Laugh Riot

The same year in which we surrendered our last pair of footy pajamas, we didn't laugh on New Year's Eve.
Instead, with one hand over our eyes and the other gripping a plastic glass of cold duck, we shivered in terror through a New Year's Eve marathon of black-and-white horror movies presented by Svenghouli (kill the brain, you kill the ghoul). Now that we have a valid drivers license and a taste for duck-less bubbles, we're free to laugh as we flush another year down history's bowl--in package form. Four Day Weekend, Fort Worth's acclaimed improvisational comedy troupe, has assembled a swell New Year's Eve laugh package: party favors, a champagne toast, a ticket to a future Four Day Weekend show, a Four Day Weekend T-shirt and dancing after the late show. Four Day Weekend is a six-man seat-of-the-pants comedy troupe that in 1996 swallowed the bold ambition of bringing world-class improvisational comedy to the Southwest. Today, the group performs regularly at its own 212-seat theater inside the former Caravan of Dreams space in Fort Worth. So, on New Year's Eve, make your way to 312 Houston St. in Fort Worth's Sundance Square. Shows are at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and admission is $65 per person for the early show and $70 per person for the late show. Call 817-226-4329 or go to You'll be scared if you don't. --Mark Stuertz

Tales From the Edge

Riddle me this: What do you get when you cross the last name of the next president of the New-Knighted States with the last name of the legendary comic, goofball and recently confessed prescription pain medicine addict, who looks puffy if not bulging on television and who really loves kids but not in the same way as Michael Jackson loves kids? You get Dean Lewis, a Dallasite comic by night and, by day, a regular with Jagger and Julie on The Morning Edge on KDGE-FM (102.1). Lewis is bucking the cheap sentimentality of Christmas week with acerbic stand-up at the Addison Improv from December 26 through December 28. No mistletoe. No eggnog. No fat Santa (or Jerry) jokes. "Gravy, though," Lewis says, "is the origin of the Texas accent." Lewis relates offbeat theories such as, "Marriage is the reason for all crime," in his act, delivered (except on a bad night) in a seamless, narrative style. "I knew I was destined for show biz at the age of 6," Lewis says, "when I saw Jonathan Winters, Alan King and Bill Cosby on TV." Call the Improv, 4980 Belt Line Road, at 972-404-8501 for tickets, which are $15 on Friday and Saturday and $12 on Sunday, and show times. --Annabelle Massey Helber

The Piano Man
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will send executive director Ann Koonsman off in style December 31 at its seasonal "New York New Year's Eve" concert. And what better way to say goodbye than with a guest performance by Van Cliburn, a Cold War hero/pianist/humanitarian guy? Tickets are $29 to $99 and are available online, by phone and through the box office, 330 E. Fourth St., Fort Worth. The show will be at Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Call 817-665-6500, ext. 128, or visit --Mary Monigold

Murder Most Fun
Someone's going to get killed on New Year's Eve at Grapevine's Convention Center. OK, OK, maybe that's a bit too much hype. Actually, what will take place is the 16th annual Murder Mystery Gala and Dinner sponsored by the Runway Theatre. You can ring in '04 with a presentation of Patsy Daussat's Some Enchanted Evening: Murder in Martinique while enjoying the buffet, the midnight champagne toast and even a silent auction. The doors open at 6 p.m.; the play begins at 8 p.m. Call 817-488-4842. --Carlton Stowers

Bad Vibrations
Boomers bring in the new year
with the Beach Boys


New Year's Eve weather tends to be chilly, and Dallas is about as landlocked as it gets, so ringing in the new year with the Beach Boys is either some sort of pipe dream/escapist fantasy or just a cruel joke. Then again, the current incarnation of the band is kind of a cruel joke. Their latest publicity photo features a rather smug-looking Mike Love surrounded by seven guys for whom a determined Internet search turned up zilch, not even their names (but it's probably safe to say that none of them has the last name Wilson). Of the original lineup, Dennis and Carl Wilson are dead, Brian Wilson is a borderline recluse (but does seem to be getting better, according to those who saw his recent performances) and Al Jardine and Love are busy trying to sue the wallets off each other for the rights to milk the nostalgia cow that has become the Beach Boys trade name. So if you're willing to shovel out the big bucks to say you ushered in 2004 with the Beach Boys, don't get your hopes up for any of that Pet Sounds magic. Love will have to add another dozen members to the band before he can pull off most of those pop gems. Instead, settle in for the fluffier pap of "Good Vibrations," "California Girls," "Help Me Rhonda" and the excruciatingly wretched "Kokomo." The show includes a buffet dinner and a champagne toast at midnight. It happens Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Lone Star Ballroom at the Adam's Mark Hotel, 400 N. Olive. The show is 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $145. Call 972-881-7177 or visit --Jay Webb

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