By: G.H. Harding

Eric Idle

PYTHON RESURRECTED --- So, the original members of Monty Python team are going to reunite? Each time rumors of the surviving five Pythons getting back together have resurfaced over the years – a US tour in 1999, a sequel to the Holy Grail – hopes have been successively squashed as flat as a man with roses in his head beneath a giant animated foot. (In fact, Eric Idle once joked back that they would only do a reunion if Graham Chapman, who died of cancer in 1989, came back from the dead. “So we're negotiating with his agent.”)

But, in the way that no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition, later today Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin and Terry Jones are due to make an announcement at a press conference in London after months of secret talks.

Idle, Cleese and Jones have all since taken to Twitter to confirm that it is true. Jones went on to confirm it would be a live stage show and added with commendable honesty: “I'm quite excited about it. I hope it makes us a lot of money. I hope to be able to pay off my mortgage.”

There were 45 episodes of Python broadcast between 1969 and 1974, making stars of the young troupe and changing the face of British comedy forever. The problem, however, is that it went on not only to influence a generation of comedy writers and illustrators, but also to condemn generations of women to be trapped in the corner of bars while drunken second-year male chemistry students recited the Four Yorkshire men sketch interminably.

As time has faded, it has become possible to walk down the pavement without being accosted by people doing impressions of the Ministry of Silly Walks, or sit in a pub without having your vodka and tonic spilt by someone reciting “nudge, nudge, wink, wink”.

But a new live show threatens to bring this all back. Rather like John Cleese said before he transformed from comedy genius into the nation’s foremost alimony payer and all-round grump, "I enjoyed the sketches, I just couldn't take the fans."

Cleese once complained that he could not understand the adoration that many had for the show. “People talked about 'supporting’ Python as though we were a football team,” he is said to have remarked.

For me, I never quite got into the whole Python-thing; sure, I loved the movie Time Bandits (with great music from George Harrison; including the great song "Dream Away"), but, the rest, no, just didn't get into. The reaction to the announcement has been widespread … mixed for sure. Stay tuned!

BRYNE BENEFIT --- With the extreme damage that was done to the Philippines by the recent typhoon, it is only natural that David Byrne raise money for relief efforts with his musical about one of the country's most infamous women.

Here Lies Love is the story of Imelda Marcos who, though still admired by some, is best known as the symbol of extravagance during an era in the Philippines under her husband, Ferdinand Marcos. Byrne and Fatboy Slim turned her story into a musical which was originally released as a concept album in 2010. It opened off-Broadway at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre on April 23, 2013 for a limited run that ended on July 28. The show won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music and the Obie Award for Best Music and Lyrics.

Byrne has reassembled the original cast for the show for the benefit, which will be a concert version including original costumes but will lack some of the interactive design from the full stage. All proceeds from the show will got to Doctors Without Borders for their efforts in the Philippines.

Byrne said in a statement "The show is about the resiliency of the Philippine people­ – it couldn't be more timely. Upon hearing about this tragedy, the cast contacted me about doing a show to raise money for relief efforts. Most of our cast is Filipino, and all of us feel the same way. It's personal for all of us."

The concert will be Monday, November 25 at Terminal 5 in New York. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

CLOSING NOTES --- Nice to see Billy Joel returning to the stage for the first time in 8 years. He'll be at Madison Square Garden in January ...

STONERS -- The Rolling Stones will reveal their next round of live shows this Thursday with dates for Melbourne and Adelaide expected to be included for Australia. Mick Jagger put fans on alert yesterday by tweeting,“watch out tomorrow … should have some exciting gig news for you”.
Ronnie Wood, fresh from his NYC shows at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room, also told fans, “Thought you'd want to know that there’s some exciting @RollingStones news coming tomorrow.”

MAX FACTOR -- As instantly recognizable as Peter Max’s artwork is, his life story is not as well known. In The Universe Of Peter Max (Harper Design) Max details, for the first time, the large and small brush strokes of his life’s journey--in his own words. In this visual biography, Max tells his life story--from his birth in Berlin to a childhood spent in Shanghai to his odyssey to New York City, and his subsequent ascension into the celebrity-filled art world of the 1960s and beyond.

Max reveals intimate details of his life as they relate to the nature of creativity, and details how he has been able to see art in the everyday, and how you can, too. Vibrant artwork--some never-before-seen--accompanies the text, providing an illuminating, colorful look into the inspired life and times of Peter Max. We're loving it, as much for its terrific visuals, but for Max's own story. Sensational ...

MONKEE CORRECTION -- We just wanted to correct; Broadway's Donnie Kehr had the role of Zoser in Disney's AIDA before Micky Dolenz; we regret the error.