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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Show Must Go On

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Working in the dark because of a power outage, installers of a new show opening Friday at the Westport Arts Center made do today despite the blackout. Helen Klisser During (r), visual arts director, supervised the placing of works for “Landscape: Scene/Re-Seen” which features major contemporary photographs of landscapes from the Andrew and Christine Hall Collection. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jill Sarver for WestportNow.com

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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Music Scholarships Awarded

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The Staples Music Parents Association presented scholarships for students continuing their musical studies at a school of music or conservatory in the fall. Making the presentations were Maureen A. Whiteman and Nick Hubbell, co-presidents. Pictured (l-r) are Hubbel, Chelsea Steinberg (UMass Amherst School of Music), Danny Pravder (Skidmore, music scholarship), Rachael Shapiro (Oberlin), Ellen Kempner (singer/songwriter, Sarah Lawrence) Austin Alianello (Wheaton College Conservatory), Michael Ljungberg (UMass Amherst School of Music), Sam Weiser (New England Conservatory/Tufts) and Whiteman. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

06/09/12 09:02 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

A Bunch of Fakes

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Two of the most popular courses at Westport’s Center for Senior Activities are The Joy of Painting I and II. A bulletin board contains examples of some of the students’ work from these classes –- “Fabulous Fakes,” in which students try to copy some of the world’s most famous paintings. Pointing out some of the works are Ade Van Duyn, Marion Southard Teacher/artist Barbara Lawless, and Alex Boboc. Registration for these and other classes begins Monday for Westporters and June 18 for out-of-towners. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

06/09/12 08:18 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Deford on Deford at Library

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Westporter Frank Deford, author and Emmy Award-winning sportswriter, was guest speaker today at The Friends of the Westport Public Library annual meeting. Deford talked about his latest book, “Over Time – My Life as a Sportswriter.” “This is a memoir,” he said. “I never thought I would write a memoir.” Starting out, Deford said, “I had two strikes against me. I had a happy childhood, and I wasn’t a minority—and I’m not even a woman. But I did have something going – I am a Huguenot.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

06/07/12 09:52 PM Comments (2) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Community Theatre Debuts ‘Company’ on Friday

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Betty McCready of Stratford and Geoffrey Weglarz of Fairfield, part of the cast of the Stephen Sondheim musical comedy “Company,” rehearse for Friday’s opening performance at the Westport Community Theatre in the lower level of Westport’s Town Hall. Winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, when it premiered on Broadway in 1970, the play is considered to have ushered in the modern era of musical theater. The show runs through July 1 with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. and on Thursday, June 14 at 8 p.m.  Tickets are available through the box office (203)226.1983 or http://www.westportcommunitytheatre.com. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/06/12 06:32 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Young Director Makes Pirandello Accessible

By James Lomuscio

In her debut as director, Westport’s Staples High School senior Charlotte Weber is taking a challenging, if not unconventional path.

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Charlotte Weber (l) talks with Staples junior Grace McDavid-Seidner who plays the role of the stepdaughter. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

First she has picked a hard-to-follow play that has left even ardent theatergoers scratching their heads, Luigi Pirandello’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author.”

The 1921 play by the Nobel Prize-winning Italian writer who died in 1936 is scheduled to run in Staples’ Black Box Auditorium on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and again at 7:30.

Then, Weber says she is being the kind of director she always admired during her four years with the Staples Players, whether performing as Anybody’s, the tomboy character in “West Side Story,” or Repunzel in “Into the Woods.”

More "Young Director Makes Pirandello Accessible"

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Author Tells of Ayn Rand’s Continuing Influence

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With CSPAN taping his appearance, author Gary Weiss tonight talked about his new book, “Ayn Rand Nation” at the Westport Public Library. In his book, Weiss explores the people and institutions that remain under the spell of Rand, a Russian-born novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter who died in 1982. She is a major influence among libertarians and American conservatives because of her belief in unfettered capitalism, unregulated business, and bare-bones government providing no social services. Some Tea Party members think of her as “godmother,” Weiss said, adding: “She was the daughter of the conservative movement. She knew few people she didn’t dislike.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

06/05/12 02:17 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sunday, June 03, 2012

