Saturday, February 28, 2009

The greatest voice on radio

"Hello, Americans. You know what the news is. In a minute, you're going to hear... the rest... of the story." Up until last week, we were saying those words along with him in the car at 7 pm while we were waiting to hear one of our few, maybe our only, radio appointments, with The Rest of The Story, and try to figure out who he was talking about before he revealed the name at the end. Paul Harvey was an old kook with a very interesting background, with early years including a Section 8 mental illness discharge from the Army Air Corps during World War II and other shenanigans, and up until the end he was the greatest voice on radio. Whenever we were our there in a car somwhere in America, whether we were barreling through Kansas, speeding across Texas or on the road to Vegas, we'd cut the music around noontime and search the dial for his Paul Harvey News & Comment, which was about the most American thing you can ever hear when all you see is sky and the highway ahead of you. His reports were the best-written on radio and television both, witty and economical, with a point of view and full of quirky pauses and internal punchlines. Recently the local ABC affiliate started running Mike in his news spot and it wasn't the same. You know Mike, the radio veteran, the guy who wanted to be president. Only you know him as Mike Huckabee and that's why we changed the station and now you know... the rest... of the story.

Good day!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Seventh Python producer says film festival selections and awards will lead to new screenings

More news from The Seventh Python front: The City of Chicago and The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival are gearing up for the arrival of the acclaimed nonfiction film from our pals at Frozen Pictures, which is being featured in a prime festival showcase on Saturday night, March 7th. Frozen's already got a team on the ground laying down promotion in the Windy City as the film's selection for the prestigious CIMM Fest competition slate has shined an international spotlight on the hilarious and moving flick-- and the man at the center, legendary and still-vital pop satirist and Monty Python collaborator Neil Innes.

And on the heels of the Python's Golden Ace Award from the upcoming Las Vegas International Film Festival, Seventh co-executive producer Keith Walker announced today that film, which also stars Python alums John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones, will be screened for the general public as well as distributors during the Las Vegas festival, which runs April 9-12.

"Since we've already been honored with the Golden Ace, we won't be screening the film in competition at the Vegas fest," Walker tells us this morning. "But this prestigious award has gotten a lot of people asking where they can see it in Vegas. We're arranging screenings in a movie theatre. We'll be inviting the cast of the Beatles' Love show from The Mirage, some folks who worked with Spamalot when it was in town-- and a magician or two."

The Atlanta-based Walker, a veteran producer who's the Southern and East Coast emissary for the LA-based Frozen Pictures, says he's also arranging screenings in his hometown.

"Atlanta's been Monty Python country from the beginning. Spamalot, which includes Neil's music, is coming to town next month. Elton John's got a place here. And we've got a great music and film scene. Folks can't wait to see The Seventh Python."

Watch this space for details for announcements about Los Angeles and other cities.

(The Seventh Python will also be shown March 28th at 11 a.m. at the
NY Metro Fest for Beatles Fans, the world’s largest Beatles fans convention. Director Burt Kearns and producer Brett Hudson will be on hand for the screening in the ballroom of the Meadowlands Crowne Plaza Hotel— along with Neil Innes himself, who will be performing and signing autographs throughout the weekend.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

A major film festival award for The Seventh Python

The Seventh Python has picked up a major prestigious film festival award as it begins a new round of screenings across the country.

The musical nonfiction film about legendary pop satirist and Monty Python collaborator Neil Innes has been named winner of the 2009 Las Vegas International Film Festival's Golden Ace Award.

The festival judges announced that the film from our pals at Frozen Pictures “demonstrated superior and standout filmmaking and is deserving of special recognition” as one of the best among nearly 2000 films submitted from over 50 countries around the world.

The Las Vegas International Film Festival takes place from April 9th to 12th. The Seventh Python director Burt Kearns and producer Brett Hudson will be featured at the awards ceremony and will soon announce Las Vegas screening dates for the film that weekend.

Fans across the country will also have the chance to see The Seventh Python in coming weeks.

The film, which featured Python alums John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones, along with Innes fans and friends like Aimee Mann and Simpsons creator Matt Groening, has been chosen as an official selection of the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, and will be screened in competition on March 8th. Director Burt Kearns and producer Brett Hudson will be on hand to discuss the film after the 8 p.m. screening.

The Seventh Python will also be shown March 28th at the NY Metro Fest for Beatles Fans, the world’s largest Beatles fans convention. The screening in the ballroom of the Meadowlands Crowne Plaza Hotel will take place at 11 a.m.—an “early bird special” for festivalgoers, by popular demand after a similar showing at the Chicago Fest drew more than a thousand people and a standing ovation.

Kearns and Hudson will be there— along with the star, Neil Innes himself, who will be performing and signing autographs throughout the weekend.

