UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – The image is timeless Americana: Chuck Berry hunched over, ready to launch into his famous Duck Walk, picking his Gibson guitar and wailing a song.

It’s the image captured in the statue of the man considered by many to be the father of rock ‘n’ roll, dedicated Friday in the University City Loop area of suburban St. Louis.

Berry, now 84, still performs monthly at Blueberry Hill, a club and restaurant across the street from the new statue. He spoke only briefly at the dedication ceremony on a sweltering day as hundreds paid tribute to the St. Louis native.

“I don’t know how to speak — I can sing a little bit,” Berry, wearing his signature captain’s hat and bolo tie, said after thanking people for braving the heat to come out.

“I’m going to say thank you again and I love you all.”

Other legends of rock paid tribute to the man whose many hits included “Johnny B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Roll Over Beethoven” and countless others.

In recorded messages, Little Richard called Berry “the greatest entertainer in the world.” Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry called him “a national treasure.”

“When I had a chance to jam with him on his 80th birthday it was the highlight of my career,” Perry said.

Ron Isley of the Isley Brothers praised Berry as rock and roll’s leading pioneer in the ’50s. “He is the one that started the whole thing,” Isley said. “It’s the song, the dance, the songwriting, the producing.”

Berry was born in St. Louis in 1926. His first performance was at Sumner High School in 1941, said Blueberry Hill owner Joe Edwards, who spearheaded the drive for the statue along with KMOX Radio’s Charlie Brennan.

Berry began his career playing St. Louis-area clubs before landing a record contract in the mid-1950s. He later became an original member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Polanski won’t attend New York film festival

NEW YORK – Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” will open this year’s New York Film Festival.

The film is adapted from Yasmina Reza’s 2009 Tony Award-winning play “God of Carnage.” Shot in Paris earlier this year, it stars Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly.

It’s Polanski’s first film since being freed last year from house arrest in Switzerland. After arresting him, the Swiss government released the 77-year-old, rejecting a request to extradite him to the United States.

He still faces an Interpol warrant in effect for 188 countries for a 1977 child sex case in California.

Polanski isn’t expected to attend the New York gala.

The play “God of Carnage” is about a degenerating evening between two couples meeting after their kids were involved in a playground fight. Like the Broadway production, the film is set in Brooklyn. The original play was in French and set in Paris.

Richard Pena, selection committee chairman and program director, calls the film “a new pinnacle” for the director. Polanski’s directorial debut, “Knife in the Water,” screened at the first New York Film Festival.

“Carnage” will first premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September. Sony Pictures Classic will release “Carnage” later this year.

The 49th annual New York Film festival runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 16.