My Time at UFO X Fest, or; The Morning I Didn’t Drink Enough

San Leandro is a wonderful little city directly south of Oakland, about to be overrun by the great hipster exodus, as the number of barista roommates you need in order to subsidize your art in a 2br apartment has everyone fighting because Steve didn’t label his organic kombucha in the fridge properly. Despite having 3 breweries and a coffee roaster, the city just got its first gastropub, and the food isn’t anywhere near on par with the world famous sports bar that you should go to instead. Basically, San Leandro is one of the few regular-ass-towns in the bay area.

This should bring about no surprise that the historic Bal Theatre, a beautiful landmark left over from the 1940s currently hosting cover bands and touring comedians, is run by a guest speaker on Ancient Aliens. Dan Dillman, the tinfoil-hat-in-chief of the venue, hosts an annual event devoted to conspiracy theories and UFOs because of course he does. A candidate in the 2014 mayoral election, Dan Dillman gained notoriety after an altercation with police in 2010, which apparently resulted in a sentence of 4 months in jail, but I can’t find any follow-up on that and he was running for City Council later in the year.  Really though, you could say the guy truly represents The Dro.

A couple friends of mine advised that I get completely fucked up and go to this with them. I got stuck in traffic so was not able to sufficiently pre-rage. The first chunk of this presentation I was half-way sober for.

Image source: Facebook event page

It opens with Dillman giving a slide show presentation on the subject of time travel, which was this year’s theme. They were essentially presenting that there were time travelers among us, and they had been influencing us throughout history. He starts out by showing clips of classic films where characters were seen holding one hand against the side of their head. This was clearly proof that time travelers from the future were talking on their cell phones. How were they getting signal before cell towers were invented? Fuck if I know.

The rest of this thing was such a meme-fest that you could basically live-Snopes the event. They started showing old pictures of figures who resemble John Travolta and Vladimir Putin, indicating that they had actually traveled through time to different points. If I would believe this about anyone, it would be Putin.

Election meddling resulted in the election of Warren G Harding, I’m sure.

By this point, we’re talking so much shit that the guy in front of us seems rather perturbed. I mention to my friend, “You know, anyone sitting by themselves is really into this and not here ironically.”
“Oh shit. We should simmer down.”
“Nah, let’s sit with him, he looks lonely.”

The next half-assed rabbit hole is about science-fiction films. They were discussing how technologies appeared in such films that came to actually exist in the future. Yes, because people growing up watching Star Trek didn’t set out to invent that shit. Much like aliens built all of our old stuff, time travelers built all of our new stuff. I snarkily mention to my friend, “I’m surprised they haven’t got into the Simpsons yet.” BOOM! Ask and you shall receive mother fucker!

Please consult the following image:

This was presented to the crowd, with the question posed: “How did the Simpsons, in 2008, predict that Barack Obama and John McCain would run for president in 2012?”

If you do not know what is wrong with that comment, please stay far, far away from me.

Next, they showed this adorable image, which you can consult Snopes for right now:

Now, to make things even better, in his narration, Dillman said that the Simpsons “predicted Donald Trump’s 2015 victory.” Look, Dillman isn’t good with numbers, I get it. The following is from his campaign website:

This November you’ve got two choices for Mayor, two incumbent city council members, who are making promises to the future, when they have already had 12 years between them to get something done, or me “Dan Dillman” who has fresh idea’s passion dedication and experience.

So, the Q&A starts. OH, OH YES, THERE’S A Q&A! I already know my question.

I was excited to see you brought up the Simpsons, because they are well-known for predicting the future. One thing that’s bothering me is that, as I recall, Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee in the 2012 election. Could this be the Mandela Effect, and could you tell me how you feel the Mandela Effect pertains to time travel?

I begin to stand up to indicate that I have a question. My friends immediately interject, “Blake, what the fuck are you doing?”
“I have a question.”
“Dude, sit down.”
“What? It’s a good question.”
“You really shouldn’t.”
“Are you afraid I’m going to get us thrown out or something?”

Moments later, another person at the convention asks about the Mandela Effect and the Simpsons. Not on the same error, but goddamnit that was my fucking question!

This is the end of Dillman’s presentation. We move onto Servando Gonzalez, who was so fucking boring that it was like watching a professor from an underfunded community college trudge through shit he doesn’t understand. In trying to explain time travel using quantum mechanics, he on multiple occasions admitted to not really understanding quantum theory.

Half way through this, we realize we’re too sober for this shit. One of San Leandro’s best bars is about a block over. We’re venting about this, trying to get lubricated enough for the rest of it to be fun. We come back in during a film presentation, UFOs and Nukes: The Secret Link Revealed.

It’s the tail end of it, so I’m not sure what event we’re hearing about. Something to do with a UFO appearing as an ICBM compound starts having problems with their missle systems. All of this is paraphrased as I was drunk and don’t have a transcript:
Several air force personnel identified a mysterious cigar shaped object in the sky.
“You mean a missle?”
It had no cockpit…
“So, like, a missle?”
…or propellers.
“So, definitely a missle.”

Next up was Ruben Uriarte, publisher of several books mostly obsessed with an alleged UFO incident in Chihuahua, Mexico, and Deputy Director of Investigations at MUFON (Mutual UFO Network). After talking to us about Chihuahua and his adventures with his co-author Noe Torres for what seemed like a million years, it turned into a MUFON recruitment seminar.  He was showing some infographic of the most reported UFO sightings in California, and I’m excited to report to my Sacramento friends that you were #1! I was trying to find a source on their website, but have given up because I’m a terrible journalist.

After this, Dillman was due to speak again. Looking at the program, there were another 2-3 hours of this shit. We decided to pub crawl Oakland and forget half of what we just learned.

On the way out, I got to shake hands with Dan Dillman, who I still wasn’t sure was a believer or an expert con-artist. I got to look him in the eye, but will not disclose my judgment as he seems like the type of person to sue you for libel. Opinions aren’t valid, people. I was handed some amazing information to take home, including this declaration of independence from our alien overlords.

Despite all of this, please support the Bal Theatre. I would hate to wake up tomorrow and find a Whole Foods in its place.

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