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By Blake de Pastino

ON THE SURFACE: I was very busy the other night, gathering up moths in my home. Seven in one evening I managed to chase down and cup in my hands, as they lit against the windows. And all the while, of course, I got a chance to look at them: wings rich with feathery tones and powdery layers that I could feel on my skin as I carried them out the kitchen door. It's not often that we take time to consider things like form, texture and surface, let alone actually feel them; but these are the very themes of the latest show at Coleman Gallery. Known only as 4-Person Exhibition--because what it encompasses is so evanescent--this show brings together some keen eyes and light hands when it comes to capturing pure physicality: J Mehaffey, Joyce Shupe, Carol Fitzgerald and Sarah Gilman. From Shupe's economical sense of texture to Mehaffey's dense layers and cryptic messages, these are works made to evoke not only how they look, but also how they might feel. And you thought that meaning was all beneath the surface.

4-Person Exhibition opens Wednesday, June 18 at 311 Broadway SE. Opening reception Saturday, June 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. Runs through Sept. 4. Call 842-6712.

SERIOUS BUSINESS: What I love most about the art of comedy is how complex it is. Because really, anyone who has worked in comedy knows that it's not all laughs. And as if to illustrate both sides--the funny and unfunny--UNM is now undertaking a two-week seminar on the comic arts, featuring shows and lectures by some of the biggest names in the business. The funny part will come in the form of some truly cool appearances, like those by the Lily Tomlinish Susan Jayne Weiss and by the local dramatist and creator of "Laugh-In," Digby Wolfe. But the other, sorrier side of comedy will also be represented, as some of the unfunniest people in the business also have their say, such as the Albuquerque Journal's Jim Belshaw and the bow-tie-wearing pianist Mark Russell. Forutnately, there will be a bunch more lectures and performances by really good comic artists to make up for all that. I, for one, would bet that a workshop on custard pie-throwing would be funnier than Belshaw on his best day.

Laughing Matters, performances and lectures by comedians, is going on now and runs through July 3. This week, see the Montreal Comedy Festival All-Stars, Saturday, June 21 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in Rodey Theater. Tickets $20. For a complete listing of lectures and shows, see the Alibi Arts Calendar or call 277-3824.

NEW OPEN MICS: It seems like the spoken-word poetry scene around here just keeps growing, as new verse showcases continue to crop up. In the past month, at least two new events have appeared on the litany of Albuquerque's open mic nights. First, there's the new and semi-permanent open mic at Tulane Exchange, which takes place on the last Saturday of every month at 6 p.m. Having hosted some of the biggest book-signings and word-and-music specials, Tulane has made a welcome move by deciding to sport some local poetry on a monthly basis. Not to be outdone, though, there's also a brand-new venue called UFO Lab, a cozy courtyard in Old Town that sponsors new readings by featured artists every week, followed by an open-mic free-for-all. And speaking of free, you should know that both of these shows--like almost all open mics you'll find in Alibi's Books Calendar--will cost you nothing. Except maybe an hour of your time and a few brain cells. So consider spending one of these warm evenings in the presence of poetry and some pretty cool people. You'll be glad you did.

Visit Tulane Exchange, 111 Tulane SE, next Saturday, June 28 for an open mic at 6 p.m. Call 260-0792. And stop by UFO Lab's reading and open mic at 400 San Felipe NW, every Thursday at 7 p.m. Call 266-7514. For more info on local open mics, check Alibi's Books Calendar on the following page.

--Blake de Pastino

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