Mr. Jones Invades Atlanta…

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Thought you might like to see the poster for the 40th anniversary screening of Holy Grail, which also marks Terry Jones’ first visit! And if you can’t make it–or even if you can–he’ll also be appearing at Dragon Con Sept 5, 6, and 7!

@PythonJones @montypython #montypython

Terry Time Part 2!

TJIf you’re in the Atlanta area, you’re in for a huge treat. Terry Jones will be presenting a 40th anniversary screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the historic Fox Theatre the evening of September 8th. The announcement was just made a few hours ago and sales are extraordinarily brisk, but it’s a big place, and if you act quickly, you may even be able to score a VIP Package, which includes a Meet and Greet with Terry!

This may be the first public appearance by a Python in Atlanta in front of an audience. Terry Gilliam appeared at Dragon Con last year and I think was there in connection with a production of Spamalot, but as far as appearing in a theatrical venue–well, this is a first.
Unfortunately, you’ll also have to put up with me on stage with Terry, answering questions and–well, there are going to be some surprises, and you’ll just have to be there to see for yourself. The press release just went out, so I’ll reproduce it below, and hope to see you there!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOX THEATRE ANNOUNCES SPECIAL 40TH ANNIVERSARY SCREENING OF

MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL

Film Followed by Q&A with Python Terry Jones in His First Atlanta Appearance

ATLANTA, GA (August 19, 2015) – On Tuesday, September 8 at 7:30 p.m., the Fox Theatre presents a celebration to mark the 40th Anniversary of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” with a special screening of the film followed by a Q&A with cast member Terry Jones.

Regular tickets to the cult classic are $10, $15, and $20 (plus applicable fees) and are on sale now at http://www.FoxTheatre.org, by calling 855-285-8499, or at the Fox Theatre Ticket Office.

A limited number of $75 (plus applicable fee) VIP tickets will include premium seating for the screening and Q&A as well as an opportunity for a photo and autograph with Terry Jones.

Python Terry Jones will be making his first-ever appearance in Atlanta. In addition to co-writing and co-directing the film, Terry is featured as Sir Bedevere and assorted other silly roles.

Terry also directed “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” and “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life” as well as “’Personal Services,” “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” and “Erik the Viking.” His newest film, “Absolutely Anything,” featuring Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale, and the voice of Robin Williams, premiered in London last month.

Terry is also the author of several children’s books including the acclaimed “Fairy Tales” and “The Knight and the Squire.” His books on medieval history include “Chaucer’s Knight” and “Who Murdered Chaucer?” The multi-talented Oxford graduate has also presented a series of history-based documentaries, including “Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives” and “Terry Jones’ Barbarians.”

Terry will be accompanied by Kim “Howard” Johnson, author of “The First 200 Years of Monty Python” and longtime associate of the group, as he answers questions from the audience and promises lots of surprises.

Atlanta-based Museum Replicas will also present a display of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” costumes at the Fox Theatre that evening.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is also celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 20th Century’s most brilliant and outrageous comedy troupe with the “MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL: 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION” available as a limited edition gift set (featuring interactive castle packaging, complete with real catapult action & rubber farm animals) and in standalone Blu-ray packaging.

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About the Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre is one of Atlanta’s premiere venues for live entertainment and declared a Top Stop of the Decade by Venues Today Magazine and the #1 non-residency venue worldwide for the decade by Billboard Magazine. In April 2013, Rolling Stone Magazine announced that the Fox Theatre was one of “The Best Big Rooms in America” as part of their “Venues That Rock” series. In addition, The Fox Theatre was nominated for Theatre of the Year by Billboard and Pollstar Magazines, and awarded the Outstanding Historic Theatre of the Year award in 2011 by the League of Historic American Theatres. For the past decade, The Fox Theatre has been consistently ranked in the top three non-residency theatres in North America for gross ticket sales by industry trade magazines, Pollstar, Billboard and Venues Today. The Fox Theatre has the #1 social media presence for any theatre or performing arts center in North America, for any venue between 2,000 and 5,000 seats, and for any Georgia venue according to the Social Media Power 100 compiled by Venues Today Magazine. The Fox’s 4,678 seat theatre hosts 250 performances a year. An impressive range of events from rock concerts to Broadway, ballets, comedy and movies continue to attract more than 500,000 visitors per year. In addition, The Fox is host to wedding receptions, trade shows, corporate meetings and association functions in its fabulous ballrooms, lounge and outdoor terrace. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization, the Fox Theatre stands today as a fiercely protected landmark and a nationally acclaimed theater and is celebrating its 86th year. The Fox Theatre proudly acknowledges our partners for their generous support: Delta, Coca-Cola, Lexus, Georgia Natural Gas, Regions, Atlanta Beverage- Budweiser, Grady Health Systems, and The Georgian Terrace Hotel. Tickets for all events are available at The Fox Theatre Ticket Office, online at http://www.FoxTheatre.org , and at all Metro Atlanta Whole Foods Markets, or toll free at 855-285-8499. For group sales information contact The Fox Theatre at (404) 881-2000, or visit The Fox Theatre website at http://www.foxtheatre.org .
#montypython @montypython @PythonJones

Full Monty…

I mentioned recently that Python fans would have an opportunity this fall to see at least four of them in front of an audience. Michael Palin will be touring in England in September and October, John Cleese and Eric Idle will be performing in the Florida-Georgia-Virginia area in October, and Terry Jones will be making a rare U.S. appearance at Dragon Con in Atlanta September 5-7.

