1. Chicago. July 13-25. The flashy costumes, sultry torch songs, and hot jazz numbers make sin look pretty appealing. Renowned choreographer Bob Fosse turned this tale of greed, murder, and corruption into one the best shows around. Set in jazz-age Chicago, the story of vaudeville vixen Vera Kelly absolutely sizzles. Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth. 817-332-2272.
2. Taste of Dallas. July 9-11. The 13th annual Taste of Dallas promises samples from some of Dallas’ premier restaurants, entertainment by a myriad of performers, and in general, a good excuse to explore the West End. Hailed as the area’s largest outdoor festival, this year’s Taste should be the perfect weekend diversion. Dallas West End District. 214-741-7158.
3. Silver Spur Maiden Stakes. July 25. The last Sunday in July is the last chance to catch the ponies before the spring season ends. Head out to Lone Star, pick a favorite filly, and bet a few bucks. Maybe you’ll walk away with a $30,000 prize yourself. Lone Star Park, Grand Prairie. 800-795-RACE.
4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. July 27-Aug. 1. The playful antics of the mischievous sprite Puck set the stage for, a great night of theater under the stars. What better way to enjoy the escapades of Bottom and Titania. Helena and Demetrius than underneath the warm evening sky on the lawn of Samuell-Grand Park? 3501 Samuel! Grand. 214-559-2778.
5. Sunset Boulevard. July 6-18. The life of aging silent-screen star Norma Desmond is a study m fame-and disaster. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s over-the-top adaptation of Billy Wilder’s 1950s film traces Desmond’s meteoric Hollywood rise and subsequent fall. Music Hall at Fair Park. 214-421-5678.
6. John Mellencamp. July 16. He started out in the ’80s era of tight pants, big hair, and overwrought sound, but John Mellencamp has always been better than the competition. From his rock anthem about Jack and Diane to his latest, R&B-inspired sounds. Mellencamp has proved himself a true American icon. Starplex Amphitheater, Fair Park. 214-421-1111.
7. Dollar Day at the Zoo. July 20. Lions and tigers and bears, indeed. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you can wander among the inhabitants of Dallas’ own menagerie. Dallas Zoo, 650 South R.L. Thomson Fwy. 214-670-5656.
8. Jose Navarro: One-man Exhibit July 1 -10. If it’s good enough for the British Museum, then it’s bound to impress us in Texas. Navarro’s works have not been shown in Dallas since 1992, but now you can visit the Spanish painter’s exhibit-and show the international art world that Dallas recognizes a star when it sees one. Craighead-Green Gallery, 2404 Cedar Springs. 214-855-0779.
9. Dave Matthews Band. July 22. Since 1991, the Dave Matthews Band has traveled far from its Charlottesville, Va. basement-rehearsal hall roots. Thanks to the band’s spectacular light show and melodious grooves, even sitting on the lawn won’t take away from what may be the best show to hit Dallas all summer. Starplex Amphitheater. 214-421-1111.
10. Star-Spangled Fourth. July 2-4. Fireworks are illegal inside the Dallas city limits- but don’t worry. The people in Garland still know how to throw a real Independence Day celebration. From acts like the Commodores and Lome Morgan to parades and midway rides- and fireworks-Garland brings in the Fourth in style. Williams Stadium, Stadium Dr. 972-205-2749.