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Arts and Entertainment

More Balls than You Can Shake a Stick At! Starting Tonight!

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Tonight at 9:30pm The Egyptian Theater will be home for the world premiere of The Secret Policeman's Ball Film Festival, beginning a four-week run covering three decades of comedic and musical performances.

British-born, now local impresario and Mods And Rockers Film Fest curator Martin Lewis likes to present a unique event and give his audience something they haven't seen before. Any man who can get all four members of the Rutles in one place at one time has to have some kind of sway. It's a talent Lewis has had at least since the time he began organizing benefit shows for Amnesty International in 1979.

Lewis and original Secret conspirator Neil Innes will be on hand for Thursday's opening night festivities at the Egyptian, which features the theatrical premieres of three short films revolving around the concert series. Knowing the kind of stuff they have in the vault, we're pretty excited to see Lewis' highlight reel, The Secret Policeman Rocks, which gets its world premiere, along with the US premiere of the 2004 documentary Remember the Secret Policeman's Ball, including commentary from many of the original participants.

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The Secret Policeman's Balls brought legendary British comedians (Billy Connolly, Peter Cook, most of Monty Python), and musicians (Pete Townshend, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, David Gilmour) together for a series of concerts that seem to have been fairly well documented through films and soundtrack albums. However the massive amount of material Lewis plans to present at his Secret Policeman's Film Festival, throughout the months of June and July at both the Egyptian Theater and the Paley Center, goes far beyond the few hours of footage available at your local video store. According to mojo man Martin Lewis:

Twenty of the festival’s twenty-five films will be receiving their World Theatrical Premieres at the festival. The festival will also screen the uncut US premieres of the three most recent Balls organized by Eddie Izzard as well as films and TV specials of Amnesty USA’s 1980s and 1990s music tours and concerts - several of which have not been seen anywhere for over twenty years and have never been released on video or DVD.

Over the next four weeks, Lewis will be unveiling all kinds of footage, virtually none of it screened theatrically before. Perhaps most unusual is the 11-hour re-broadcast of the entire Concert For Hope, an all-day affair from the summer of 1986 that included Gabriel, the reunited Police, U2, Fela Kuti's first public performance after being freed from a Nigerian prison, and a taking-no-shit set from a fiercely-booed Joni Mitchell that's one of the mellowest and one of the balllsiest things you've ever heard.

Remember, even though all of the info says Grauman's, it is the Egyptian Theater, not the now-Mann's Chinese Theater down the way and across the street. The films start tonight at 9:30pm at The Egyptian Theater 6712 Hollywood Blvd.

Elise Thompson contributed to this post