Event Reviews

The 4th Annual Bay Area UFO Expo

Santa Clara Marriott Hotel, Santa Clara, CA • September 14-15, 2002


One would expect, at a UFO convention, to find a bunch of weirdos standing around with tin foil on their heads and making beeping noises, farmers relating tales of recent cattle mutilations, and plenty of anal-probe jokes. While there was a fair serving of that kind of pop-culture nonsense (how can you NOT have it, at least in some small quantity), the main thing that caught my interest at this convention was the emphasis on conspiracy theory.

It is amazing to me how much popularity the subject of conspiracies is growing ever since 9/11. I am starting to realize lately that the information that spreads around between paranoid used-bookstore freaks and wackos at coffee shops is now starting to surface in what you might consider to be more socially acceptable mediums. Most of the information / conspiracy theories presented at this expo are basically the same things that political leaders or activists such as Noam Chomsky, Jello Biafra, and Ralph Nader have been trying to tell us all along. There might be a few different spins on the theories, and they may even lead you to different conclusions that might seem completely insane, but the basic information that you will come across is out there, all around us. What it leads to is up to your imagination and your courage.

I will briefly explain that the “information” I am vaguely referring to are things that would lead one to suspect that people are seriously being screwed by the government and unseen forces that we can catch glimpses of. What conclusions you might come to about this are up to you, but the basic feeling remains, and it is hard to ignore if you have any common sense.

I did not get to experience the entire UFO Expo, as I originally led to believe that it was being held in Downtown San Francisco (the flyer features a picture of the TransAmerica Building), but it turns out it was nearly an hour’s drive to the south, in the city of Santa Clara. If that’s not the biggest conspiracy of all, I don’t know what is. I unfortunately missed the first half of the first day and could not find the energy or financial resources (or patience in finding parking upon returning home) to return for the following day’s festivities.

But I will proudly say that the short time I spent at the event was nothing short of exciting as hell.

I luckily had $80 cash on hand when I arrived at the Expo, and scurried into David Icke’s “Children of the Matrix” Workshop (http://www.davidicke.com) an hour late after getting my press pass and purchasing two tickets. The room was surprisingly packed with people, probably a couple thousand. I didn’t count them all, but the sight was stunning. Rows and rows of people, filling a ballroom, listening closely to every word that the most hard-to-believe author in the universe dared to speak.

I am a great fan of David Icke’s books, and it was thrilling to sit and watch him narrate a slideshow and tell stories about the various photographs. He was certainly a very animated and enthusiastic speaker, and the fact that he had such shocking information made it all the more likely you were going to try to understand every bit, even through his heavy British accent. The man also had a great sense of humor and would catch everyone off guard with the most hilarious pictures and cartoons. It’s good to remember that a dash of humor is very important when you are trying to convince people that the human race is being controlled by a race of lizard people from another dimension. I am not at all trying to discredit him – I’m just saying that it actually helped his credibility, in my opinion.

I was not bored for one moment through the entire three hours that I listened to David Icke speak. The $40 per ticket was well-spent, and I would happily spend it again, should circumstances permit.

I unfortunately missed my most anticipated part of the event, which was the Jim Marrs (http://www.jimmarrs.com) lecture, called “The War on Freedom.” Luckily, they were selling cassette tapes of the speech he gave earlier that day, recorded live that morning and already available for purchase. Talk about a bad case of the Ship-It’s.

I regret missing Mr. Marrs’ presentation, as I felt it was the most compelling speech I have ever heard (once I got home and popped the tapes in), even greater than Jello Biafra’s spoken word performances. I am telling you, this guy is on top of his crap. If you don’t know, Jim Marrs looks like just what he is – a chicken farmer. He’s got a big beard, glasses, a southern accent, and a big hat. I was most impressed that he was able to lay a foundation for his theories so simply in the beginning with a simple bottom line: that throughout history, the underlying struggle has always been that of mankind’s attempted escape from tyranny. Period. He then went on for most of two cassette tapes, naming dozens of stunning facts and news-clippings related to the War On Freedom, which began long before but include the events of 9/11. Towards the end of his presentation, when it appeared that members of the audience were trying to either heckle him or distract him from his train of thought, Mr. Marrs glady obliged them and took them beyond where they could have expected his knowledge to end. In other cases where he didn’t know an answer to a question, he simply said, “I don’t know,” and moved on, not missing a beat.

From both speakers (I consider them teachers), I felt comfort in the fact that while they both presented what the average person would consider outrageous ideas, they also revealed a certain vulnerability and down-to-earth side. In a way, it was no different than having that slightly eccentric science teacher in high school who is so damn intrigued with his profession that you can’t help but get excited about it, too. It reminded me of my old algebra teacher, who would spend countless hours with me, working on the problem of trisecting angles with only a compass and straight edge. He would tell me right out that it was proven impossible in such-and-such-a-year, but it didn’t stop him from being excited about the possibility of it being done. I felt like Good Will Hunting or something, and it inspired me to be excited about math, which is a subject I have always thought was a pain in the neck. I could never make heads or tales of it. But that is just how well these two conspiracy theorists could sell me ideas that sounded completely insane. It’s too exciting to think they’re not true!

The remainder of my time spent at the Expo was wandering around the nicely arranged dealers’ booths, which I could take or leave. Crystals, UFO videos, weird massage booths, psychic-types, and Unicorn T-shirts just don’t do anything for me. Like The Jerky Boys said, “For some people, maybe.” But it has its place, I am sure – it helps to make wonderful and rare events like this possible, Hallelujah.

I am definitely going to get a job so I can save up for next year’s tuition.


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