PULLMAN, Wash. — The Visual, Performing and Literary Arts Committee of Washington State University announces its 2002-03 series, “The Art of Love.” During the coming year, VPLAC will offer seven diverse events celebrating the many faces of love–romantic love (requited and unrequited), familial love, mystical love and love of homeland.

Wednesday, Oct. 2 — Hamza El Din, the premier oud player and father of Nubian music, inaugurates the series with “Clarity: An Evening of Music With Hamza El Din.” Much of El Din’s music is inspired by his love for his native Nubia, an ancient land now submerged under the waters of Lake Nasser in Egypt. First discovered by Western audiences through his performance at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, his music is revered by artists as diverse as the Grateful Dead, the Kronos Quartet and Japanese singer Shizuru Ohtaka. The free event will be in Bryan Hall Theater at 8 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 7 — Poet Aliki Barnstone will read from two of her poetry books, “Madly in Love” and “Wild With It.” Her first collection of poetry was published when she was 12. Her adult poems have been described as “passionate, freighted with longing and doubt in which the will to love breaks all molds.” Barnstone’s free reading is in the Compton Union Building, Room 203, and begins at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 13 – The Cashore Marionettes wrap up the fall portion of the VPLAC series with “A Celebration of Life.” Creator and manipulator Joseph Cashore has taken puppetry to a new level with creations that make audiences forget they are seeing inanimate objects. In a series of vignettes, performed to classical music, the Cashore Marionettes depict a wide range of human and animal emotions. The free performance is appropriate for older children and adults and is scheduled for 8 p.m. in Kimbrough Concert Hall.

Tuesday, Feb. 12-15 – Thomas Meloncon, a nationally renowned playwright and poet, comes to WSU to view a production of his play “Johnny B. Goode.” On this night, VPLAC will join the University Theatre to celebrate Black History Month and with Festival Dance to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Set against the backdrop of the production, Meloncon also will read from his poetry and plays, including his long-touring play, “The Diary of Black Men: How Do You Love a Black Woman?” Dancers and musicians from the WSU School of Music and Theatre Arts will accompany him. The free event begins at 7 p.m. in Jones Theatre at Daggy Hall.

Friday, Feb. 14 – VPLAC and Festival Dance present Ballet British Columbia’s version of the story ballet “The Faerie Queen,” adapted from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The score is arranged and adapted from the Purcell opera, “The Fairy Queen,” along with original compositions. The production is at 7:30 p.m. in Beasley Coliseum. The event is free to WSU students with student ID. Other tickets are $16 to $30 for adults, $10 to $30 for students, and $8 to $30 for children under 12.

Saturday, March 1 — VPLAC offers a tribute to Women’s History Month with a performance by the music ensemble, Bimbetta. The five talented women (three sopranos, a cellist and a harpsichordist) have received critical acclaim for their performances of the vocal and instrumental music of Monteverdi and other Barogue composers. They combine beautiful music with contemporary theatrical devices with feminism and humor, leading one critic to describe a Bimbetta performance as “a blend of cabaret, commedia dell’arte and MTV Unplugged.” Their free concert, “Forbidden Ground,” begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Hall Theater.

Saturday, April 5 — The Washington Idaho Symphony will conclude the VPLAC series with a concert, “From Russia With Love.” It will feature Prokokiev’s march from “The Love For Three Oranges” and Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty Ballet Suite,” the “Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy,” as well as the letter scene from “Eugene Onegin,” which features soprano Julie Wieck of the WSU School of Music and Theatre Arts. The performance is scheduled for 8 p.m. in Beasley Coliseum and is free to WSU students with student IDs. Other tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 18 and under. One child is admitted free with each paying adult.

Free performances are general admission, while seats for paid performances are reserved. Ticket prices, which vary according to performance and seat location, can be purchased at all TicketsWest outlets or by phone at 1-800-325-SEAT. Washington Idaho Symphony tickets may be purchased at 1-800-949-ARTS or visit its Web site at www.c-5.com/symphony for more information.

For more information, call Beasley Coliseum at (509) 335-3525 or check its Web site at www.wsu.edu/beasley.

VPLAC is funded with WSU student services and activities fees, in-kind support from the Office of Campus Involvement and the School of Music and Theatre Arts. For more information, contact Marty Mullen at (509) 335-2313 or by e-mail at mullen@wsu.edu. Also, visit VPLAC’s Web site at cub.wsu.edu/VPLAC.