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Best Bets: Seismic, Mid-Autumn Festival, and La Vida Es Cortos

TEATRX brings back their short play and short film festival La Vida Es Cortos/Life Is Shorts Festival, for its fifth year.
TEATRX brings back their short play and short film festival La Vida Es Cortos/Life Is Shorts Festival, for its fifth year. Photo by Melissa Taylor

We’re coming up on a new month, so in just a couple of days we’ll have to officially stop complaining that it’s too early for those Halloween decorations. Though we expect a little spookiness later this month, right now our best bets are anything but. From short plays and films to a festival enjoyed by millions, keep reading for this week’s list of our best bets over the next seven days.

If you’ve been imagining a collaboration between a jazz-funk bass player and a vibraphonist, imagine no more. On Friday, September 29, at 7 p.m. Asia Society Texas will welcome jazz-funk bass player Richie Goods and vibraphonist (and percussionist and composer) Chien Chien Lu, who will perform music from their January 2023 album Connected. On the album, “the two musicians offer imagery of love and hope via their profound and riveting musical conversation,” with Goods previously saying that he and Lu “balance each other out,” adding “we both want each other to be happy and feel good about the music that we’re producing.” A reception is scheduled for 7 p.m. with the performance following at 8 p.m. Tickets to the performance can be purchased here for $25.

A man with a stutter contends with a voice-activated car, a past-their-prime boy band reunite for an elementary school career day, and two men differ while trapped in a submarine – you can catch all these stories and more during the Manhattan Short Film Festival, which will play at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on Friday, September 29, at 7 p.m. The festival will screen at locations all around the world this week and the global audience can vote for the best short. The festival will be presented three more times at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, September 30, and 5 p.m. Sunday, October 1. Tickets to any of the screenings can be purchased here for $8 to $10.

This Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrate the work of Latinx artists at La Vida Es Cortos/Life Is Shorts Festival, as local theater company TEATRX’s short play and short film festival returns for its fifth year. In addition to the short plays and short films, this year’s festival will introduce La Vida Es Cortitos, a special program targeted toward audiences ages five and up. You can view the full festival lineup here. The festival is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 29, and Saturday, September 30, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, September 30, and Sunday, October 1, at The MATCH. La Vida Es Cortitos will be presented at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 30, and Sunday, October 1. Tickets can be bought here and are pay-what-you-will starting at $10 for the main festival and starting at $5 for Cortitos.

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A new work by composer Nicky Sohn will be included in DACAMERA's season opener.
Photo by Julia Gang

On Friday, September 29, at 8 p.m. DACAMERA will open their 36th season at the Wortham Theater Center with Awakenings: Mozart, Mendelssohn and Nicky Sohn. The program will feature the local debut of Isidore String Quartet and a new piano quintet by Sohn, a Houston-based composer (and one of the city’s “coolest people”) alongside Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Quartet in C Major, K. 465, and Felix Mendelssohn’s Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 44, No. 3. Mozart and Mendelssohn completed their pieces at the ages of 28 and 29, respectively, a fact that led Sohn to playfully note to Houston CityBook that she is “usually the youngest composer to be programmed” but is “going to be the oldest composer to be performed on this concert.” Tickets can be purchased here for $37.50 to $67.50.

They’ve got nothing but time in Samuel Beckett's tragicomedy Waiting For Godot, which opens at 8 p.m. Friday, September 29, at The Catastrophic Theatre. Charlie Scott, who will take on the play for the fourth time, recently told the Houston Press that the play is “one of those works of literature that people jump away from like cactus,” but notes that Beckett’s work “speaks to the very basic psychological and physical state when we are waiting. Waiting for the bus or the Uber or the test results from the doctor, it speaks to that sort of limbo we find ourselves in.” Performances will continue at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and October 2, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays and October 14 through October 14 at The MATCH. Tickets are pay-what-you-can here with a suggested price of $35.

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ROCO opens their season with a program titled Seismic.
Photo by Ray Kuglar, Courtesy of Blueprint Film Co.

ROCO will be “Making Waves” throughout their 19th season, which opens at 8 p.m. this Friday, September 29, at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The program, titled Seismic, will include a commission from Anthony DiLorenzo, a rescored trio by Kevin Lau, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. You can reserve a covered seating ticket here starting at 10 a.m. today, September 28, or you can plan to sit on the no-ticket-required Hill. If you can’t make it to the free performance, you can catch the show on the Miller Outdoor Theatre website, YouTube channel or Facebook page. The concert will be performed a second time on Saturday, September 30, at 5 p.m. Though the performance is at capacity, you can still enjoy a livestream of the concert straight from The Church of St. John the Divine.

Millions across East Asia observe the Mid-Autumn Festival (sometimes known as the Moon Festival or Lantern Festival) by gathering with family, eating moon cakes, and more. On Saturday, September 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Asia Society Texas will host a Mid-Autumn Festival just for Houstonians, and the family-friendly, rain-or-shine event will feature speakers, performances (including jazz music, Chinese opera singing, poetry and Hanfu), activities (like lantern-making, bracelet-making, and coloring sheets), storytelling, Taiwanese artists and photography, a parade and – of course – faux mooncakes. Admission to the festival is free (and includes access to two exhibits: “Explore Asia” and “Tsherin Sherpa: Spirits”), but registration is required here. You can also purchase food and drink onsite.

In José Cruz González’s play American Mariachi – which (due to some unfortunate COVID-related cancellations) will open at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 3, at the Alley Theatre – a group of women are inspired to become mariachis despite the fact that it isn’t that female-friendly in the play’s 1974 setting. Briana J. Resa, who plays the character Boli, told the Houston Press that “the whole theme of the show is how music is memory and how music can connect us,” adding that her character’s journey as well as the play are also “about female empowerment” and “having the bravery and the courage in the face of a lot of no." Performances will continue at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and 7 p.m. Sundays through October 22. Tickets can be purchased here for $26 to $81.

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Natalie de la Garza is a contributing writer who adores all things pop culture and longs to know everything there is to know about the Houston arts and culture scene.