Our friend John found this great club, Warung Apresiasi (Appreciation Cafe) near Blok M. The first time we went they had a bunch of different bands, and the place was packed, but Friday night when we went back it was an open-mic night with a fairly small crowd.
The guy who's second from the right is the MC, Joko, who goes by the stage name Joker. He's very charismatic; you can tell he's one of those people who's been putting on song-and-dance shows since age 4. Somehow he cajoled me into getting up and singing the only Indonesian song I know: "Pelangi, Pelangi" (Rainbow, Rainbow), a children's song we memorized to learn our colors. As you know if you've ever heard me sing, I can't sing, so it was somewhat mortifying, but it was also funny and strangely liberating.
After the music ended at midnight, we hung around and talked to Joker and some of the other guys who run the place. The cafe is actually part of a larger charitable organization. They've built a sports and cultural center in back where you can try painting, martial arts or rock climbing, and they run programs for the local street kids. They've landscaped the place with lots of plants and created a little oasis in this intensely urban part of town.
We're hoping to go back soon -- it seems like a nice place to hang out or do some volunteer work. Just chatting was great. Lately I've been wanting to have more substantive conversations in Indonesian, beyond just "I'd like one of those spicy things" or "turn left at the light." So it was a good night.
My apologies for all the cellphone pictures recently. The light meter in my camera has died, and we need to figure out where to get it fixed.