Tuesday, December 04, 2012

What Entertainment Are You Willing to Pay Money For?

I thought of this topic as I told Jerry House today what comedians I liked. I realized then though that I would never pay to see any of them perform live. Not Louis CK nor Lewis Stone, nor any of them. The live act would be too blue for me and too much money for the pleasure I derived.

Nor would I pay to see most musical groups. Or even individual singers. I can hear them just fine on a CD or elsewhere. I don't need to see them perform.


What I am willing to pay for are plays as I guess you all know. I will see almost any play. Not Broadway-type musicals as much as real plays. Well okay, both to some extent. But not the sort of musical that is just about big performance numbers written by middling song writers.
Guys and Dolls, yes.

It's funny what entertainment works live for us and what doesn't. What entertainment are you willing to pay for? I don't count movie because five bucks or so doesn't count.

27 comments:

Cullen Gallagher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cullen Gallagher said...

Movies for five bucks? They're about $15 here in New York. Even at $5 I'd have to be careful on my current budget, but I'd go to more movies than I currently do. At the moment I pay for cable because there's not much in theaters I want to see, and because the theaters themselves and the projection and sound is often so bad, and the crowds so annoying, that I don't feel I get my money's worth. With Cable I get Turner Classic Movies, City University of New York station, and Encore Westerns. Between those three, there's usually something every night I want to watch, often multiple programs.

I try to see a few rock concerts per year. But even then I don't like to pay more than $20. If it were a super bill with a couple great bands, maybe $30. I've only ever paid more than that a couple times in my life.

I don't go to see plays here in NYC, I'm just not much of a theater fan. I prefer movies.

Good quality books, or rare vintage copies (that are still solid enough to read), I don't mind paying for. A lot of print on demand stuff seems too pricey to me.

Dana King said...

I see a small handful of movies a year in the theater, quite a few on NetFlix.

Two or three concerts a year, almost always in small venues, and focusing on a handful of favorite acts. (Delbert McClinton, Tower of Power, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Tom Waits if I could catch him.)

About half a dozen sporting events a year, usually baseball games.

I'd go to more concerts, but they're expensive, I like to leave the house less as I get older, and, ironically, I find I rarely like the sound mixing. Everyone wants tings too loud, and the inner lines of the music are too often covered up.

Anonymous said...

First of all I'd like to know where Cullen sees concerts in New York for $20. We go several times a year I(I'm not home to check my list) but $50 would be cheap for us. In the last few years we've seen Jimmy Buffett, Neil Young, Steely Dan, Meat Loaf, Santana, John Fogerty, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, George Thorogood, Earth Wind & Fire, among others plus Jazzfest in New Orleans the last seven years and annual doo-wop concerts.

More in a minute.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We can see any movie in the daytime for $5. About $8 at night. When you compare that to most concerts, it's dirt cheap. And most plays have special deals. Concerts almost never.
I see at least 50 movies in the theater a year. Still that's $250 bucks, the cost of one Broadway play and dinner.

Dan_Luft said...

I've got small kids so going out happens nearly not at all. I've been to about four movies in the last five years. Back in the late 80s I was a theater usher and spent a LOT of time watching movies.

Haven't been to a concert in years but I used to go regularly when I was more familiar with the "scene." I've only been to a couple of arena/geezer shows. When I went to shows it was usually small clubs seeing blues and jazz and other music that wasn't really meant for the huge venues. These show are cheaper and much less predictable and just more fun. That's just where I saw most of my live music.

Kieran Shea said...

The one thing I will pay a lot for is great music, be it a club, arena, or outdoor venue. I used to wing it and say a seat is a seat, but the older I get the more I demand excellence. I mean, I guess I can afford it now. Lawn seats? Forget it. No way. A few hundred bucks to see an act I may never get a chance to see again in the first 10 rows? Hell, yeah...but those acts are growing fewer. I still think catching comedians in small clubs is worth it. David Alan Grier in a room of fifty-sixty working out material? Amazing. Chris Rock at DAR Constitution Hall in DC? Sucked big time. Oh, and I will shell out money for hockey games. Crazy, but a nail biter overtime game on the ice rules. AHL, NHL, ECHL. whatever....

