We love belly dancers like the desert loves rain. Lucky for us, "Splash: Summer SMoCA Nights," on Thursday, June 23, at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts, quenches our thirst on both fronts -- metaphorically speaking. Along with performances by electronic duo Peachcake and DJ Maji, the Gamil Zarah Middle Eastern Dance Company performs a three-dancer choreographed piece -- "not typical for what you usually see in the Valley," according to dancer and choreographer Mahin Ciacca.
"It's a classic Arabic style. Our dance is not done in American belly dance fashion," Ciacca says. "But that doesn't mean we are at all subdued. Most of what you see in American belly dance is borderline stripping. Sensuality is confused with sexuality. And sensuality is okay in traditional belly dancing. But sexuality is not.
"We'll take the audience on an emotional ride," she adds, "which is why it's not boring to watch a 25-minute traditional performance."
"Splash" gives SMoCA visitors a chance to see the museum's Water, Water, Everywhere . . . exhibition, which continues through September 5, as well as new swimwear fashions by local designers, including Angela Johnson, Susan Di Staulo and Sommer Christine.
SMoCA is located at 7380 East Second Street in Scottsdale. "Splash" begins at 9 p.m. Admission is $15, $10 for SMoCA members. Call 480-994-ARTS. -- Joe Watson
Spank the Raven, Evermore
Rhythm Room pimps a birthday bash
Is this a birthday party or a love-in? Ask Bob Corritore about "Raven's Birthday Bash and Pimp 'n' Ho Costume Party" on Saturday, June 25, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School, and you'll find it's a little bit of both. "The amazing Raven is the pinnacle of sexiness. She's just a star without ever having to get onstage," says the R.R. owner. So slap on a costume -- pimp or ho, it's your choice -- and pay tribute to the buxom birthday girl/local jewelry maker (pictured), as Soulful Horizons and Johnny Rawls rawk the house, starting at 8 p.m. Admission is $10 if in costume, $20 if not. Call 602-265-4842. -- Joe Watson
Grace under pressure at Artplay
Tortured, lonely artists seeking solo exhibitions be damned. On Saturday, June 25, the creative souls at Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue, will be all about teamwork, as randomly chosen teams of playwrights, photographers, musicians, sculptors, painters and poets will be given three hours to create a five-minute work of "over-the-top, avant-garde" performance art, to be performed at 8 p.m. Admission costs $5. Call 602-262-2020 or visit www.thepaperheart.com. -- Niki D'Andrea
DJ gets lit -- English, that is
Rarely -- if ever -- does a rave promoter cite his college English Lit class as inspiration for an all-night affair in a local warehouse. But that's just what Thaddeus, a.k.a. "DJ THX," says was the impetus for "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" -- a celebration of house, drum 'n' bass, and hardcore techno on Friday, June 24, at an undisclosed location in Phoenix. "'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' is also a poem by William Blake, who I was first exposed to in college," says THX, 22. "He was rebellious, he was independent -- and I hope this event has a lot of both." Twelve Yorkville speakers on two stages will blast the live performances of 13 DJs, including THX, U.K. drum 'n' bass DJ Ricky Boy, Minneapolis' Centrific and Dr. Evil, and Arizona's own DJ Kore. The music starts at 9 p.m. and spins until 5:30 a.m. Call 480-330-9542 the day of the event. -- Joe Watson