Did you think Terry Gilliam would be the only holdout? Fret no more. Terry will be in L.A. (actually, Glendale) to promote his new book Gilliamesque on October 19th at the Alex Theatre. Here’s the scoop.
Tickets will be going fast for this one, so don’t hesitate. If you enjoyed the John and Eric evening last year–or for that matter, if you’re reading my posts–what are you waiting for?
And in case you were wondering–I’m not done yet! I should have yet another announcement to post soon!  #montypython @ericidle @johncleese @pythonjones @montypython @terrygilliam #terrygilliam

Terry Time Pt. 1…

MandyI am delighted to announce that Mr. Creosote, Sir Bedevere, Brian’s Mum, and Terry Jones will be making an ultra-rare appearance in the U.S. in September! I can’t even remember the last time that Terry appeared before an audience in the U.S. (it may have been the last time I invited him over, in 2008-2009), so if you’d like to see him, you don’t want to miss it! Terry will be appearing at Dragon Con in Atlanta Sept. 5-7; I’ll be on hand for two one-hour sessions featuring Terry–and yes, there will be opportunities for autographs. Check out http://www.dragoncon.org, for more! @DragonCon @PythonJones

Pythons Apoppin’ …

The bad news is, when I wrote last year that the Monty Python Live shows at the O2 would be their final performances, I wasn’t kidding. If you held out for a U.S. tour, well, it’s not going to happen.

But it’s not all bad news. This fall is going to offer you the chance to see some of the individual Pythons live on stage in the U.S. and the U.K.

I mentioned previously that John Cleese and Eric Idle are embarking on a series of sit-down comedy dates in Florida and the lower eastern seaboard in October (info available at http://www.cleeseandidle.com). Dates are being added, but don’t delay.

U.K. fans can catch the nicest Python in September and October throughout England, with ticket info and schedules at http://www.themichaelpalin.com.

What more could you ask for? Well…check back here soon. Very soon, for another very special U.S. Python appearance. image

Say No More…

One of the great things about being a Monty Python fan is watching references turn up in all sorts of places. For example, in a Law 360 report of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s appeal of his prison sentence:
In the appeal, Blagojevich had contested many elements of the convictions on 18 counts in two trials, but the court brushed off the majority of the protests. For example, it rejected Blagojevich’s argument that his language on other counts didn’t qualify as extortion.

“ ‘Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, you know what I mean’ can amount to extortion under the Hobbs Act, just as it can furnish the gist of a Monty Python sketch,” Easterbrook said.
Nice to know that Judge Easterbrook is a fan. And, thanks to my old pal and current legal wiz Pat Cotter for calling my attention to it!
@ericidle #montypython @montypython
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PythonProv

It could have been a disastrous afternoon.

I was going to be teaching the very first PythonProv workshop at the iO Chicago, at the intersection of Monty Python and improvisation. I’m sure I was more nervous than my students. After all, how do you teach someone to improvise in the style of Monty Python?

I had a few reasons for optimism. If you can improvise Shakespeare, surely you can improvise Monty Python, and Improvised Shakespeare is one of the iO’s most successful shows. And, all modesty aside, I don’t know anyone who knows more about Monty Python and improvisation. (The glorious results of a misspent youth.)

But then, even the Pythons don’t improvise. They are meticulous writers, but the only improvisation they do is in the writing room.

So I had to wonder if I had bitten off more than I could chew, promising these students I could teach them how to improvise in the style of Monty Python.

And as I headed to the theatre this morning, I further realized that these students were part of the iO’s annual summer intensive, so I would be facing students from all across the country who had never improvised together before.

But when they started to arrive, I realized that I was wrong. True, they had never improvised together. But they were not from around the country. They were from around the world. So in addition to students from Pittsburgh and San Diego and Savannah, there were also students from England and Norway and Australia and Scotland. One of my students helped start the first improv group in Bulgaria!

But then we got down to it. It reminded me of one of my early classes with my pal Del Close. Del didn’t always know how things were going to work, but with the Baron’s Barracudas and his other students as his lab rats, he managed to figure it out. And, more often than not, he was right.

This time, I had a whole group of international lab rats to help me find our way through the process. We didn’t succeed with every scene, but more often than not, we managed to figure it out and learn how to keep improving. Even the students who weren’t as familiar with Monty Python were happy with the techniques they learned that could be applied to their more mainstream improvisation.

And by the end of the three hours, they were doing some excellent work, and I was starting to see the pathway to developing real PythonProv for performance.

And so, PythonProv is a thing, and not a disaster. Keep watching for more–I’ll be scheduling some full-length 8-week classes soon with the iO Chicago.

This is the beginning.

Best Movie of the Year (so far)…

…doesn’t have dinosaurs or superheroes or any of the usual superstars. Nevertheless, I HIGHLY recommend that you see Love and Mercy, the Brian Wilson biopic starring both Paul Dano and John Cusack as the leader of the Beach Boys. I thought I knew the whole story, but I never thought it could be told as well as this. It’s not likely to be in theatres very much longer; it’s drawn great reviews but small crowds, but it’s well worth going out of your way to find. You will thank me.

loveandmercy