sweet Campari and orange zest, stirred with barrel-aged Victoria gin and Cinzano Rosso create a rich and vivacious cocktail, very near in colour to the Hermes-orange walls of our Pierre rooms.

Ask barman, Ben, to concoct a Negroni for you and see what Italian dreams crop up.

- Sandra O’Connell

Eternally Prince

Whether going by Prince, the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, or simply a seductively cryptic symbol, the musician’s name carries an opulent weight. The mere uttering of his title can chime off a series of arousing notes into the air. He’s an icon of several generations, his songs relevant to consecutive decades of ears. 

Prince’s music is attached such cataclysmic moments as a young Julia Roberts singing in a tub of decadent bubbles in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, while a young (yet still grey) Richard Gere looks on with amusement; 1999 when his eponymous song suddenly rose to popularity again 17 years after it was released; and that warning label every teenager tries to hide from their parents that states “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics”, which was birthed after the words in Darling Nikki made a certain politician with children squirm.

The legendary musician just finished a Vancouver tour where he turned crowds delirious at The Vogue Theatre for a staggering four shows.

If you missed it… or just can’t get enough Prince… here are some of our favourite Prince numbers…

Purple Rain

In some (most) situations, this tune is an unspoken cue to take off your clothes.

View video here

Sexy M.F.

Not only does the video give us a satirical glimpse to 1992, but the song has the power to turn any situation into a dance floor.

View video here

American Woman

Rock and pop icons, Lenny Kravitz and Prince, merge to curl the toes of an anonymous American Woman at Rave Un2 the Year 2000.

View video here

- Sandra O’Connell