Guy Laliberte Takes Clown Act to ISS

Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte blasts off for the International Space Station aboard a Russian spacecraft for what he calls a poetic social mission. In addition to a weightless juggling show, Laliberte is planning to coordinate from the ISS a 120-minute, 14-city show on Earth featuring former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Peter Gabriel and U2.

Wearing a large, red clown nose, Guy Laliberte took off early Sept. 30 for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz capsule accompanied by cosmonaut Maxim Surayev and American astronaut Jeffrey Williams. When the spacecraft entered orbit minutes after blasting off from the Baikonur launch facility, friends and family of the Cirque du Soleil founder sang Elton John's "Rocket Man."
That's just the beginning of the show Laliberte plans to bring to space during his 12-day self-proclaimed "poetic social mission," which allegedly is costing the Canadian $35 million. In addition to a weightless juggling show, Laliberte also said he plans to bring some levity to the usually somber space station operations, suggesting that he might tickle the ISS' crew in their sleep.
But the biggest event is scheduled for Oct. 9, when Laliberte plans to coordinate from space a 14-city show on Earth featuring former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Peter Gabriel and U2, seeking to raise awareness through "artistic illustration of the humanitarian struggles and solutions associated with water." Laliberte is founder of the One Drop Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that everyone across the planet has access to water.
The event will take place simultaneously in Montreal, Moscow, New York, Johannesburg, Sydney, Tampa, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Paris and London, as well as Santa Monica, Calif.; Tampa, Fla.; Mumbai, India; Marrakesh, Morocco; and Osaka, Japan. The 120-minute show will be globally broadcast, and will also be made available as a Webcast through the One Drop Foundation.
"The earth will gaze up at the stars and resonate to the rhythms of artists and world-renowned figures who will demonstrate their commitment to water and pay tribute to this vitally important natural resource," stated a Sept. 2 news release from Laliberte and the foundation.
Other performers who have committed to the event include actors Matthew McConaughey and Salma Hayek, singers Joss Stone, Elisapie Isaac, Helene Segara, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Michel Fugain, Lorie, Zazie and Natasha St-Pier, musical group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze, and poet Touria Ikbal.