“In I.V., the population is always continuous. It changes like every four years,” said D.J. Palladino, a volunteer adviser for Isla Vista’s newest arts and culture periodical, WORD. Much like the college town from whence it came, WORD embodies a free-flowing and rejuvenating rhythm. It all started when Kim Yasuda, a UCSB art professor, picked up a vulgar issue of I.V. Lifestyle in the fall of last year. Shocked and offended by the sexist images and promotion of alcohol binging that was supposed to portray Isla Vista, Yasuda launched a call for action.
With Yasuda’s backing, and with the help of I.V. Arts’ Acting Director Ellen Anderson and longtime Independent contributor D.J. Palladino, a course was created to help redefine and override the popular misrepresentations of I.V. living. Starting out with zero students and little more than discussion-based meetings, the class grew in one week to about 15 students, and WORD was born. Completely student-run, WORD recently published its second issue and has already garnered the title of “Most Creative UCSB Organization” by the UCSB Offices of Student Life.
The magazine features different stories concerning the hidden I.V. scene, all presented in a friendly and creative way. Art Director Sadie Raber has worked to make the design cutting-edge and experimental, saying, “I also didn’t want to limit myself creatively every issue, so I have allowed the design to evolve a bit. : In other words, I didn’t want to get stuck to a certain formula and feel bound by that.” With stimulating photographs to accompany the articles, WORD introduces its reader to the real Isla Vista. The mag’s premiere issue hit stands in early spring and featured the famed albino raccoon on its front cover. Issue 2 kicks off summer with informational pieces on the Berrilicious Mural, the M.I.P., and Sabatage. Raber and editor Michelle Kitson admit to have contributed immensely to the production of WORD, but overall they maintain that the magazine is “the brainchild of 12 UCSB students.” The “adults” who were involved in the production could often just sit back and admire the intense motivation of their dedicated staff.
With only a precious 500 issues in circulation, WORD is currently being offered up free of charge in restaurants and several businesses throughout I.V. The class that produces WORD will not meet during summer, but it will reopen with the new school year along with a new influx of students to promote the “rich and artistic culture of Isla Vista.” Look for a third issue of this small-but-passionate ode to I.V. in the fall.