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Get on the Art Bus on First Fridays

First Friday is on the move this month, or at least its artsy people are. Denver's ArtDistrict on Santa Fe and the Golden Triangle Museum District have teamed up to operate a joint shuttle bus connecting the two to each other.

ArtDistrict on Santa Fe treasurer Gary Reed says the two districts cut a deal just days ago, and a trial run was scheduled for September 4; if everything goes as planned, the free shuttle will make twenty-minute loops between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m.

"The goal is to have several of these running around to all of the First Friday districts," he says. "We'll test it here and then invite other groups to chip in."

The shuttle will include historical commentary from a guide — but probably none of the antics that made another, unofficial art district tour bus popular several years ago. Art@Art was a traveling spectacle run by underground scenester Dragon Daud. His approach, including dress-up nights and open fires, drew the ire of some gallery owners — and the cops — but they also earned him a Westword MasterMind Award for 2006.

Dragon Daud couldn't be reached for comment, but Reed says the new shuttle will be a true art bus rather than one of "the party buses that circulate through town."

Art is in the eye of the bus rider.

Making waves: City Park's Darlington Prismatic Electric Fountain is expected to be back in business — sort of — nearly three months after a lightning strike took out the mechanism that controls the lighted shows.

"Fountain operations may resume as early as mid-September 2009," Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Michelle Madrid-Montoya said in an e-mail. "Approximately 84 LED lights were damaged in the [June 26] lightning strike, and due to long lead time on replacement parts, evening light shows will not be possible until next year."

But anything would be something for Geno Wasilewski, who runs the Denver franchise of Wheel Fun Rentals, which provides boats and bikes in the park.

In the summer of 2008, a massive algae bloom transformed Ferril Lake into a gunk-clogged swamp, turning stomachs and turning away boaters. It go so bad, in fact, that the city had to employ a giant sewer vacuum to suck off the scum before the Democratic National Convention, which was supposed to showcase the $3.2 million reconstruction of the fountain, built exactly a century earlier.

Part of the fountain's job is to aerate the lake to reduce algae, which is why a working fountain is important to Wasilewski. But City Park wasn't the only one that caused him problems. He was also shut out of Berkeley Park's lake in 2008 because the city ran out of time to build a dock for his paddleboats. But this summer, Wheel Fun was up and floating in both lakes, as well as in Washington Park.

Wasilewski says there are no hard feelings. "People seem to enjoy what we have. We're pretty happy with the results so far," he says. Wheel Fun ceased its daily operations on September 8 but continues to rent out boats on nice-weather weekends all year. And Wheel Fun plans to expand — algae permitting — at a handful of other parks in the coming years.

 
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