The Cheap Seat Aesthetic

Ernest Boehm
3 min readDec 20, 2022

2022 The Year of Aesthetics №51

Things I am not going to miss.

I love cheap seats and subscriptions. I see them as low cost options to access the arts and for exploration of new works you have not seen before.

Nassim Taleb discussed about never committing to things to have ultimate flexibility he is against getting subscriptions, advance tickets etc. so he has options. Yet he has a vast wealth which would make procurement of seats easy and probably as many cultural event invites as he wants. Yet most of us have a different option space that is more beneficial if we want exposure to the arts. I hold the contrary opinion, I want see events and take advantage of cultural opportunities.

Tickets in hand makes you plan for the event and be willing to get events on your calendar, if your goal is to see concerts, plays, art shows etc, they are fleeting and will evaporate. Your intention is to go but you forget, something else comes up, events sell out, etc.

Tickets should be seen as an option. I have made a rule that I buy tickets I can afford to give away or donate, so I am not in much of a pinch if I can not go to events. Also, theaters have dates exchange options where you can just book another show most of the time. I book based on price of commitment to event, events that are must see are often a better seat at a higher cost, and less crucial events are lower price. I book a lot of cheap seats (but rather nice seats) because I want to see more events

Subscriptions to theater have large discounts in cost with less and less commitment, I have seen several with 2–3 event options with date exchanges and lower prices as you go up in the number events and also deals on later single ticket purchases. We get a two seat option and I go to all the events and my wife or kids go depending on schedule. I have taken friends with a spare seat. This year I have subscribed to the Lyric Opera and Harris Theater and have been very happy to have tickets for events I wanted to see. This year I have seen Don Carlo, The Rights of Spring, Eden by Joyce DiDantao, Edith Piaf songs and I will see about 6 more concerts before May. I see these as events to look forward to and worth planning for. Many subscriptions allow you to buy seats by the event so you can up your seat quality for the shows that really mater.

The two events above I am going to sit in cheap seats since both venue has nice low cost seats. My kids were discounted or free. My wife is only going to Carmen, one of my kids may miss and burn a free ticket. NOTE if you look events often have discounts on students. Lyric has 20 dollar seat and Harris theater has free student seats. My wife also likes a discount, so it make it an easier seal the deal if I get a discount.