While movie buffs are spoiled by the number of movie theaters scattered throughout Jakarta, those who think theater is more their cup of tea have much less choice of venues. The same goes for those interested in classical music, or any performance arts for that matter. Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) in Central Jakarta, Usmar Ismail Hall in Kuningan, South Jakarta, and the oldest playhouse in the city, Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (GKJ) in Central Jakarta, are several of the most famous venues that regularly hold performance art shows. Taman Ismail Marzuki accommodates several of the city’s educational facilities such as a planetarium, and the Jakarta Art Institute. Usmar Ismail Hall is an integrated cinema and concert hall housed inside six-storey Usmar Ismail film building that was built in 1997. The building is dedicated to the development of Indonesian films and to preserve the industry’s history. It is equipped with a library with a collection of around 5,000 books on cinema, 6,500 books about screenplays as well as around 250 Indonesian films dating back to 1935. Okky Ardya, a freelance writer who loves performance art says that while venues such as TIM offer monthly live performances, the quality of the performances vary. Those put on by prominent theater groups are usually more likely to provide a good play-watching experience, she said. Her favorites are the works of playwright and Teater Koma director Nano Riantiarno, and those of writer and poet Remy Silado. “I have watched everything, from the famous Teater Koma group, the Jose Rizal’s Theater Tanah Air performances to unknown plays with terrible scripts,” Okky said, adding that she watched live performances six to eight times a year. She said that live performances were far more satisfying than movies. “The environment is different. In a cinema you watch actors engage in a dialogue through a big screen, while in a play the conversation happens right in front of you.” Another performance art enthusiast, Bambang Moegono, says he enjoys plays that are held in the GKJ building and Balai Sarbini in Central Jakarta. Traditional music and cultural performances such as keroncong, which is Portuguese-tinged Indonesian folk music, karawitan (classic Javanese traditional music ensemble) and Betawi’s traditional lenong theater are the ones that attract him the most. Bambang’s favorite performance thus far has been the Parade Karya Emas Seniman Keroncong Indonesia held in GKJ last year. “I had the opportunity to see keroncong maestros such as Sumiyati and listen to their stunning works sung by today’s keroncong artists,” he recalled. During the daytime, Bambang works as a public relations manager. “[Watching performance art] is my consolation after a long day at the office,” he said. The plays held in GKJ are not the only reason he enjoys spending time there. The white, pillared building itself, built in 1821, brings a nostalgic and grand feeling to those inside. “I adore its architecture,” Bambang said. His other favorite is the recently built Aula Simfonia Jakarta (ASJ), in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta. The concert hall, said to be Indonesia’s largest, is able to accommodate up to 1,200 seats. It claims to offer the best acoustics compared to other theaters in the city. "I have plans to attend the Easter Concert 2013 in ASJ slated for April 20. I think it's going to be a blast," Bambang said excitedly. Art venues and playhouse in Jakarta: - Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jalan Cikini Raya 73, Central Jakarta. - Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, Jalan Gedung Kesenian 1, Central Jakarta. - Usmar Ismail Hall, Jalan H.R. Rasuna Said Kav C22, Kuningan South Jakarta. - Aula Simfonia Jakarta, Jalan Industri Blok B 14 Kav. 1 Kemayoran, Central Jakarta.