We never really paid much attention to how animals get it on. Oh, we've seen the Discovery Channel programs on the mating habits of zebras and various birds, but we never gave much thought to birth control and stuff. After the wine-tasting sessions going on at tonight's Animal Attractions program at the zoo, we figure we'll be up for just about anything, including the specialists' lectures on how to tell the difference between a boy and girl baboon (we assume there's more to it than what you're thinking right now) and, yes, how numerous mammals are prevented from getting knocked up while in captivity. It takes place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's RainForest, 3900 Wildlife Way. Tickets are $35. Call 216-635-3324 for more info.
Friday, February 11
In their poetry collection, The Journey, Clevelanders Javon Bates and Bruce Ballard chronicle the separate paths their lives took, only to reach a shared destination. "This is straight from the heart," explains Bates. "We wanted everybody to take a journey through our lives." The friends alternate spilling thoughts on love, family, friendship, and religion. A second Journey is due later this year. "The journey continues," says Bates. "I want people to see what we're about and what we've gone through to accomplish our goals. Hopefully, they'll get something out of it, because it's inspirational." Bates and Ballard talk about and sign their Journey at 7 tonight at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 24519 Cedar Road in Lyndhurst. Admission is free. Call 216-291-2467 for more information.
Of all the things happening at tonight's Friday Night Live at Spaces -- including multimedia act Groop, art-poppers Meteah Strike, and DJ Deviant spinning tunes -- the most intriguing is the presentation by electronic ensemble the K.A.O.S. (Kinetic Amplified Organization of Sound). Using Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde as its framework, the group will mess around with blues, hip-hop, and jazz, and finally put a classical spin on the whole thing. Sacrilege? Maybe. But it should be interesting nonetheless. It all goes down from 8 to 11 p.m. at Spaces, 2220 Superior Viaduct. Admission is $5; call 216-621-2314.
Saturday, February 12
Memphis rockers Ingram Hill have become quite a touring behemoth over the past couple years. Since releasing its debut album, June's Picture Show, a year ago, the quartet has been on the road almost nonstop. Its bluesy blend of alternative and classic rock soaks in its storied city's roots, mixing three-chord riffs with Americana sentiment. It doesn't always distinguish itself, but it oughta kick things up a notch when it plays the House of Blues (308 Euclid Avenue) at 8:30 tonight. Tickets are $10, available by calling 216-241-5555.
Sunday, February 13
It may be the biggest dilemma kids will face all year: Should they make a valentine or a spider at today's Winter Family Fun Day at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland? In addition to the hands-on activities, junior Picassos and their parents will go on an Artful Treasure Hunt throughout the museum, searching for clues amid all the modern art and hopefully learning something about paintings, sculptures, and on-site installations along the way. Most inspiring is Jim Hodges' exhibition, which uses household items --light bulbs, mirrors, and pieces of clothing -- to create colorful and inventive new works. It happens from 1 to 4 p.m. at MOCA, 8501 Carnegie Avenue. Admission is free; call 216-421-8671.
Monday, February 14
Couples are encouraged to bring bottles of wine to sip while they nosh on the cheese and crackers that the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center will be providing at tonight's Love Is in the Air program. There'll also be live music to round out the Valentine's Day festivities. It all happens from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. within the romantic spider-and-snake-filled confines of the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village. Admission is $15; call 440-871-2900.
Tuesday, February 15
There really is no Mystique of Mardi Gras (as Touch of Elegance is calling its N'Awlins-themed celebration). You drink, you hand out a few beads, you drink some more, you fall down, and you do it all again. Pretty simple. But there will be plenty of live music, prizes, and a seafood buffet to put you in that party mood at tonight's fete, which starts at 7:30 and runs till 1:30 in the morning at Touch of Elegance, 1633 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. Admission is $30; call 216-851-5903.
Wednesday, February 16
Just because she's the daughter of late "Cat's in the Cradle" singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, it doesn't mean music was a foregone career choice for Jen Chapin. "I kinda felt the opposite," says the 33-year-old New Yorker. "It was there as an option. But there were a lot of other things that I was interested in. And I was very aware of all the challenges: the competitiveness of the business, the time away from home -- which is something I dealt with with my dad. I learned to give guilt trips at a very young age." Chapin eventually got over the whole "Cradle" thing and began to pursue her muse about a decade ago. "I realized that I wasn't going to be happy if I didn't," she says. "It was important to me, and I needed to be involved somehow." On last year's Linger, Chapin combines heart tales with political activism, R&B grooves with jazz improvisation. "I haven't learned my sound byte yet," she laughs. "I was trying to describe my music to someone who's never heard it, and he goes, Oh, it's funked-up chamber music.' What does that even mean? But I'm gonna try to use that one. It keeps people guessing." Chapin is at Nighttown (12387 Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights) at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 216-795-0550.