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am guessing we all have one form of entertainment we will fork out dollars for (should we have it). Husband and son, it is baseball. What they paid for playoff tkts was obscene. Neither went to the WS, thank god. I think it was $250 a tkt. I did go to see Ray LaMontagne last summer. It was almost worth it but they were lawn seats. I never made it to the main attraction, can't even remember who it was.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm back. As the above would indicate, concerts take more of our money than anything else. Since Jackie retired 7 1/2 years ago we've seen 105 concerts (you do the math) not counting Jazzfest. Of those about a dozen or so were free and a few were cheaper, local events. I'd guess we've paid an average of perhaps $75 a ticket for the rest. Obviously we wouldn't be spending that kind of money if we didn't still enjoy it. Venues: Beacon Theater, Madison Square Garden, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, NYCB Theatre at Westbury, Radio City Music Hall, MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

Theater we're not quite in Patti & Phil's class but do pretty well. In the last four years we've averaged about two shows a month. Here, however, despite the outrageous Broadway prices, we make out really well. Almost all the shows we see are through TDF (Theatre Development Fund, which runs the half-price ticket booths) and we never pay more than $40 a ticket, usually quite a bit less. We see mostly matinees and often go off-Broadway.

Movies? We've only been to 10 so far this year, mainly due to seeing a lot fewer than usual in Florida. Again, we usually go to matinees and pay $7 senior price.

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

Oh right, you asked about comedians. We have paid to see them in the past - Rodney Dangerfield, Steve Martin, Robert Klein, Cosby (it was a benefit). But no more. I really love Lewis Black (not Stone, he was Andy Hardy's father!) but we decided to forego his Broadway shows even though we could have got tickets through TDF for about $40 (a bargain for Broadway).

Yes, baseball. We used to go to Yankee Stadium 3 to 8 times a year but the prices are prohibitively expensive (the last season we went, a couple of years ago, we were paying $100 a ticket and believe me, we were out in left field), it is an hour and a half by bus and subway to get there and you never know if they're going to win or get blown out early. I'd rather watch the games on television.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, Lewis Black. Jeez, where is my head? There is a comedy club in La Jolla so maybe we will catch someone. Almost saw Jeff Garlin last year but I peeked inside and everyone was under 40--maybe 30.

Randy Johnson said...

These days not much.

In my younger years, I attended quite a few rock concerts, seeing most of the major acts of the day. Like Cullen, movies these days aren't much fun. ON DEMAND for any movie just out on DVD/Blu-ray works for me. I much prefer Turner Classics.

On the sports line, the only major league event I ever attended was a weekend in Atlanta in August of 1972. The Braves playing the Reds. Hank Aaron hit # 709 into left field(Pete Rose never took his hands off his knees at the crack of the bat). Saw Saturday's game and a double header on Sunday.

Cullen Gallagher said...

Jeff M. -- the NY venues I go to are usually on the smaller side. Knitting Factory, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Death by Audio, Le Poisson Rouge, Union Hall, Union Pool, Santos Party House, Webster Hall occasionally. A couple bands I wanted to see were playing a house show in Brooklyn over the summer, it costs like five bucks and I arrived early so they fed me dinner. That was definitely a good deal.

Ron Scheer said...

We prefer theatre as well (not musicals), but saw Penn and Teller once, and they were definitely worth the ticket price to see them live. Also Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy ("The Kathy & Mo Show").

Gerard said...

I'm paying through the nose on the stupid cable bill.

A small movie theater in Watertown, WI has $5 first run flicks. But, they also have unlimited soda refills and anyone who limits their kids' soda intake has to endure endless requests for more soda pop.

