Raise money for Alive Rescue (good) while getting into freezing-ass water (good?) this morning (10:00am) at North Avenue Beach (North and Lake Shore Drive); you can do the Shiver Swim (full plunge) or the Chicken Dip (ankle deep stroll). Your $25 entry fee benefits Alive Rescue and earns you a goody bag and bragging rights; the party continues at O'Briens (1528 N. Wells Street) afterward with appetizers and drink specials.
Movie podcast and radio show Filmspotting records a live 2012 wrap party at the Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave. oin hosts Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen, plus special guest Michael Phillips and musical guest Abraham Levitan for a look back at the year in film. Doors open at 12:30pm, show begins at 2pm. Tickets are $10.
Local banjo player and leader of the Al Scorch Country Soul Ensemble begins his Winter Slumber series, a two-date residency at the Empty Bottle, this afternoon. Scorch has enlisted a "damn respectable roster of Chicago musicians" to improvise new songs and try new arrangements on old songs. Admission is free, and the music begins at 2pm both this afternoon and on January 27. Empty Bottle is located at 1035 N. Western Ave.
The 12th annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, aka Sketchfest, runs Jan. 3-13 at Stage773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Four stages feature six shows apiece beginning at 2pm today; see the full schedule for details. Tickets to each show are $14, or purchase a Sunday day pass for $45.
The International Contemporary Ensemble performs Shadowgraph: Octets by Franz Schubert and George Lewis at Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., today at 3pm. Free; see our preview in Transmission.
The 16th annual Fillet of Solo Festival runs Jan. 3-20 at the Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., and the Heartland Studio Theatre, 7016 N. Glenwood Ave. Tonight's performances are Sweat Girls at 4pm at Lifeline, and Kim Morris at 4pm at Heartland Studio. Tickets for each show are $10, or buy a festival pass for $30.
Bar Novo, 1 W. Wacker Dr. in the Renaissance Chicago Hotel, is hosting its first-ever Jenga Challenge tonight from 5 to 7pm. Free sign-up at the door; winners will receive prizes.
Revelation Records celebrates its 25th anniversary with Rev 25, a two-day music festival at House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St. Tonight's lineup stars Texas Is The Reason, Into Another, Sense Field and Popeye of Farside. Tickets are $33 in advance, $37.50 day of; two-day passes are available for $66. Doors open at 7, show's at 8pm. 17+
Here's the Story presents unscripted, old-fashioned storytelling -- as well as a potluck -- the first Sunday of every month. This month they're at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., to make room for Chicago Sketchfest at Stage 773. Tonight's show features Jamila Woods, Emanuel Vinson, Amanda Rountree and Darren Stephens, plus five readers who sign up at the show. The potluck starts at 7:30pm, and the show starts at 8pm. Admission is $8 or free if you bring food.