‘Love Documentary’ Draws Full House at WYFF

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Among entries screened at today’s Westport Youth Film Festival at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport was “Love Documentary” by Rose O’Brien of Fairfield. The three-minute film explores love and romance and poses two questions to art school students: 1. Do you remember your first love? and 2. Do you remember your first kiss? (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

06/03/12 12:33 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Films and Fun


Highlights from the 2012 Westport Youth Film Festival held today at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Westport Youth Film Festival Under Way

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The Westport Youth Film Festival (WYFF) was under way today at the Bijou Theatre, 275 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport. The all-day event features entries from throughout the United States and abroad. It continues until 10 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser during for WestportNow.com

06/02/12 04:29 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, June 01, 2012

Final Jazz Jam of the Season

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Tonight was the season finale for the great jazz jam season at the Westport Arts Center which has the co-sponsorship of Arthur and Bonnie Ashman.  There will be a hiatus for the summer, and the new Jjzz jam season will start in September. Tonight there were 12 musicians who participated in the music. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

06/01/12 02:01 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Star-Studded Salute to Levinson at Library

By James Lomuscio

Tonight’s 14th annual Booked for the Evening Westport Library Award honoring Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson drew hundreds to the library’s Great Hall where star-studded accolades celebrated the filmmakers’ contributions to American culture.

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Director Barry Levinson accepts the Booked for the Evening Award from Maxine Bleiweis, library director. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

Actors Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry lauded Levinson’s storytelling genius. So did film critic Michael Sragow, who noted that Levinson writes and directs “in the spirit of play making his complex movies from “Diner” to “Justice for All” to “The Natural,” “Bugsy” and “Rain Man,” for which he won the Academy Award “seem effortless.”

Prerecorded tributes came in from Hollywood’s heavy hitters, as well, including Robert DeNiro, who quipped he was sorry he could not be there, “I wasn’t invited,” to Danny DeVito, who starred in Levinson’s “Tin Men” to Robin Williams, who had the leads in “Good Morning Vietnam” and Levinson’s “Man of the Year.”

In praising Levinson, Williams also made a pitch for supporting the library.

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05/31/12 02:51 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Honoring an Oscar Winner


Highlights of tonight’s Booked for the Evening at the Westport Public Library honoring film director Barry Levinson. Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

05/31/12 02:29 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Checking Out the Bijou for Film Festival

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Staff members from the Westport Arts Center traveled to Bridgeport today to visit the Bijou Theatre, 275 Fairfield Ave., to check out the venue for Saturday’s Westport Youth Film Festival (WYFF). Evan Neidich WYFF director, looks over the audience accommodations. Tickets available at http://www.westportartscenter.org or the Bijou box office. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

05/30/12 07:47 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saturday, May 26, 2012

‘Meet the Parents’ Night at ArtCafé

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It was “Meet the Parents” night tonight at the Westport Arts Center’s ArtCafé Happy Hour. Helen Klisser During, director of visual arts, invited guests to meet her parents visiting from New Zealand, Jenny and Johan Klisser. She asked guests to bring along their parents, brothers, sisters or other relations to enjoy the current exhibits and socialize with drinks and snacks at the Center’s headquarters on Riverside Avenue overlooking the Saugatuck River. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

05/26/12 12:50 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, May 25, 2012

WN Wins Eight Citations in Journalism Contest

WestportNow has won eight citations, including three first place prizes, in the 2011 Society of Professional Journalists Connecticut Chapter Excellence in Journalism competition. The awards were announced tonight at the group’s annual banquet in North Haven.

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A contributing photographer won a first place prize for this picture of the capture of a murder suspect in Playhouse Square last November.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo, ©2011 WestportNow.com

First place winners included James Lomusico, associate editor, for his coverage of Tropical Storm Irene last summer, Douglas Healey, contributing photographer, for his photo of a father consoling a Staples football player (“Comforting Words from Dad”), and a contributing photographer for a photo (”Captured”) of a murder suspect captured in Playhouse Square.

Lomuscio also won a third place prize for his story “Friends: ‘Kuti’ Loved Family, America and Life,” about the reaction to the murder last December of a Westport jeweler.

Dave Matlow, associate editor, shared a third place prize with contributing photographer Helen Klisser During for their photos of the Saugatuck Congregational Church fire. Matlow also won a third place award for his picture of a woman rescued from a car involved in an accident (“Woman Unhurt in Hillspoint Road Rescue.”)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Staples Players Present ‘Almost, Maine’

Staples Players end their season beginning Thursday with “Almost, Maine,” a play by John Cariani.

