Why I Despise the Cirque du Soleil I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds Cirque shows kinda cheesy. Now that they have a permanent home in Las Vegas -- along with Celine Dion (who everyone knows is cheesy) -- the cheesy argument is pretty easy to make. Cheesy isn't necessarily a bad thing--although, it gives cheese (a food I adore) a bad name. Cheesy doesn't hurt anyone. Being blatently socially irresponsible does. The Cirque pulled out of the Casino project late last week, after the release of the wishy-washy Coulombe report. The Coulombe report said that building the Casino in the Peel basin, in the poorest neigbourhood in Montreal (Point St-Charles), was probably a bad thing but they weren't against it or for it. Doh! The community of Point St-Charles really rallyed against this project (although The Gazette insisted on tainting everyone with the "activist" moniker, as if there wasn't grass roots opposition to this stupid, wacky project). As reported in The Gazette, the Cirque pulled out because "the project's many positive elements were overshadowed by the heated debate over whether the casino would help or harm Point St-Charles...." They then quoted the Cirque's CEO Daniel Lamarre. "I thought we had this debate in Quebec many years ago and decided as a society that gambling was acceptable. I'm not a politician, so I don't have to decide. I can build my project or not." Omigod. It's like he's saying I'm a big fat capitalist and I'll be damned if I'm going to be concerned about the social impact of my plans; if I have to be socially responsible, I don't want to play. Shame on you, Cirque du Soleil. And shame on the Loto Quebec and the City of Montreal. Now, if we could just get an outdoor pool for the kids of the Point, that would be a step in the right direction. Even better, how about a circus day camp for the kids in the 'hood, sponsored by the Cirque du Soleil?

1 comment:

AJ said...

I second that motion. Of course, it'll only come after more middle-classniks move into loft-arcologies along the canal and discover that local amenities are AWOL.

Why couldn't the Cirque build a permanent show there, _without_ a casino? As far as I know they don't have a permanent stage anywhere in Montreal, do they?

A gambling-free Cirque entertainment complex with world-class restaurants, concert halls, arcade attractions for the video generation, boutiques, upscale spas and a hotel (all linked via tramway to Old Montreal, downtown and the Expo islands via Nuns' Island, maybe?) isn't such a stretch of the imagination, is it?

Maybe even encourage a longer-term outlook by making residential units part of the plan (condo-hotel or even just condos) and the site could equally be a showcase, as planned, for high-energy-efficiency and green technology. All of this still creates jobs.