Night and Day: Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Robert Downey Jr. is reborn as Iron Man at North Richland Hills Public Library’s new film series.
The cast of I Love a Piano at Artisan Center Theater.

There are so many open-to-the-public New Year’s Eve parties going on this evening that we gave them their own section in our Calendar listings. McDavid Studio is serving a late-night breakfast to accompany the festivities, but the best bet looks to be across the street at Bass Hall, where the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is performing Latin music with drummers and dancers. Check our Calendar for times, locations, prices, and phone numbers.

The Stockyards Cham-pionship Rodeo puts on performances just about every weekend throughout the year at Cowtown Coliseum, but this weekend they’re holding the finals in bull riding, barrel racing, roping, and bareback bronco riding. The event gets started on a Thursday when there’s almost nothing else going on, so if you’re looking to do something on New Year’s Day, this is your best option. The competition runs Thu-Sat at 121 E Exchange Av, FW. Tickets are $10-20. Call 888-269-7969.

More than 15 years after its stage debut in California, I Love a Piano finally enjoys its premiere here. Weird that this musical revue featuring 64 — yes, 64 — of Irving Berlin’s songs should be named after a song that’s basically a rip-off of Berlin’s own “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” especially in light of the songwriter being such a bad pianist. It’s also weird that the show took so long to get here; it’s not as if Berlin’s music suddenly fell out of fashion. Anyway, the show is being put on by Artisan Center Theatre, Dec 31-Jan 31 at Belaire Theater, 420 E Pipeline Rd, Hurst. Tickets are $6-15. Call 817-284-1200.

Robert Downey Jr. is being pushed heavily for awards for his work in Tropic Thunder. Amazing as he was there, we think his best performance was in Iron Man as the eccentric playboy who becomes a haunted superhero, though he’s still more fun than Bruce Wayne. The film kicks off a series of screenings (with free popcorn!) for families at the North Richland Hills Public Library. The show starts at 2pm at 9015 Grand Av, North Richland Hills. Admission is free. Call 817-427-6814.

The First Sunday Film Club opens 2009 with a screening of the old warhorse Casablanca this afternoon. Did you know that Warner Bros. shot six episodes of a TV series in 1983 based on the film? It starred David Soul as Rick, Hector Elizondo as Capt. Renault, and Scatman Crothers as Sam, and its story served as a prequel to the events in the movie. Someone should put those out on DVD. The film starts at 2pm at Fort Worth Central Public Library, 500 W 3rd St, FW. Admission is free. Call 817-871-7701.

Much of Tarrant County heads back to work today, so we wondered who’s going to be available for the Poets of Tarrant County meeting this morning. But then we reflected that, with the way the economy is going, there might be more people than usual who are out of a job and in the mood to write verse about their troubles. The meeting is at 10am at First United Methodist Church, 800 W 5th St, FW. Admission is free. Call 817-921-9322.

If you’re handy with a needle, or even if you’ve just got a sewing machine that you’re not using, Onstage in Bedford needs your help. The troupe is holding a sewing party this evening to make costumes for their upcoming production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. You can participate even if you don’t know how to sew, and you’ll be repaid with free pizza and good conversation. The event is at 5:30pm at Trinity Arts Theater, 2819 Forest Ridge Dr, Bedford. Admission is free. Call 817-354-6444.

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