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STAFF PICKS: Pima Community College showcases its best in-house artistic talent with Faculty Highlights.

That talent includes Linda Caputo, a supreme colorist whose illusive imagery reaches deep into the palette, from green expanses that suggest spring's emergence to another shade evoking envy or greed. Trish Wann manipulates color, allowing forms to emerge and develop into a "symphony of color and rhythm."

Selina Littler is a longtime Rancho Linda Vista luminary who uses everything from sticks and mud to animal bones for her pieces that "explore the natural history of the earth, reminding us of its fragility and our own vulnerability."

Faculty Highlights runs through October 3, with an opening reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, September 7, in the PCC West Campus Art Gallery, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Call 206-6942 for information.

BOOKSTORE BALLYHOO: Tucson's acclaimed Bloodhut Productions unleashes a free dramatic teaser in Antigone Books.

This is a rare chance to glimpse these gifted thespians gratis, when the improvisational troupe unveils a short set of new pieces including Life of the Party and A Feminine Protection Puppet Extravaganza. There will also be an impromptu--and no doubt unnerving--game of "Truth or Dare" as part of this fundraising event.

The performance is at 7 p.m. Friday, September 8 in Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave. For information, call 792-3715.

HISTORICAL LOVE: Take a romantic journey into the past--and meet best-selling writer Karen Harper--at the Clues Unlimited bookstore.

Harper will sign and discuss her latest book, Tidal Poole. She's a former English teacher and the author of several contemporary suspense and historical romance novels. Her Elizabeth I series has won widespread kudos for its authentic, believable and detailed portrayal of those heady times, and especially for its lively characterization of the future queen as a brassy and brilliant detective.

The free signing runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, September 7 at Clues Unlimited, 123 S. Eastbourne Ave. in Broadway Village. Call 326-8533 for details.

MIND WARP: Gloating about your grip on the big picture? Think again, when Dr. Tod Lauer of the Kitt Peak National Observatory discusses the Great Yonder's darker side with The Search for Massive Black Holes.

Nope, we're not talking about your bank account. These are the wild and weird galactic voids into which time, space and even our smug sense of universal order routinely disappear. Lauer will shed light on the fantastic phenomena as part of the UA Steward Observatory's long-running lecture series, followed by a chance to glimpse the heavens through a 21-inch telescope.

The free talk is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, September 11 in Room N210 of the Steward Observatory, on campus near the corner of Cherry Street and University Boulevard. For details, call 621-5049.

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