Things To Do

Best Bets: Tattoos, Samara Joy and the Extremely Shorts Film Festival

Photo by Melissa Taylor
Stages mounts a production of Samuel D. Hunter’s A Case for the Existence of God through June 30.

Yesterday was World Otter Day, so before checking out any of this week’s best bets, our recommendation is to do yourself a favor and Google some otter-ly adorable pups for a little serotonin boost. When you come back, keep reading for our selections of the best things to do over the next week, including film festivals, plays and more.

Abigail Hing Wen, who penned the 2020 novel Loveboat, Taipei, will be present for the opening night of the HAAPI (Houston Asian American Pacific Islander) Film Festival when they screen the Paramount+ film adaptation titled Love in Taipei at 6 p.m. tonight, May 30. The festival, which continues through June 14, will feature more than 100 short and feature-length films from AAPI artists and filmmakers at both in-person screenings and also via on-demand online streaming. You can view the full film lineup here. Tickets to individual programming events are available here for $9.99 to $45.99, with passes also available for $99.99 to $199.

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Villain Arts' Houston Tattoo Arts Festival returns to NRG Center.
Photo by Mark Reyes
The 6th Annual Houston Tattoo Arts Festival returns to NRG Center on Friday, May 31, from 2 to 11 p.m. for three days of seminars, vendors, contests, and, of course, plenty of tattoo artistry on display from talented local, national and international folks. In addition to a dozen featured artists, you can expect special guests from shows like Ink Master and Black Ink, as well as entertainment including contortionists, burlesque performances, suspension acts, and more. The festival continues on Saturday, June 1, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, June 2, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Passes are available here for $20 (for a one-day pass) to $40 (for a three-day pass) and can also be purchased at the show.

Seemingly polar opposites, two men, a mortgage broker and potential client, prove to be more complex and similar than expected in Samuel D. Hunter’s two-hander, A Case for the Existence of God, which you can see at Stages on Friday, May 31, at 7:30 p.m. Hunter’s “must-see heartbreaker of a play” has been called possibly “the purest example yet of Hunter’s approach to playwriting as an experiment in empathy,” one set in “a post-boom, existential vastness in which emotional and economic collapse are conjoined.” Performances are scheduled at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through June 30. Tickets are available here for $48 to $88.

Aurora Picture Show’s Extremely Shorts Film Festival, a showcase of films three-minutes-long or less, returns for its 27th edition at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 31, at The Storyhive. New York City-based artist Lili Chin served as guest juror this year, selecting the films from an open-call, juried competition. The 29 short films Chin has chosen for this year’s festival include films from 11 U.S. states and ten different countries, such as Ukraine, China and Iran (not to mention five films from the state of Texas) with cash prizes given to Audience Choice and Juror Award. The program will be screened in-person a second time at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. Tickets are available here for $10 and, if you can’t make it, the films will also stream online here from June 7 to 9.

At only 24 years old, jazz vocalist Samara Joy has already drawn comparisons to icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. On Friday, May 31, at 8:30 p.m. Joy – whose second album, Linger Awhile, took home the Grammy last year for Best Jazz Vocal Album (with Joy claiming Best New Artist, too, topping artists like Måneskin and Latto) – will bring “the sheer depth and virtuosity of her singing” to Miller Outdoor Theatre for a free concert. You can reserve a ticket for covered seating beginning here at 10 a.m. today, May 30, or you can sit on the Hill (where no ticket is required). If you can’t make it, Joy’s performance will be livestreamed and you can catch it on the Miller Outdoor Theatre website, YouTube channel or Facebook page.

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Houston Chamber Choir debuts “The Voice of Brubeck” this weekend to close their season.
Photo by Jeff Grass
Dive into the classical works of noted jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck during the inaugural performance of “The Voice of Brubeck: Song of Hope and Peace,” a multi-year project that Houstonians can see on Saturday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. when the Houston Chamber Choir ends their season with Brubeck! A Celebration at Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall in Alice Pratt Brown Hall. It’s been almost 20 years since the choir brought Brubeck back to town to perform (after 20 years away) and now, 12 years after his death, they will perform a selection of his classical works, as well as his jazz pieces, alongside brothers Chris and Dan Brubeck (Dave’s sons), a 19-piece orchestra, Paul English and Horace Alexander Young. Tickets are available here for $10 to $45.

Welcome the 60’s and greet Baltimore a good morning starting on Tuesday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m. when Memorial Hermann Broadway at the Hobby Center brings the new North American tour of Hairspray to town. The comedy musical, based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name, tells the story of 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad, who dreams of dancing on a local TV show in 1962-era Maryland, and boasts numbers like “Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now,” “I Can Hear the Bells” and “You Can't Stop the Beat.” Performances are also scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 1:30 and 7 p.m. Sunday through June 9 at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available here for $35 to $140 (not including resale).

A classic 1954 Alfred Hitchcock film gets an update (or two), as the Alley Theatre officially opens a production of Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaption of Frederick Knott’s take on Dial M for Murder at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5. Brandon Hearnsberger, who plays the role of Tony, a man who wants his wife dead, recently told the Houston Press that the play is a “thriller, not a mystery,” and that it’s “brilliant in the way things happen and the fact that not anyone…is good, except for the inspector,” and even he “gets a little crafty for justice.” Performances are scheduled for 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 June 30. Tickets can be purchased here for $29 to $81.

If you’re looking for the full Dial M for Murder experience, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is screening Hitchcock’s film, starring Ray Milland and Grace Kelly, at 5 p.m. on two upcoming Sundays, June 2 and 9. You can get tickets to either screening here for $7 to $9.