- - Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cirque du Soleil performance set for Academy Awards

Aerialists, acrobats and contortionists are among the guests at this year’s Academy Awards.

Telecast producers Don Mischer and Brian Grazer say they’ve invited Cirque du Soleil to perform during the Oscar show, the Associated Press reports.

The three-minute performance will be among the international troupe’s biggest yet, said Cirque du Soleil special events director Yasmine Khalil, featuring more than 50 artists. Most Cirque shows employ 75 to 80 artists over two hours, she said.

Cirque du Soleil has a show in residence at the Kodak Theatre, where the Oscars will be presented on Sunday, but the performance planned for the awards telecast is “unique for this one evening” and not taken from any of the troupe’s 22 productions playing around the world.

Performers from those shows, however, are heading to Hollywood. Ms. Khalil said artists from Japan and Russia are flying in to participate in the Academy Awards segment.

Ms. Khalil wouldn’t reveal any specifics about the performance other than to say “the theme is very much in line with paying tribute to the movie-theater experience” and different from “Iris,” Cirque’s regular show at the Kodak Theater, which is billed as “a journey into the world of cinema.”

Like “Iris,” the music for the troupe’s Oscar performance was composed by Danny Elfman.

MSNBC drops Buchanan after four-month suspension

MSNBC dropped conservative commentator Pat Buchanan on Thursday, four months after suspending him following the publication of his latest book.

The book “Suicide of a Superpower” contained chapters titled “The End of White America” and “The Death of Christian America.” Critics called the book racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic, charges Mr. Buchanan denied.

MSNBC President Phil Griffin said last month that he didn’t think Mr. Buchanan’s book “should be part of the national dialogue, much less part of the dialogue on MSNBC.”

The network said on Thursday that “after 10 years, we have decided to part ways with Pat Buchanan. We wish him well.”

Mr. Buchanan, in a column posted on Thursday, called the decision “an undeniable victory for the blacklisters.”

The former GOP candidate had seemed increasingly out of place on MSNBC as it emphasized liberal commentary in recent years. But he kept a regular presence, even forging an unlikely chemistry with talk show host Rachel Maddow despite disagreeing on most issues.

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