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Isla Vista Night

Isla Vista at night.

Isla Vista at night.

It is hard to capture in photos what it feels like to be in Isla Vista at night. The problem is not so much the part where the streets tend to  be very dark, it is that the sounds are critical to the atmosphere.

I have only a few weeks left here so perhaps in that time I can get the essence of Isla Vista in a single (or series) of photos.

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I.V. Halloween

It is hard to photograph Del Playa without using a flash.

It is hard to photograph Del Playa without using a flash.

Last night (and tonight) was Halloween in Isla Vista. It is renowned as being one of the best places to go for Halloween parties. Because of this many people come from out of town to descend upon the college town to partake in the festivities. Then it is no longer a great place to be since it is now full of strangers and some very unhappy people.

Walking along Del Playa, the major thuroughfair, there were several types of people: those with real costumes, those with last minute not really costumes (trash bag man), those with cheap store bought costumes (beer kegs) and people without costumes. Sprinkled amid all of these people, especially in the last group, were many unhappy people. 

They came to Isla Vista from some distant land hoping to find the holy grail of college parties, instead they find a city under police lockdown. Barricades block the major streets, drinks and props are confiscated (swords, scythes or anything pointy), flood lights wake the night and people just crowd in. Only a few have a place to go, many just walk up and down looking at people at first and then they just try to find a way through.

Jostled back and forth amid a push of poorly dressed bodies, waiting to hear from a friend who heard about this party somewhere nearby but first he needs to find out from his other friend where his cousin who has come from out of town went so they can regroup to head to this party, wait was that a stick of butter?

Sadly I feel that if you have been to one Isla Vista Halloween it does not really change between the years at the school. Sure there could be some unique costume but the only ones I was actually impressed with were my two friends, one was a stick of butter the other the Weighted Companion Cube.

Maybe where I find myself next year for this usually festive holiday will be a more congenial place.

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