The idea of ​​Cirque du Soleil might conjure up images of extravagant live shows with clowns, acrobats and fire extinguishers. The company is trying to change that.

Cirque du Soleil has come out of the pandemic in rough shape. So it decided to build a broader, disaster-proof brand — aiming to sell not just shows but also sunglasses, perfume and video games, as my colleague Emma Goldberg wrote in a story documenting its transformation.

“Cirque is a funny example of an attempt at cultural reinvention because I don’t even think of circuses as trying to be relevant,” Emma told me. “They asked the question, ‘Why isn’t Gen Z interested in the circus?’ That almost feels rhetorical. It’s because 5-year-olds are in the circus.”

The decision came after months of meetings with consultants. Because they were talking about the circus instead of, say, banking, people dropped phrases like, “I think there’s a real chance to elevate the art of clowning” and “Don’t focus on the Circus, focus on the Soleil.”

However, the meetings succeeded in giving Cirque du Soleil a vast plan to transform itself. This week, the company will release a video game on the popular gaming platform Roblox. It produced a show last month for Motorola to present a new phone. It’s working on a line of home goods (think psychedelic curtains) and a TV documentary series (current title: “Down to Clown”).

“They say: ‘Forget the circus. Forget the red-nosed clown and the big tent and the popcorn. Think of it as an artistic statement,’” Emma said. “And they’re trying to channel that into selling consumer goods.”

Read Emma’s full story, which includes more brilliant photos from Cirque du Soleil performances, to see how the changes are going.

  • Benjamin Netanyahu had an unscheduled heart procedure to implant a pacemaker. Doctors said later that the Israeli prime minister was “doing very well”.

  • Netanyahu was expected to remain in the hospital for at least a day, casting uncertainty over his government’s deeply controversial plan to pass a law tomorrow to limit judicial power.

  • A mile-long column of demonstrators marched into Jerusalem to protest the proposal. Follow our updates.

  • In Spain’s elections today, mainstream conservatives may prevail, but they would most likely need hard-right allies to prevail.

  • Mismanagement and US sanctions have destroyed Venezuela’s oil industry, leaving behind leaking pipelines and polluted neighborhoods.

  • Belarus’s leader, Alexander Lukashenko, has further cracked down on dissent since crushing protests three years ago.

  • A man who was kicked out of a bar in Mexico for harassing women, witnesses said, returned later and threw a firebomb at the club, killing at least 11.

Algorithms in social networks deny young people the joys of research and discovery, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut argues

Many men struggle to make new friends. One idea to ease this loneliness: Go play pickleball, Michelle Cottle says

Smartphone apps and QR codes were supposed to simplify travel. Instead, they made it more annoying, Jessica Grose writes


Sunday’s question: Should No Labels run for president?

The group is effectively a proxy for Trump because it can weed out voters who aren’t enthusiastic about Biden, David Faris. writes in Newsweek. But Democrats are making the case against a third-party candidate so strongly that they can insulate Biden from its impactAaron Blake writes in The Washington Post.

Magical creatures: Studio Ghibli’s eccentric, enchanting animated films, theme park-style.

Hollywood’s secret weapon: Ann Roth is the costume designer behind iconic looks in “Midnight Cowboy,” “Working Girl” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Wheels of Fortune: Cheese is part of Switzerland’s identity. So why does it import more than it exports?

Promises: She dreamed of finding love at Whole Foods, but she discovered it on Twitter instead.

Lives Lived: Richard Barancik was the last surviving member of the Allied unit known as the Monuments Men and Women, which preserved European art and cultural treasures that Nazi Germany had looted. He died at 98 years old.

Joyce Carol Oates, one of America’s greatest living writers, is the author of the new short story collection “Zero-Sum”. I spoke with Oates, who is 85, about the legacies we leave behind.

In your book “On Boxing”, you have a line about how, for fighters, life is about the fight and the rest is just waiting. Do you feel this way about writing?

That’s a good question. It points to a philosophical issue of what is essential in our lives and what is existential or accidental. My husband was a professor, and we constantly talked about books. Even though we talked and talked for years, I don’t really remember that dialogue. All I have left of all that happiness is my writing from that time. It’s kind of a devastating fact. Everything you think is solid is actually fleeting and ephemeral.

Does it give you any comfort in knowing that you at least have those books you wrote during that period of happiness?

I suppose it has some comfort to it; otherwise, things would all be lost. If you read Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” Ovid writes about how, if you read this, I am immortal. You see that theme in Shakespeare’s sonnets: You are reading this, therefore I am still alive. In fact, they are not alive, they are gone. But while they were alive, they did have that extra dimension to their lives. That’s not nothing.

So having a body of work to leave behind improves the feeling that things are leaving your life?

I don’t know how to answer that. We are starting to lose people. That is the human experience, and you suddenly realize that the human experience will be yours experience When that starts happening to you, it’s pretty amazing.

Read more of the interview here.

Read your way: To soak up life on the streets of Salvador, Brazil, start with Jorge Amado, says writer Itamar Vieira Junior.

Our editors’ picks: “My Hijacking”, a memoir, and eight other books.

Times best selling: “Beyond the Story,” an oral history of the K-pop group BTS, debuts at the top of the hardcover nonfiction list.

To fortify yourself with the right gear for traveling with children.

help clothes last longer with a few washes.

stop thinking about work at 2 am; try distracting yourself or these other tips.

set up your wedding date with help from a growing trend: astrological guidance.

  • In addition to Spain, Cambodia is also holding elections today.

  • Israel’s parliament was expected to vote tomorrow on a divisive proposal to overhaul its judiciary, although Netanyahu’s hospitalization may change that plan.

  • The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates on Wednesday.

  • The president’s son Hunter Biden is scheduled to plead guilty Wednesday to tax-related offenses.

  • President Biden will host the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, at the White House on Thursday.

  • The Republican Party of Iowa will hold its Lincoln Dinner on Friday. Trump, DeSantis, Scott and other candidates are scheduled to speak.

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