September 3, 2009

Circus Billionaire Taking His Act To Space

Canadian billionaire and circus entrepreneur Guy Laliberte seems to have lent credibility to the age-old stereotype depicting the fabulously wealthy as oddball eccentrics. 

On Wednesday, Laliberte announced that he will be hosting a live event from space on October 9 to help promote the cause of universal access to clean water and water conservation.

But outlandish as the stunt may sound, Laliberte is in good company. 

The creator of the incredibly popular Cirque du Soleil "” self described as a "dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment" - will be joined via satellite by environmental heavy-weight Al Gore, iconic rock band U2, British crooner Peter Gabriel and a number of other international celebrities from 14 cities around the planet.

The 50-year old entrepreneur is scheduled to blast off on September 30 with a Russian space expedition headed for the International Space Station.  Laliberte has reportedly dished out a whopping $35 million for the 11-day space odyssey, and will become only the seventh privately funded "space tourist" to enter orbit.

"I just hope that as a citizen of Earth, this will inspire people in a new way," said Laliberte.

In a live webcast news conference from the Russian capitol, the former street performer turned billionaire said that the two-hour live performance from the space station will be used to increase awareness and advance the cause of conserving the planet's scarce water resources.

For millions of people around the world "” particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia "” limited access to clean water and water-borne diseases is a devastating reality of everyday life.  By some estimates, between two and five million people die annually as a result of illnesses contracted from unclean drinking water.

Laliberte's own environmental foundation, One Drop, will be organizing the event which is scheduled to broadcast live acts from stages in London, Montreal, New York, Paris, Mumbai, Marrakesh, Johannesburg, Sydney, Santa Monica, Tampa, Mexico City, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro.

AOL.com has reportedly teamed-up with One Drop to stream the live performances via the onedrop.org website.


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