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A Pythonesque start to Mods fest

June 12, 2008|Randy Lewis | Times Staff Writer

The ninth Mods & Rockers Film Festival opens June 26 in Hollywood with the world premiere of "The Seventh Python," a look at the life and music of longtime Monty Python associate, former Bonzo Dog Band member and Rutles singer and songwriter Neil Innes.

The following night, Innes will play a solo concert in the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre, where the festival's mix of new and classic music-centric films will be run. "The Seventh Python" references Innes' close working and personal relationship with the six members of the British comedy troupe. The opening-night program also will include the first public screening of the film of the Bonzo Dog Band's 40th anniversary concert.

"I've always thought Neil Innes is the embodiment of the two finest aspects of the culture of the last 40 years: the music and the humor," festival organizer Martin Lewis said Wednesday. "It's still astonishing to me how few people know about him. There's no point in having a film festival if you can't use it to promote the people who are truly worthy of it."

In addition to the Innes salute, the festival will include the world premiere of the documentary "The Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd Story" (screening July 2), the U.S. premiere of "Love Story," a documentary of L.A.-based rock group Love and its mercurial leader Arthur Lee (June 29) and films highlighting the Athens, Ga., Rock scene featuring R.E.M., the B-52's, Exene Cervenka and Jack White (July 9).

To conclude the two-week event, Lewis is giving Mods & Rockers an American accent by including British documentarian Tony Palmer's 17-hour TV series "All You Need Is Love."

Palmer was a friend of John Lennon, who in the 1970s suggested to Palmer that he should explore in depth the roots of American pop music.

His 1977 series spans ragtime, jazz and swing through blues, R&B and early rock 'n' roll, including one episode with the Beatles discussing their American influences.

All episodes, will be shown over Independence Day weekend July 5 and 6. That portion of the festival has its own website, www.HappyBirthday America.us.

Information: (323) 466-3456 or www.modsandrockers.com.

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randy.lewis@latimes.com

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