First clown in space hosts show to save Earth's water

Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:43pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Wearing a red clown nose, the Canadian founder of Cirque du Soleil hosted an out-of-this-world performance event on Friday, saying he wanted to use his trip as a space tourist to highlight the scarcity of water on Earth.

Guy Laliberte's two-hour performance event called "Moving Stars and Earth for Water" linked the International Space Station with singers, dancers and celebrity campaigners in 14 world cities in what organizers called the first event of its kind to be hosted from space.

"I see stars, I see darkness and emptiness. But planet Earth looks so great, and also so fragile," Laliberte said from the International Space Station, where he has spent the past week after paying $35 million to fly on a Russian spacecraft and become the world's seventh space tourist.

"I decided to use this privilege to raise awareness of water issues," he said. "I believe that with true art and emotion we can convey a message."

Irish singer Bono, chatting with Laliberte from a U2 concert in Florida, called the former street performer "the first clown in space."

Former U.S. vice president and environmental campaigner Al Gore gave a video presentation on global warming and Brazilian singer songwriter Gilberto Gil sang in Rio de Janeiro.

Cirque du Soleil acrobats gave water-themed performances from Montreal and Las Vegas and dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet performed from Moscow in a show streamed on the Internet and broadcast on satellite TV in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

Laliberte, 50, whose money-spinning circus shows around the world have made him a billionaire, launched his Montreal-based nonprofit One Drop Foundation in 2007 to increase access to clean water worldwide.   Continued...

<p>Canadian spaceflight participant Guy Laliberte is pictured in the Unity node of the International Space Station in this photo taken October 5, 2009 and released by NASA October 8, 2009. REUTERS/NASA/Handout</p>