Thursday Night Stampede: There are those who insist that the thrill of racing as a spectator sport implicitly involves the vicarious flirtation with death--in other words, that spectators are gathered to see a crash. But we think fast cars--riding in them or watching them--are their own reward. The Texas Motor Speedway has geared its Thursday Night Stampede racing series toward the family, specifically the little ones who will hopefully not attempt to rekindle their childhood high of watching race cars with the first car they've saved for. Thursday Night Stampede features three divisions of Legends drivers from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana rocketing around a quarter-mile asphalt oval. There are celebrity matches each week with the likes of Walt Garrison and Randy White, as well as live music and prizes. The racing gets under way at 7:30 p.m. at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Admission is $1-$5; kids under six get in free. For more info call (817) 215-8500.
The Fifth Annual Governor's Exhibition and Stevie Ray Vaughan: Pride and Joy: Photographic Archives Gallery hosts a pair of photographic exhibitions that celebrate Texas scenes and a Texas icon. The Fifth Annual Governor's Ball is a prestigious showcase for Lone Star snappers that, since 1991, has annually made stops in 12 Texas cities. The 69 artists represented share no common theme beyond following their own eyes. On the other hand, all the images in Stevie Ray Vaughan: Pride and Joy are by one artist and of one subject. Houston photographer Tracey Anne Hart snapped the late Stevie Ray Vaughan for the last seven years of his life. Hart, whose photos of various bluesmen have graced the Austin Chronicle and The New York Times, presents 15 of her best pics. Both shows open with a reception August 1, 6-9 p.m., at Photographic Archives Gallery, 5117 West Lovers Lane. For info call (214) 352-3167.
Grapevine Antique and Collectible Toy Show: Press information for the Grapevine Antique and Collectible Toy Show promises that "Barbie, G.I. Joe, and Luke Skywalker will all be in attendance." The question is, if they're sitting at the same autograph table, what in the hell will they find to talk about? Anyone who's ever attempted to mix toys as a kid during play gets chilling dejà vu 20 years later when you throw your first unsuccessful party--in life, as in the toy box, chemistry is everything. Toys from the '20s through the '90s are on display at the Grapevine Show, including Tonka, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and other vehicles Barbie wouldn't be caught dead in even if her big plastic butt fit. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 South Main St. Tickets are $4. Call (817) 481-0454.
An Evening of Music and Fun: "Calendar" is calling this event "an evening of fun and adventure" with the utmost care, because it contains a mention of that senior tsunami called Dallas Tap Dazzlers. A couple of years ago, when some mention of Geritol was used in reference to this group of veteran tap dancers whose average age is 65, scrawled notes from Dazzlers personally challenging us to a tap-off came pouring over the fax. In the manner befitting a physically unfit coward, I didn't respond. But now the Tap Dazzlers are throwing down the gauntlet to raise money for Family Enhancement, a nonprofit therapy center that works with children in daycare and women in abusive relationships. Also on the bill for "An Evening of Music and Fun" are pianist Paul Hancock, an Irish dance company called Clann Lir, vocalist Barry Benton, and members of the Town North Men of Note Barbershop Chorus. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Garland Center for Performing Arts, 5th & Austin Streets, Garland. Tickets are $8-$10. Call (972) 231-0999.
Adventures With June and Scotty: Every season, the original works of Johnny Simons, artistic director of Fort Worth's 21-year-old Hip Pocket Theatre, offer audiences the chance to tour not only one man's childhood memories, but the history of North Central Texas. Adventures With June and Scotty is another tour of Fort Worth in the 1940s as Simons experienced it. A young man named Jimmy finds himself embroiled in all kinds of strange, impromptu events as he spends the night at the Lake Worth cottage of his beloved aunts June and Scotty. Adventures With June and Scotty is, as usual, a Simons show from top to bottom, with Johnny providing the set design and his wife, Diane, doing the costumes. The show runs Friday-Sunday at 9 p.m. through August 31 at the outdoor Oak Acres Amphitheatre, 1620 Las Vegas Trail North at 820 North, Fort Worth. Tickets are $5-$10. Call (817) 237-5977.
The Philadelphia The recent death of Jimmy Stewart wasn't a tragedy in the way we commonly understand that word. Stewart didn't have to die young, or have his efforts appreciated posthumously by succeeding generations--the man's life, especially in his later years, was one long achievement award from his legions of fans among movie audiences and his peers. Moreover, if you subscribe to the somewhat oversold theory that movie stardom grants you a kind of immortality, Stewart has dozens of his best moments etched in celluloid, or whatever decay-resistant stock Eastman Kodak has currently developed. For its first First Monday Classics screening after the actor's passing, The USA Film Festival screens George Cukor's The Philadelphia Story, in which the two legends with the funny accents--Hepburn and Grant--lock wits with the legend who mumbled and stuttered his way into the American popular consciousness. Stewart lived the kind of life in entertainment we should celebrate, not mourn. The screening starts at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 North Central Expressway. Tickets are $7. Call (214) 821-NEWS.
18th Annual Southwest Black Arts Exhibit: "If you want to have art, you need to spend money" has been the maxim of collectors since the first cave painting was purchased for a few hornfuls of bison fat. The African-American Museum in Fair Park smartly figures that this is also the best way to build its permanent collection of paintings, sculpture, prints, and photography. All African-American artists who submit work to the 18th Annual Southwest Black Arts Exhibition get the chance to compete for purchase prizes. In that way, the African-American Museum "purchases" works for its own collection. This year's Southwest Black Arts Exhibit was juried by folks from SMU, Rice, and Texas Christian University. The show opens August 1 and runs through October 31 at the African-American Museum in Fair Park. For info call (214) 565-9026.
Hump Day: "Hump For Your Health" goes the title of the new show by the improv troupe Four Out of Five Doctors, which tells you a whole lot about the sense of humor that's wielded at a typical Doctors' examination. What's being poked and prodded? Definitely your low brow, and if all goes well, your funny bone, too. The Dallas company launches its second free-form evening of sketches, song parodies, and audience-suggested improvisational bits in the summer 1997 "Hump For Your Health" program. As the title suggests, the humor sometimes careens into the bawdy, although it never quite reaches NC-17 rawness. References to body functions might seem to make Four Out of Five Doctors an ideal experience for a 12-year-old, but only mature audiences (or at the very least, immature audiences of legal age) are permitted. The performance happens at 8 p.m. in the Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 E. Mockingbird Ln. Tickets are $10. Call (214) 821-1860.
The Mollys: With a name like The Mollys, can you guess whence this quintet hails? If you said Ireland, you'd only be half right--spiritually, their brand of jig-along, rustic folk-rock places them squarely in potato famine country, but they actually call Tucson, Arizona, home. The Mollys have toured America and Europe for years now, hoping that the language differences won't stand out too much amidst the sledgehammer of roots rhythm they offer on their latest release, Hat Trick. The Irish paper Hot Press declares their style to be "Irish Tex-Mex," which says mucho about that country's fascination with our own geographic fusion of cultures. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Poor David's Pub, 1924 Greenville Ave. Call (214) 821-9891.