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August Laska, a junior, and Claire Smith, a freshman, in “Almost, Maine.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kerry Long Photography

Performances will take place in the Black Box Theater at Staples High School on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 4 p.m.

The Players announced Tuesday that the group will offer a special pricing for the 4 p.m. Saturday matinee performance. Tickets will be $5 for both students and senior citizens -– discounted from the normal $10 for students and $15 for an adult.

David Roth and Kerry Long are directing the play of vignettes which will cap off the major productions directed by the team for the current school year.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Westporter Elected Chairman of Bridgeport’s WPKN

Westport’s Richard Epstein, dentist, bassoon player and broadcaster, was elected chairman of the board of Bridgeport-based WPKN Radio at its annual meeting.

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Richard Epstein: leads Bridgeport station. Contributed photo

A lifelong Westport resident, Epstein has been a programmer on the non-commercial community radio station since 1977, producing an eclectic musical show called “Sometimes Classical” that can be heard on alternate Wednesday afternoons from 4-7 p.m.

WPKN, which calls itself “The Real Alternative,” now in its 50th year of continuous operation, is a 10,000-watt station broadcasting at 89.5 FM and streaming on the Internet on http://www.wpkn.org. One of a handful of listener-sponsored full-time community radio stations in the country, WPKN can be found under the “Eclectic” category on iTunes radio and operates primarily with a volunteer staff.

In his spare time, Epstein is a bassoonist with the Norwalk Symphony, the Prevailing Winds woodwind quintet, and most recently the newly formed chamber music group, Nimbus Ensemble. (See WestportNow April 15, 2012)

05/22/12 10:35 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Inside Arts: Old Fashioned Happy Endings

By ina B. Chadwick

Into the woods, but not out, that’s my confession. When the first act was over in the current production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” at the Westport Country Playhouse, my husband, a dentist, had an emergency patient he had to tend to immediately. 

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While it felt like I’d be playing hooky if I left with him, he had the car. I left with satisfied smile on my face. I loved where I ended.

The first act of the “Into The Woods” is a beautifully wrought tale of fabled characters from famous tales that we all know, but they’ve all run into each other on the stage, and wound up outside of their own “story” and involved in other stories.

It is a puzzle of witches, distressed damsels, beautiful princes, barren couples, and an animal here and there that is empathetic rather than carnivorous.

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05/22/12 08:25 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Iranian-Born Author Addresses Westport Rotary

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Born and raised in a Jewish family in Tehran, Iran, Roya Hakakian came to the United States in May 1985 on political asylum. Today the author and Farsi poet who lives in New Haven told the Westport Rotary Club at the Westport Inn about her life and her most recent book, the “Assassins of the Turquoise Palace” (Grove/Atlantic) about Iran’s terror campaign against exiled Iranian dissidents in Western Europe. The book, which examines the 1992 killing of four Iranian Kurdish dissidents in a Berlin restaurant, was named a Notable Book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review. Her memoir of growing up a Jewish teenager in post-revolutionary Iran, “Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran” (Crown) was a Barnes and Noble’s Pick of the Week following its 2004 publication. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

05/22/12 07:11 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Recalling the 9/11 Tragedy for One Company

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Author Edie Lutnick, co-founder and executive director of the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, tonight addressed a Westport Public Library audience about her book, “An Unbroken Bond: The Untold Story of How the 658 Cantor Fitzgerald Families Faced the Tragedy of 9/11 and Beyond.” She said that among those who did not survive was her brother, Gary, 36 (on screen). “Cantor Fitzgerald has always been a company which invites employees to have family and friends as fellow workers,” she said. She added there were 22 sets of people who lost more than one person in the 9/11 tragedy. In all, Cantor Fitzgerald had 916 employees at the top floors of the World Trade Center – “658 didn’t make it out and 953 children lost at least one parent,” Lutnick said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

05/22/12 02:21 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Classical Music at Tea Time

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The Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities today presented “Classical Music at Tea Time” sponsored by Tauck World of Giving. Seventeen members of the Cumulus Chamber Ensemble Musicians performed before an enthusiastic crowd. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

05/20/12 09:39 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Playing for a Cause 4th Year in a Row

Rachael Shapiro, a senior at Westport’s Staples High School, will be holding her fourth annual benefit piano concert at the Steinway Piano Gallery, 501 Post Road East, on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. 