The Seventh Python was the opening selection of the American Cinematheque's 2008 Mods & Rockers Film Festival. Watch this space for announcements of more screenings leading up to the crowd-pleasing movie's inclusion in the Revelation Perth International Film Festival in July.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fox cancels winner of first courtroom series Emmy to make room for Republican politico talking head with scandal-plagued background & worse ratings

We read today that Warner Brothers Television has sold its courtroom strip series, Judge Jeanine Pirro, to the Fox Television Stations for next fall. The show had been running on Fox's CW Daytime lineup, and news isn't earthshaking at all-- until you read between the lines and realize what's been sacrificed to make way for the new arrival.

We've learned that the Fox Television Stations Group has canceled another courtroom strip show to make room for the former Westchester County DA and legal expert on Fox's recently-canceled The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet. They've given the axe to Cristina's Court, the series featuring crossover Latina star and legal eagle Cristina Perez.

Cristina's Court was doing a 1.1 household rating.

Judge Jeanine Pirro has been doing a 0.6 household rating.

Last year, Cristina's Court won the first-ever Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom series-- beating out Judge Judy (for whom the category was carved out).

Judge Jeanine Pirro is a dyed-in-the-wool Republican politico.

Cristina Perez is a rare crossover star from the Spanish-speaking Telemundo network, the first Hispanic TV judge to cross over to English-language television.

Jeanine Pirro is the former district attorney for Westchester County whose political career was burdened and often flummoxed by the philandering escapades, mental problems and criminal acts of her now ex-husband, Albert. She was still married to Albert when she announced in 2005 that she would seek the Republican nomination to challenge first-term Senator Hillary Clinton.

Cristina's Court generated buzz with its "Sex on The Bench" ad campaign.

Jeanine Pirro's unsuccessful run as Republican candidate for New York Attorney General was complicated by a federal probe when it was revealed she'd wiretapped her then-husband because of his philandering.

According to the Syndicated Network Television Association, Cristina Perez ranked as one of the most trustworthy and influential syndicated hosts on television, ranking second behind Oprah Winfrey among adults 18 to 34 years old.

Republican adviser and Fox News president Roger Ailes is also chairman of the Fox Stations Group, and calls the shots on what runs on the stations.

Wouldn't it be a nice twist for Cristina's Court to pick up another Emmy?

Monday, February 2, 2009

"ENOUGH!" Another death on Palisades Drive

There was another death this weekend on Palisades Drive in Pacific Palisades, the long mountain road off Sunset Boulevard near the PCH that leads up to the posh Palisades Highlands housing development where stars like Ray Liotta, John Mayer and Steve Guttenberg reside. According to the LA Times: "an 18-year-old Pacific Palisades resident died after he lost control of his car and spun into oncoming traffic.

Nicholas Rosser was driving on Palisades Drive near Sunset Boulevard on Saturday when he collided head-on with a pickup truck at 5:50 p.m., said Lt. Cheryl MacWillie of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Rosser was pronounced dead at the scene."

This is apparently the third death on the road since 2007, and all three fatalities involved a student at Palisades High School (no alcohol or drugs were involved in any)-- including a recent incident in which a Palisades High School kid ran over a woman on his bicycle in the early morning hours.

Locals have been trying for years to get the LADOT to do something about the dangerous conditions on the the unlit, unsafe racetrack that's creepily lined with memorials to the victims of its twists and turns (Ray Liotta himself was arrested for DUI back in 2007 after he slammed his Escalade into a couple of parked cars on the road).

One parent has a Flickr page dedicated to lives lost on the deadly two-mile stretch ("People Die on Palisades Drive") and pointing out that "center dividers, sidewalks and bike lanes would go a long way to fix this problem."

And today a group including top Hollywood scribe Steve Zaillian is demanding action from local officials like Bill Rosendahl (the same ones who pat themselves on the back for spending our money on costly Tsunami Hazard Zone signs) and is holding a meeting tonight.

There's a meeting tonight. Here's the email notice we just received:

Dear Neighbors:

After the occurrence of another fatal accident on Palisades Drive (Saturday) we are requesting immediate action by the City of Los Angeles to implement safety measures on Palisades Drive and Sunset Blvd.

A meeting will be held at Rustic Canyon Park, Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, 8:00 PM, Gallery Room. We want to discuss possible solutions to traffic issues on these high risk streets, and send a letter to City officials requesting immediate action. Those of you not able to attend, we know you are as concerned as we are, so please forward the attached letter to Councilman Rosendahl ( and Mayor Villaraigosa ( with any changes you deem appropriate.

Please forward the attached letter to all of your contacts in the Palisades / Brentwood area.

Thank you for you concern.