I thought I would be spending tonight hearing the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players in Nono's La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura, but as usual when I try to be spontaneous and last-minute the fates conspired against me, meaning . . . well, I had put off buying a ticket until today, in an unusually carefree but not totally unprecedented way. So this afternoon I went to the SFCMP website, and the link to their ticket page didn't work at all. So I tried the alternative link to the Yerba Buena Center's website.
There I was advised that they do not offer on-line sales 24 hours before a performance. (I'm sure there's a good reason for this -- right? To take a semi-random example, Cal Performances, which I have not found to be notably efficient or subscriber-friendly, offers on-line ticket sales up to four hours before a performance.) Unable to buy on-line, I called the box office number they gave, and got a recording telling me to call back during regular business hours, which do not include Mondays at all.
Further poking around on YBCA's website uncovered that the box office opens 90 minutes before an event. This meant that I would have to hang around until 6:30 to see if the box office really was open and if they had tickets left. 6:30 is both annoyingly late and awkwardly early for the standard 8:00 start time. And at that point, thinking it should not be that difficult to buy a ticket, I decided I should just go home.
As an aside: I went to the SFCMP concert in October, and also bought my ticket the afternoon of the performance, but I guess it worked because it was at Herbst Theater rather than Yerba Buena. As a further aside: I enjoyed the concert tremendously, but there was about an hour of actual music (I know this because they printed all the times in the program) yet the concert took two hours. That's a whole lot of set-up, and talking to the audience, and general time-passing, and with travel time results in a fairly late night for anyone with a regular office job. I skipped the reception afterwards, since I had to work the next day and it was already getting late, and I pondered the irony of having to listen to much talk about encouraging a broad range of the community to come to their concerts when they were run in a way that pretty much excluded anyone outside of the Academy, which rarely starts business promptly at 8:00 a.m. (just about everyone there besides me had the look of a professor, retired professor, or student).
Anyway, too bad for me. I was looking forward to the Nono. The moral of the story is that even arts groups can benefit from efficiency.