Like Madonna and Cher, hip hop diva Micaya is known by one name and a sass-and-steel reputation. Hundreds of local dancers have trained with her or performed in the music videos, club gigs, and evening-length shows she's produced here over the years, including the now-5-year-old Hip-Hop DanceFest. With such a divergent dance presence, Micaya is in demand, so it's no surprise that the accomplished hoofer would form her own company, and in 2001, SoulForce, a collective of local performers (including other teachers) was born.
Through independent concerts and appearances, the emerging company has revealed its style, a blend of slinky show jazz and harder-edged hip hop. SoulForce offers three new premieres in this week's concert: the erotically charged Unconscious; Fur Fun, a celebratory piece set to Snoop Dog and Basement Jaxx tunes; and the theatrical Forever and a Day. Micaya's students and guest company Freeplay also perform. SoulForce steps out at 8 p.m. at the Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th St. (at York), S.F. Admission is $22; call 647-2822 or visit www.micaya.com. -- Heather Wisner
War -- what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, right? Nothing, that is, except good art. The state of current affairs provides, if little else, fodder for politically minded artists like Bella Feldman. "War Toys Redux," an exhibit of Feldman's miniature blown-glass and cast-iron armaments, is a case in point. She created a series of similar sculptures in 1991 in response to the Persian Gulf War, and the new collection is equally provocative, timely, and gorgeous. Despite their serious subject matter, the Lilliputian likenesses of weapons of mass destruction are whimsical, emphasizing the ridiculousness of combat. Cannon, for example, looks like both a toy truck and a military vehicle, making it a chilling reminder that some of our leaders treat war as if it's child's play. The exhibit opens with a reception tonight from 6:30 to 8, and runs through Aug. 17, at the Museum of Craft & Folk Art, Fort Mason Center, Building A, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is free-$4; call 775-0991 or visit www.sfcraftandfolk.org. -- Lisa Hom
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
Photographer to the scars
As San Francisco is to the rest of the country -- cooler, sexier, possibly more dangerous -- so Charles Gatewood's work is to the rest of the fine-art photography establishment. His 40 years of documenting the American erotic underground have made him famous, but not too famous to retain street cred with BD/SM practitioners, vampires, and extreme body-modification types. He has, over those many years, immortalized the Folsom Street Fair, the public sex clubs of New York in the 1970s, Burning Man, and blood sports. As interviewer Mark Kramer of Body Modification Ezine puts it, "An unblinking act of voyeurism more prolonged than Charles Gatewood's ... photographic career simply does not exist in art's visual lexicon."
Tonight, the artist attempts the near-impossible feat of attending three events in his honor in one evening. Is this egotism or enthusiasm? As with many of Gatewood's images, it's hard to tell what his motivations are. Could be community service-oriented generosity of spirit; could be the need to get laid. Could be both -- or something else entirely. Regardless, the night kicks off with an art show and reception featuring images curated by Gatewood from his private collection. He (and presumably everyone else) then adjourns to the film screening of Forbidden Photographs: The Life and Work of Charles Gatewood by Bill McDonald. Finally, the gang heads to a book signing and party for Messy Girls, Gatewood's latest volume. Start at the Lab, 2948 16th St. (at Capp); move to the Roxie Cinema, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia); and end up at Adobe Books, 3116 16th St. (at Valencia). Admission to the reception and to the signing is free, to the film is $8; call 863-1087. -- Hiya Swanhuyser
La Dolce Vita
Southern Italians are known for being temperamental and passionate, two qualities that characterize Nancy Karp + Dancers' La Traversa, which features the North Beach institution Green Street Mortuary Band. The third piece in Karp's series of homages to Sicily, the new work epitomizes the colorfulness of Sicilian marketplaces and the island's chaotic intersections. Karp cites, as inspiration, the Cadogan Travel Guide to Sicily, which states, "[S]top signs and stop lights are merely a suggestion." Check out the world premiere at Fort Mason's Cowell Theater; call 345-7575. -- Lisa Hom
Landscape photos aren't just pretty scenery; sometimes they're portraits of trash, as in David Broom's Sausalito prints. The Bay Area Photo Collective's "Landscape: Real or Imagined" show has both varieties. Elizabeth Corden's Aggregates series is the star: Piles of gravel stand in for pyramids, appear as negative space, or collide with an unexpected barn. Through May 31 at Focus Gallery. Visit www.bapc.info. -- Hiya Swanhuyser