Blog Archives

Our first Spring Request for Support (and a new free gift):

Support this blog with $5.00 or more…

…and get “Bill’s Century Marks,” a great image font, based on authentic turn-of-the-century (and later) ornaments and images from a number of historic sources, e-mailed to you immediately.

So many of you have been following this blog since 2004 that I feel like a member of a huge web community.

I have enjoyed bringing you The Cartoon or Cartoons of the Week, the Quotes, the Political and Arts News, the Blogrolls to the best sites in America and beyond… They are all a joy to put together. Often we get the breaking political stories before you see them anywhere else. And our wide open communication channels with readers can’t be beat.

Well, as usual, I need YOUR help to keep it going. I’m hoping you will make a small contribution, by PayPal or credit/debit card, in support of Under The LobsterScope. You’d be amazed at how much $5.00 can do to help me bring more and more to these pages. And it is probably the LOWEST annual subscription fee you will make to any publication… interactive or not.

And for a contribution of $5.00 (or MORE) you will receive a copy of my Picture Font, Bill’s Century Marks – an exciting collection of images for use in many kinds of documents and designs.

(I send you versions for both Macs and PCs by email). I regularly sell this font for $29.95. (See the Sample Below.)

You should know, however, that even a contribution of only $1.00 adds to the ability of this unemployed blogger to find things for your benefit, and gives you my heartfelt thanks. By clicking on the DONATE button below, you tell me that Under The LobsterScope makes a difference in your time on the web.


– Bill T.


English: Logo of PayPal. Español: Logotipo de ...

Is a Foundation Trustee playing with the funds and not paying artists? A clip:

clipped from
The Judith Rothschild Foundation has been one of those small grant-making organizations that can make a big difference to art.
Now the foundation, established 15 years ago under the terms of the will of the abstract painter Judith Rothschild — who died in 1993 — has defaulted on all 17 of its 2009 grants to artists’ estates and arts organizations, according to several of the recipients, a number of whom have filed complaints with the New York State attorney general’s office.
The grants were to have been used in the “coming year,” the foundation said when it announced them in March 2009.

<<<< Harvey S. Shipley Miller is its sole trustee.

On Monday several of the grantees said they had received a letter of apology from Mr. Miller.
Natalie Edgar, the director of the Philip Pavia Trust in New York said:
“Harvey Shipley Miller had been spending foundation assets on a shopping spree to buy 2,500 drawings of emerging artists — the cost would be in the multimillions of dollars.”
blog it

The terms of Rothschild’s will did not include purchasing work by “emerging artists”, but, in purchasing as opposed to grants, centered around artists of a more advanced age… a group that Judith Rothschild was intimately connected with.

I knew Judith Rothschild very well. In the late seventies and early eighties I was the Director of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, and Judith was one of my Board members. Would she be in favor of Harvey Shipley Miller’s actions? I doubt it.

If you went into the Times and read the whole article, you will see that Miller’s purchases were not in agreement with the terms of Judith’s will and the artists and arts administrators, like Natalie Edgar, have very valid complaints.

Arts fundraising is a hard game and, especially in financial times like these, what is promised to artists is often crucial in maintaining their lives and work. The Rothschild Foundation needs a full Board of Directors and ought to get rid of Miller… but since he’s the sole vote, this will be difficult.

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times Outlines Upcoming Issues of 2010…

This from MSNBC:

Help Me Keep Under The LobsterScope Alive…

As I said earlier today, one of the resolutions I’m making for 2010 is to find some financial support for this blog.

Over 128,000 readers have come to this site to find out about progressive and liberal political issues and to investigate happenings in the fine and performing arts. I have loved getting the comments and responding to them and have made a great many friends through Under The LobsterScope since starting it in 2004. I spend hours every day seeking out information and putting up three or four posts for your entertainment and amusement, and I’d like to keep it up.

So I’m hoping you will see your way to making a small contribution, by PayPal or credit/debit card to support Under The LobsterScope. You’d be amazed at how much $5.00 can do to help me bring more and more to these pages.

If you can see your way to sending a dollar or more, please click on the DONATE button below:


– Bill T.

Masters of Fundraising

In the non-profit arts world, fundraising is an ongoing headache which the arts administrator builds an entire career on. I think about this when I think of my production of The Hunting Of The Snark, which will open at Full Circle Theater in Shepherdstown in February… and it’s miniscule $200.00 budget. Now Community Theatre basis all its functioning on volunteers, but there are still capital costs involved: fabrics for costumes, props that have to be purchased because they are not available to borrow, and advertising! That last point is probably the most expensive if the seats are going to be filled. Whether it is postage costs for mailers run off on our computer printer, or local newspaper ads, this is a big one. When it is not pushed, you have audiences of 10 or 12 in your 90 seat house and wonder what went wrong.

So, I’m thinking about the fundraising mindset, and I read this article in Slate by June Thomas about the strategy of Public Radio… and since we are now coming through or, on some stations, out of, the Fall Fundraising campaigns that annoy us on the car radio when we would rather hear actual shows, this strategy should be looked into. It has been successful for decades.

Here are the Top Ten Ways Public Radio talks us out of our money:

1. The perfect gift. Over the years, the good people at public radio have discovered that there are a few choice items that listeners just cannot resist. But perhaps no item is more fetishized in on-air promos than the eco-tote.

2. The guilt trip. No mainstream media outlet has come close to the local public radio station when it comes to reporting on the lives of the urban poor. So who can blame the stations for stressing this kind of coverage at pledge time? In other words: Hey, liberal, are you sure you’d rather spend your money on a new iPhone case?

3. We’re here for you — now be there for us. Radio is the loneliest medium, the one we most often experience in solitude. Public radio pitchmen cleverly exploit this by convincing listeners that this solo activity can be a form of community service.

4. Your bill is past due. Public radio gives away its product and then asks listeners to pay once they’re hooked, like the mythical schoolyard drug slinger. The strategy here is to remind listeners how much they rely on public radio and to ask them to put a price on their dependence.

5. Flattery. Without ever mentioning their cousins in commercial broadcasting, public radio fundraisers butter up their listeners by suggesting that writing a check makes them far more sophisticated than the sheep who suffer through the other guys’ ads.

6. Only you can save journalism. The 2009 winter fundraising drives featured more reflections on the sad state of for-profit journalism than ever before. WNYC’s news chief reminded listeners that “a lot of outlets are cutting back their coverage” while WNYC is launching new shows.

7. You’re not just helping us-you’re helping your fellow listener. This year, it’s impossible to ignore the frugal tenor of the times-so WNYC’s Jad Abumrad made an explicit call for still-solvent listeners to contribute on behalf of their less fortunate brethren.

8. Niche marketing. The best of public radio’s weekend shows have distinct personalities. All these shows produce special pledge editions, pitching in their signature styles.

9. The match game. Some beneficent superdonor has agreed to double each regular member’s contribution during a set time period. Matches do generate a sense of urgency, but the tactic can also be counterproductive since some listeners may delay their pledge until a match is in effect, by which point second thoughts set in.

10. Stop me before I pitch again. The last day of a campaign is the best time to listen, and not just because it’s almost over. The staffers are so slap-happy, they start to mangle the phone number they’ve repeated thousands of times, and the unintentional comedy that results can be highly entertaining.

Now, how do I apply this to my Theatre budget?