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Insanity Circus Brigade Inspires Creative Reveling

Isla Vista’s Biko House Takes Carnival Atmosphere to the Streets


The weird are winning the good fight!” cheered Satory Palmer. Indeed, they were. The Insanity Circus Brigade, a carnival organized by Erin Rosenthal (the founder of the troupe Berzercus) began at the Biko House in Isla Vista on Sunday, May 23 and marched to parks in the neighborhood, bringing with it the strange and wonderfully colored upheaval that only a carnival can bring on a merry spring afternoon.

Rosenthal said that her goal in rounding up the circus was to help people “access their creative side and break out of themselves.” About sixty people joined the festivities. There were supplies to make masks, food and drinks; it was a neo-tribal event. Neo-tribalism is the idea that human beings evolved to live in tribes and form natural tribes around, say, flags — and the one standing center there was particularly freaky.

Some celebrators wore fox tails pinned to their jeans — others strung bangles from their skirts. Local bands Sprout, PLOTZ!, Acabella and Oso brought live music to the park, and people danced, lounged, spun fire from chains, or hula-hooped. There was a 15 foot tall geo-dome in Biko’s yard, as well as aerial rigging. Local businesses took part in the event: Echo and Megan from Raw Sangha served tea.

Revelers said the only thing missing was more company; many people from Isla Vista shirked away from the weird troupe marching down the road. “Join us!” they cried, as the good citizens locked their doors against the African drumming provided by Panzumo Entertainment.

It was refreshing to see such lively partying. Most celebrations in Isla Vista involve drinking in a completely unoriginal way — this however, required a creative engagement sorely missing from other festive activities. Even though people were performing acrobatic feats and flinging fire through the air, there were no injuries, which can rarely be said of a typical, tumultuous Isla Vista gathering.

This upcoming summer, they plan on putting together a creativity collective, which will meet weekly. They are looking for motivated individuals who would like to come together and collaborate artistically, as well as have a good time.

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