For 17 years trumpeter Bobby Lewis was the leader of Ears, the improvisational group that made its home at Andy's jazz club. Ears hung up their instruments last summer, but now Lewis is back, with a new release on Southport records. After many years of studio work with everyone from Curtis Mayfield to Natalie Cole, he's finally got his own album. Lewis and Southport will celebrate Inside This Song tonight with a show from 5:30 to 8:30 at Andy's, 11 E. Hubbard; cover is $3. Call 281-8510 or 642-6805.
If you bridle at the thought of handing hard-earned cash over to lawyers skip to the next item, 'cause a weekend full of lawyerly entertainment is approaching. First of all, it's your last three days to see Beauty & the Brief, the Chicago Bar Association's 1992 revue. Written, produced, and performed by local lawyers and judges, the show is a full-length musical that spoofs the public figures and events of 1992. It runs tonight and tomorrow with a dinner at 6:30 and the show at 8 (Sunday at 5:30 and 7) at the downtown Sheraton, 301 E. North Water. It's an $85 ticket. If the musical just whetted your appetite for attorney artistry, the Bar Association is holding a Sunday morning musical brunch, also at the Sheraton, with its symphony orchestra and chorus's annual Holiday Concert. Twenty bucks gets you a buffet brunch and an hour-long show starting at 11. Call 554-2000 for more.
If you're looking for a family activity this Christmas, how about a parent and child shark-dissection class? The Shedd Aquarium has a few (nonendangered) spiny dogfish sharks you can sink your scalpels into. The class takes place over two two-hour sessions, today and tomorrow starting at either 10 or 1. It's $25, $20 for museum members per parent-child pair. The Shedd's at 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive. Call 939-2426 for more.
At several points in Nicole Hollander's musical, Sylvia, a feline corps pranced about their owner's apartment singing, "Everything here is mine / This is mine / This is mine." (When a corresponding dog troupe hit the same set they sang, "Everything here is yours.") Hollander's new book, Everything Here Is Mine: Sylvia's Unhelpful Guide to Cat Behavior, takes its title from that production. She will be at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark, signing copies from 2 to 3 today. It's free, but the book is $7.50; 769-9299 for more.
Beret International Gallery owner Ned Schwartz writes that the success of tonight's art auction, Surprize! Surprize! Surprize!, "depends on the metaphors explored concerning the process of buying art (and everything else for that matter). We never really know what we have until we bring it home." Taking this phenomenon to the extreme, the items on the block will be wrapped and completely covered. Schwartz says bidders should take into account the artists' names, their resumes, and how the pieces are presented. The auction includes works from about 60 local artists, and runs from 7 to 11. It's free to go watch. The gallery is at 2211 N. Elston; call 489-0282.
The Museum of Science and Industry's Christmas Around the World celebrations continue today with holiday displays from no less than 41 countries in the rotunda and accompanying programs all day long. You can get a sample of traditional New Year's music and dance from the Tibetan Resettlement Project at 10, Romanian dances put on by Saint Mary's Romanian Church at 12:30, Danish Christmas customs at 2, Christmas in Bielarus (formerly Byelorussia) at 3:30, and more on Romania at 5. The standard admission of $5, $4 for seniors, $2 for kids applies. The museum's at 57th and Lake Shore Drive; call 684-1414 for details.
Irish rockers the Drovers, jazz duo Word of Mouth, and pop rockers the Ice Makers of the Revolution hit the stage at HotHouse tonight for a fund-raiser and food drive for the R.E.S.T. shelter for the homeless. It's $6, a dollar less if you bring a piece of clothing or a can of food. Things get under way at 8. HotHouse is at 1565 N. Milwaukee; call 235-2334.
More Christmas celebrations, happening all over the city: First off, downtown shoppers can sneak out for a short concert by the Chicago Teen Ensemble, a 12-person classical-musician group made up mostly of public-school kids. The show starts at 12:15 in the theater of the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, and it's free. Call 744-1424. Later today the World's Largest Office Party will fill the Grand Ballroom, Columbus Hall, and Wacker Hall at the downtown Hyatt, 151 E. Wacker. There you can cavort and imbibe with a variety of "celebrity servers," raising money in the process for needy kids. One of the big new features this year is a Variety Club-sponsored casino, featuring blackjack, roulette, and craps. The whole shebang runs from 3:30 to 9:30 PM, with the casino open from 6 to 10:30. It's a $7 ticket. Call 855-0885 for info. Finally, the Lesbian Chicago community center throws its annual holiday party at the group's HQ at Pat Parker Place, 1902 W. Montrose. The party runs from 7 to 10 PM, and it's free. Call 784-6037 for more.
Time's running out to see the impressive and original Art at the Armory exhibit. The show--18 installations of all manner of shape, size, and conception placed throughout the National Guard Armory's six floors--is a last hurrah for the armory, 234 E. Chicago, which is about to be demolished to make room for the MCA's new home. The current exhibit includes Michael Shaughnessy's overwhelming Da Fainne / Cruinnige Eirig (Gaelic for "two rings / gathered rising"), essentially a pair of 25-foot-tall hay Life Savers; Doug Hall's The Terrible Uncertainty of the Thing Described, your average video cum tesla-coil construction; and an eerie soul-of-the-new-machine-type construction called Womb Wars, by the collaborative group TODT, which takes up a significant chunk of the armory's parking garage. The show stays up until January 23; it's open noon to 5 Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday and noon to 8 Thursday and Friday (closed Monday, Christmas, and New Year's Day). Admission is $6, $3 for seniors, students, and kids, and includes admission to the MCA proper, 237 E. Ontario. It's free on Tuesdays. Call 280-5161 for details.
An art exhibit that examines the body as a "site of collision between the intellect and the senses" opens this week at the School of the Art Institute's Gallery 2, the school's showroom for students and alums. The participating artists in A Matter of Delicacy and Biological Family, say the folks at the school, "challenge the dominance of the intellect by choosing to accentuate the physical body. Many of the works address simple bodily processes and their psychological undercurrents to reveal substances both fascinating and repulsive. Through a preoccupation with the corporeal, the work reveals a heightened sense of mortality." The show's up through January 15, and open and free to the public from 11 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday, save Christmas and New Year's Day. Gallery 2 is at 1040 W. Huron; call 226-1449 for more.
If you're not celebrating Christmas Eve your social opportunities are fairly circumscribed, but here's a couple of suggestions: The Chicago Improv and Jewish Meeting Place magazine are sponsoring a night of Jewish comedy, starring Harry Teinowitz, Marc Unger, and Caryn Bark. The show starts at 8, and you're welcome to bring in Chinese take-out to go along with your two-drink minimum. Cover is $10; the Improv is at 504 N. Wells. Call 782-6387 for more. China Club's Xmas alternative starts at the same time. The evening, called Schmoozapalooza, includes a half dozen bands playing everything from reggae to oldies, a fashion show from Boogies Diner, temporary tattoos, game shows, lots of food, and other stuff. It's $12 at the club, 616 W. Fulton. Call 477-3100 for more. Same time, different place is the Oy Vay Alternative to Xmas Eve, at the new Allure nightclub, 223 W. Ontario. On the agenda are a couple of fashion shows, comedian Harry Teinowitz (who's pretty busy tonight), fab magician Danny Orleans, live music from the Soul Invaders, a performance by Johnny Vegas and his Disco Inferno Dancers, and lots of other goings-on. It's $12, $10 if you call in advance for an invite, at 935-6969.