For the past four years Bau Graves has been Executive Director of the Old Town School of Folk Music, certainly Lincoln Square’s biggest cultural draw with over 1,000 people that pass through its doors every day and a $9.3 million annual budget. Among his other duties, Graves is overseeing Old Town’s biggest expansion since moving to Lincoln Square in 1998 with a four-story, $18 million, 27,000 sq. foot building at 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.
Graves reports that the building is on schedule and Old Town plans to open it for classes by January 2012.
1. What’s your favorite spot in the neighborhood?
I love Lillstreet Art Center.
To eat or to go to?
I eat there sometimes, but my wife is really involved in ceramics, so I spend a lot of time hanging around over there. My son has worked at their summer camp. Seems like I spend a lot of time hanging out at Lillstreet.
2. What’s the goofiest thing you’ve seen in the neighborhood?
A couple years ago, at the Folk & Roots Festival, when Rahm Emanuel got up on stage to introduce a band, a group that we had from Nigeria, and he utterly mangled the name of the band in introduction.
3. If you could change one thing, what would you change about the neighborhood?
I would like there to be leaves on the trees all year around, instead of just half of the year.
Then we’d be California, wouldn’t we?
Well, maybe I don’t want that after all.
4. What’s different about the neighborhood since you first started here?
Other than the fact that we’ve got a new building going up, that’s a substantial difference. The neighborhood just feels better and better. A lot of my life revolves around eating. It seems like there’s more good restaurants all the time. I love Gene’s!
5. Octoberfest or Ribfest?
Hmm. I confess: I stay away from most of the other festivals!