Rethinking the Circus – The New York Times

When you think of Cirque du Soleil, you might think of spectacular live shows featuring clowns, acrobats and fire-breathing. The company is trying to change that.

Cirque du Soleil has emerged from the pandemic in rough shape. So the company decided to build a larger, more disaster-resistant brand. As my colleague Emma Goldberg wrote in an article documenting the transformation, it aims to sell not only the show but also sunglasses, perfume and video games.

“Silk is an interesting example of an attempt to reinvent culture, because I’m not trying to make sense of the circus,” Emma told me. “They were asking, ‘Why aren’t Gen Z interested in the circus?'” It feels almost rhetorical. Because five-year-olds are obsessed with the circus. “

The decision was made after months of meetings with consultants. They were talking about the circus, not banking, for example, so people dropped phrases like “I think there’s a real opportunity to elevate the art of clowning” and “Don’t focus on silk, focus on soleil.”

Still, the conference succeeded in giving Cirque du Soleil a radical plan to transform itself. This week, the company will release a video game on the popular gaming platform Roblox. The company produced a show last month where Motorola unveiled its new phones. The company works on homewares (think psychedelic curtains) and a television documentary series (currently titled Down to Clowns).

“They say, ‘Forget the circus.’ Forget the red-nosed clowns and the big tents and the popcorn. Think of this as an artistic expression,” said Emma. “And they’re going to use that to sell consumer products.”

Read Emma’s full story, including stunning photos from her Cirque du Soleil performance, to see how the changes are coming.

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Joyce Carol Oates, one of America’s greatest living authors, is the author of a new collection of short stories, Zerosum. He asked Oates, 85, about our legacy.

In your book On Boxing, there is a line that says that for a martial artist, life is all about fighting and the rest is just waiting. Do you feel the same way about writing?

that’s a good question. It refers to the philosophical question of what is essential to our lives, what is existential, and what is incidental. My husband is a professor and we always talked about books. We talked for years, but I don’t remember much of that conversation. The only thing that left me with all that happiness was what I wrote about that time. It’s kind of a devastating fact. Everything that you think is solid is actually fragile and ephemeral.

does it give you something Is it comforting to know that you at least have the book you wrote during those happy times?

I think there is some comfort in that. Otherwise, all will be lost. If you are reading Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Ovid writes that if you are reading this, I am immortal. Shakespeare’s sonnets have that theme. If you’re reading this, it means I’m still alive. In fact, they are gone, not alive. But they had a special side to life while they were alive. It’s not for nothing.

So, does having a lot of work left to do improve the feeling that things are missing from your life?

I don’t know how to answer that. We start losing people. That’s the human experience, and you suddenly realize that the human experience is like this. your experience. When it starts happening to you, it’s quite amazing.

Read the rest of the interview here.

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