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The Clyde Fitch Report, Nexus of Arts/Politics, Deserves Funding

The Clyde Fitch Report on Tuesday opened a month-long campaign to seek crowdfunding — a reasonable goal of $19,000 — through Kickstarter.


Clyde Fitch

CFR is a news and opinion blogsite emphasizing arts and politics – “cross-disciplinary and cross-partisan”, as it says in its self-description. It’s a site I subjectively believe deserves your funding. I’ll tell you why.

CFR was founded by Leonard Jacobs as his personal blog, wanting to provide his special view of arts and politics. The cite has grown now to 30 contributors, professionals experienced in their fields who are also talented writers. This gives the site a special seasoning of folks who know their stuff, and can express clearly their views.

Leonard and I met when I was news editor at Back Stage, the New York weekly trade paper covering the business of theatre, radio/TV, and film, primarily serving professional actors, as well as writers, directors, and their unions. He came to Back Stage chiefly as a theatre writer. Through our three years together, I watched him grow into a solid journalist, one with passion and care for his subjects. We worked closely together as I moved into the national news editor position, and he became national theatre editor.

So, after I left New York to return home to Little Rock in 2006, I continued to watch his progress. Eventually he left Back Stage and started The Clyde Fitch Report, throwing his expertise and passion into the effort. He began to draw readers, then writers.



In turn, this drew me in, writing a regular column on national and global politics, as well as some on the arts. I call it Peculiar Progressive. You can read the columns, beginning with the most recent, here.

When LJ, as I like to call him, began to step into his present position as editor emeritus, bringing in the talented and perceptive Beck Feibelman as chief curator, I offered to serve as an associate curator, and was quickly welcomed in.

From there, CFR has seen consistent readership growth. I’m proud of its team and their dedicated effort. As I explain on the CFR site, it inspires me:

What inspires you about The Clyde Fitch Report?
First, Leonard Jacobs’ courage and vision to start this nexus of arts and politics. Second, its basis in honesty: the honesty of artists in fine art, writing and performing, leading us to a clearer view of ourselves and our humanity. And carrying that basic honesty to challenge politicians and political activists involved in consistent efforts to lie and manipulate, and also make the public aware of those few who don’t. This effort in writing on arts and politics takes dedicated research, insight and honest, clear expression. I consistently find this in The CFR.

I’m also proud to have brought in seven of the gifted professionals who contribute regular columns:

Bill Asti, an insightful and blunt economist and architect who shoots from the hip in every column of Asti’s Archway. We’ve become good friends since my return to Little Rock, and I value that friendship. In fact, I value my special connection with each person I mention in this column.

Laura Axelrod, a playwright and journalist who became a good friend and caring counsel in New York. She now lives in Birmingham, AL, and is CFR’s senior curator, also writing the regular column Triple Axelrod.

Webb Hubbell, who shares his legal expertise and humaneness writing Hubbell’s Telescope, while also cranking out mystery novels, with one published and a second about to be.

Caroline Kim Oh, another New York friend, who contributes her professional nonprofit-organizational experience in her column That Nonprofiteer.

David Terrell, a former newspaper cohort in Little Rock now living in Pennsylvania, and offering his wisdom, and it is wisdom, in his column that is truly Off Center: Left.

Gerd-Theo Umberg, who I met when he came as a German exchange student to our high school. Now living in Vienna, with a strong background in theatre and love for the arts, he keys us in monthly on the Austrian cultural scene in his Pocket Vienna.

James Wilson, a young, high-energy teacher and writer currently practicing both crafts in China. He clues you in through his regular column Southern in Shanghai.

These are seven valid and valuable reasons to support CFR in its funding effort, and especially to regularly follow all of its 30 wonderful columnists.

My involvement in CFR has been a precious gift and inspiration. I believe, if you’ll read its contributors, you’ll be inspired too. And you’ll also see CFR deserves your support. (You’ll also receive some pretty cool gifts on Kickstarter in return for it.)

Roger Armbrust

Roger Armbrust's articles and columns have covered labor and management, Congressional legislation, and federal court cases, including appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. He formerly served as national news editor of Back Stage in New York City, where he also taught a professional writing course at New York University. His recent book of sonnets -- oh, touch me there: Love Sonnets -- is available from Amazon and other book sites. He is an associate curator of The Clyde Fitch Report. He is also co-founder and co-curator of reality: a world of views.

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