I like going to live music shows but time and distance are more deterrent than cost.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have always lived in a large city so I can't imagine the limiting effects of a small town. Detroit, for all its woes, has many arthouses, museums, sports, musical venues. What people don't know is that four million people live in the surrounding counties. And many quite wealthy.

Richard R. said...

I guess we're real stay-at-home-ers. Netflix and cable television is all we have, and we rarely go out to movies and not to live performances. I used to go to jazz concerts, usually the kind with several artists in a festival setting or artists in a small club setting. I especially enjoy the latter, but here it's all downtown, and parking is such a bear. If that weren't the case, I'd be happy to pay for the classical season at the Oregon Sympohny.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We are the opposite. We cannot stay home on a weekend night unless we have company--as this Friday. We get no joy at all from watching movies on TV or yet more reading. We read all day.
We must be entertained!

Deb said...

I find that as I get older (and crankier), going out has to be an "event." I used to go to countless movies and quite a few theater and sports events--young, single (or early married life), no kids, living in southern California, I went out all the time. When your kids come along, priorities change. I don't begrudge anything I do for my kids entertainment (that being said, the fact that I don't ever have to see Barney or Big Bird on Ice again gives me courage to face the day), I'm glad I saw plenty when I was able. I'm willing to pay for something the whole damn can enjoy--especially now our kids are older--we've done several operas and ballets in the New Orleans area. The last concert my husband and I saw was Dylan a couple of years ago, but if the Stones come this way, I'll definitely get tickets.

Deb said...

That should have been "the whole family can enjoy."

/Stupid autocorrect (and inadvertent Freudian slip!)

Al Tucher said...

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark gets some big comedians, and I have mulled going. It's expensive, though, and stand-up comedy is such a high-wire act that everybody--even Chris Rock--"dies" now and then.

And I'll tell you one thing. I would never sit up front where I might attract the comedian's attention. That can be brutal!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Taking four or more out is a major investment. But I haven't had that since the early nineties.
Phil did that once, Al. It was brutal. It never stopped the whole performance. In Austin.

Charles Gramlich said...

I have paid for a few comedians, and a few musical acts. Not a lot. Once in a while a play. I pay almost nothing for movies since my wife gets them from the library. But I pay for my reads.

Anonymous said...

Patti, I'm the opposite. The older I get the less I want to go out on a Saturday night. When we were younger we went out every Friday and Saturday. Now we prefer going to matinees (I know, we're geezers!) and staying home at night. Concerts are - obviously - an exception, though I'd prefer a week night to the weekend.


Jeff M.

Jerry House said...

I really don't do movie theatres because too many people in the audience prefer to talk than watch. I think the last flick I saw in a movie theatre was FORREST GUMP.

We worked as house managers for a Equity theatre for several years and I got used to seeing plays for free. I did pay to see some of the biggies when they came around: Lez Miz (I liked it), Cats (boring, with a couple of good songs), Miss Saigon (over-rated), Phantom (also over-rated), etc. I don't think I'll be seeing much more professional theatre.

I enjoyed the one season I bought a ballet membership, although the Moscow Ballet gallumphed through their performance.

Rock and pop concerts are just too large for me to enjoy. I've seen the Beatles, Beach Boys, Buffett among others and was just not impressed with the venues.

I do like small venues, club settings and the like. I'm a hangover from the Sixties, so I go for folk and bluegrass most often.

I have reached the point that price is a consideration. Ditto comfort. Looking back on what I just wrote, I guess I'm an old fart.

Gerard Saylor said...

I've seen the Beatles, Beach Boys, Buffett among others and was just not impressed with the venues.

Looking back on what I just wrote, I guess I'm an old fart.


If you saw the Beatles play you definitely qualify as an old fart.

pattinase (abbott) said...

First concert I saw was the double bill of THE SUPREMES and STEVIE WONDER. He was the opening act and blew them away at about age 17.