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Rachael Shapiro: playing at Steinway. Contributed photo

Rachael has raised more than $13,000 through her previous three concerts for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, and The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Research.  This year she is supporting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Donations and reservations should be sent to Rachael Shapiro, 606 Post Road East, #570, Westport, CT 06880. Please include your e-mail address so organizers can confirm.

Instead of tickets, a guest list will be kept at the door. Minimum donation is $30 for adults and $20 for students over 10. Advanced reservations are required.  Contact Rachael .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

05/19/12 02:16 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Playhouse Benefit Aids HEART Program

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Tonight’s Westport Country Playhouse performance of Stephen Sondheim and Jame Lapine’s musical “Into the Woods” included a benefit event for Westport-based Save the Children. Pictured (l-r)  are Michael Ross, Playhouse managing director, Jane Preiser, co-chair of the benefit, and Molly and Tim Howe. Funds raised were for Save the Children’s Healing and Education through the Arts or HEART program. Launched in 2006, HEART brings the proven power of artistic expression – drawing, painting, music, dance and more – to children in need around the world while helping them heal emotionally and learn critical skills, so they can achieve their highest potential. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Susan Warner for WestportNow.com

05/19/12 02:45 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Another Westport Cinema Initiative Screening Success

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The Westport Cinema Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to bring a movie theater to downtown Westport, tonight presented the film “Musical Chairs” in the Town Hall Auditorium. The screening was followed by a Q&A with (l-r) Edgar Orisorio, choreographer, Janet Carrus, producer, and Doug Tirola, Westport Cinema Initiative VP of programming. Many in the audience wanted to know when they would have a chance to see the film again, and how they could get the sound track. See more about the film here, and about WCI here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Amy Wong for WestportNow.com

05/19/12 02:09 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, May 18, 2012

WYFF Artists at Work

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Teens involved in the Westport Youth Film Festival (WYFF) today painted a backdrop for the WYFF live band music stage at the Westport Arts Center.  Bands are scheduled to perform all day at the festival in Bijou Square in downtown Bridgeport in conjunction with the Saturday, June 2 event. An events line up for the festival is available at www.wyff.net. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

05/18/12 09:59 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Storyteller

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Westport’s Landmark Academy Thursday night was the venue as six storytellers shared their touching and funny stories entitled “Traveling with Kids/Adventures in Parenting” as part of Ina Chadwick’s Mousemuse Storytelling Series. Joe Limone (above) is a frequent and popular storyteller for Mousemuse. Others telling their tales were Nancy Heller, Bill Bosch, Tom Fiffer,  Siobhan Powers Streams, and Tracy Darmofal. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Suzanne Sheridan for WestportNow.com

05/18/12 06:02 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sound of Jazz

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Frank Tolsdorf was among those performing tonight at the Westport Arts Center’s Jazz Jam series. The final session will be held May 31 at 7 p.m.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Stan Groner for WestportNow.com

05/18/12 02:09 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Arts Center Swings to Jazz Jam

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The popular Westport Arts Center Thursday Jazz Jam had its next to last Jam of the season tonight. The Jam was started last year with leader Brian Torff (3rd l, bass) as the sole regular. As the program developed, more regulars appeared as well as “walk-ons.” The final session will be May 31 at 7 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Stan Groner for WestportNow.com

05/18/12 02:04 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Westport Author Optimistic About U.S. Economy

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Westporter Daniel Gross told a Westport Public Library audience tonight he is optimistic about the U.S. economy. A former editor at Newsweek, he wrote the “Contrary Indicator” column, which he now writes for Yahoo! Finance. A member of the library board, he talked about his new book—his seventh—“Better, Stronger, Faster: The Myth of American Economic Decline.” “I look at the economy from the perspective of private vs. public institutions and from the view of an American historian, not an economist,” he said. He recalled that it wasn’t very long ago when Japan was the rising star, complaining about U.S. economic mismanagement and buying up iconic N.Y. skyscrapers and California golf courses. Today the Japanese are totally discouraged by their stagnation, he said. Now China is being held out as the star, despite its poverty in the backcountry, escalating labor costs, and energy starvation. He cited numerous examples where the United States is in better shape than China and Japan. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

05/16/12 02:02 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

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