Plenty goes on at Boocoo, the ecologically sound music studio, cafe and lesson center which rests across from Evanston Township High School. "Boocoo" is Creole for "a lot," and although co-directors Jason Vanhoose and Ted Sirota have whittled down the classes they offer to a third of those offered when the place opened in July 2007, the name remains a fitting adjective.
This after-school safe house came after concerned artists spent nine years talking to the neighborhood, trying to figure out how to go about building a creative space for high-school students that didn't feel like a YMCA. Sirota, a Chicago jazz drummer and Evanston music teacher, responded to a September 2006 Craigslist ad for the beginning of an artistic, social and political space pioneered by Carolina Pfister, one of those concerned and creative pioneers. Vanhoose, a carpenter and sound engineer, joined in and soon harnessed the help of some eager neighborhood kids as well as Indie Energy to finish building the yellow-walled, geothermic establishment.
Pfister has since resigned, but Boocoo still remains as ambitious as a sophomore running for class president, a bundle of young energy ready to take on just about any task thrown. From Capeoira to bucket-drum classes, Vanhoose and Sirota will attempt just about anything once to see if it gets community participation. Private lessons now include guitar, trumpet, vocals, woodwinds and more at $25 per half hour. Group classes for these instruments are also planned as the directors gauge how responsive their participants are.
Working musicians can rent Boocoo's studio for $35 per hour, and follow up their sessions with a trip to the cafe for a $5 turkey sandwich.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Nola Akiwowo