"About a decade ago, a friend pulled three antique bikes out of the trash, then proceeded to make $300 from me," says Stans, who took the clunkers and refurbished them to pristine condition. Out of that grew his company, Luxury Lowriders, and a new career. Stans still restores antique bikes -- that's his bread and butter, he says -- but his real passion is creating custom hot rods. He starts with Schwinns -- "They have the most structural integrity," he says -- and then twists, stretches and contorts them into works of art. Each piece goes for at least $1,000, but they're completely street-legal, and some even come with disc brakes and other modern amenities.
Stans splits his time between his home state of Florida and Denver and Breckenridge, where he boards, but he's hoping to be more Mile High-centric in the future. No matter where he is, though, Stans is always looking to his environment for inspiration. Stop by Double Daughter's, 1632 Market Street, until November 30 to check out his tricked-out bikes, or chat with him about your personal vision at the closing reception on November 25 at 5 p.m.
For more information, visit www.luxurylowrider.com or call 303-623-3505. -- Amy Haimerl
It makes sense that a recognized cowtown such as Denver should have a cow parade, so why in the world did it take so long to get here? Next July, the revered CowParade -- the public art exhibition of artified fiberglass bovines that got its start in Chicago in 1999 and quickly spread hither and thither around the globe -- is finally settling in this cowtown for a three-month stay. Artists and artist wannabes, take note: The cattle call for design proposals has been issued, and five proposals per artist will be accepted through December 30; if you make it, you'll get your life-sized cow on January 1 -- and $1,000. For details, call 303-377-9035 or go to www.denver.cowparade.com. --Susan Froyd
King for a Day
Find your inner child at the all-day Babar fest.
As you might recall, Babar, orphaned as a young pachyderm, fled to the city, where he was adopted by a well-to-do doyenne who clothed him in fine duds and taught him worldly things. He returned to his mammoth relations in a motor car, fell for and married cousin Celeste, who looked so fetching in her polka-dotted dress, and ruled over his fellow elephants with an even hand, er, trunk. Millions of children -- you, perhaps? -- have been lulled to sleep by this sophisticated mythology since Cecile and Jean de Brunhoff invented it 75 years ago as a bedtime story for their sons Mathieu and Laurent.
As an adult, the gifted older sibling, Laurent, continues the Babar saga in sequels that retain all the charm of the original, including the latest, Babar's World Tour. Meet de Brunhoff at a book signing tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Cherry Creek, 2955 East First Avenue (call 303-322-7727), or party with him tomorrow at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, where he'll stop in between 1 and 3 p.m. during a free, day-long Babar celebration that begins at 11 a.m. (Call 720-913-0048 for information.) -- Susan Froyd
First in Show
The galleries on Santa Fe start a new Denver art tradition.
Sometimes First Fridays can be too much of a good thing. "We're extremely successful on First Fridays," says Jack Pappalardo, president of the Art District on Santa Fe and owner of Habitat Gallery. "It's a great social occasion, it's a great sampler, it's just really happening. But some of our patrons on First Friday have mentioned that it's too crowded for them to take their time and look at the artwork."
Enter the district's first multi-gallery opening. Tonight, the 25 member galleries between Fifth and Tenth avenues on Santa Fe Drive host All Together Now, giving patrons an opportunity to browse at their leisure, minus the wall-to-wall people common on First Fridays. Even better, it's not a one-time thing: Pappalardo plans to throw a multi-gallery event every six weeks on Thursday nights.
There will be plenty of eye candy for art lovers on this night: An Urban Patio offers Celebrates Oaxaca, featuring indigenous Mexican artistry; Core is offering Cross-Pollination, a collaboration between painter Kimberly MacArthur Graham and paper sculptor Bonne Ferrill Roman; Habitat Gallery is showing Habitat, in which "Denver clay meets Taos color" through the sculpture of Denver's Diane Reiss and the paintings of New Mexico's Pat Pendleton; Spark Gallery displays the appeal of ordinary fruits and vegetables in RIPE; and Indigena Gallery hosts its annual Contemporary and Outsider Folk Art show.
The art walk starts at 6 p.m.; for more information and a complete list of participating galleries, visit www.artdistrictonsantafe.com. -- Amber Taufen