I Haz A Sad

I just learned a few minutes ago that Marty Gear has passed away. Marty was our handler for the Eugenie entry at the Costume Con 26 Historical Masquerade. I had no idea who this guy was when we were introduced, aside from the fact that he was very tall and of a certain age, but everyone kept coming up to me and saying, “Wow, how’d you guys get Marty? He’s the best!” and “You’re in exceptionally good hands with Marty,” and most amusing of all, “Of course they assign a group of 9 women to Marty.”

They didn’t lie. He was calm, funny, flirtatious, and kept us all sane, which let me tell ya, was no easy task that weekend. I had friendships blow up over that one weekend, but Marty just weathered the storm of frayed nerves, hormonal meltdowns, and sudden bursts of hyperactivity with what can only be the very definition of grace and humor. He held our hands during the agonizing wait for the results of the competition, a bemused smile on his face as we got increasingly more agitated as we weren’t even called up for the silly awards like “Froofiest Presentation” and we felt that we were probably being passed over.

He admitted afterward, over cocktails, that he knew all along that we would win Best In Show that night. Never had a doubt in his mind. He’d seen untold competitions, judged untold competitions, participated in untold competitions… He knew from the moment he was assigned to our group that we’d be taking home the top prize that night. That confidence, laid-back attitude, and good-natured humor has forever stuck with me.

He was so much more than just a handler, obviously. This man has a resume thicker than most phone books when it comes to costuming and fandom. He was one of the first generation of costumers who started Costume Con, and he’d already had an extensive costuming/fandom resume at that point, being involved in god knows how many Worldcons, and other regional cons on the East Coast. I mean, this guy left an indelible mark on fandom. He touched so many people. I feel super lucky that I got to be one of them.

I stole a couple of photos from Kendra’s Flickr. Hope she doesn’t mind… They’re the only pics I could find of Marty with our group.

Marty Cuddle Puddle

Moral Support Marty

About Sarah

The short version: I really like historical clothing. Click on this link to read the long version.
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9 Responses to I Haz A Sad

  1. Meilin says:

    Awwww. :-( That’s very sad. He sounds like such a wonderful man. I’m glad to have virtually met him through you.

  2. He really made that masquerade. He was one of the judges the year with the spotty dress and he was equally great. It was such a fun judging session.

    It’s so sad. I only knew him a little–I can imagine how much he’ll be missed.

  3. Laura says:

    He ran the Sci Fi masquerade in 2012 when we entered with our Dr. Who entry. He answered all the frantic questions of 12 women and went above and beyond to make sure our experience was a positive one. He was very sweet and I am glad I got a chance to meet him.

  4. Sandra says:

    He sounds like a lovely man. And he must have been to have so much support.
    Coming from the antipodes I don’t know what happens at your events. What does a handler do? Are they like a stage manager?

    • Aurora Celeste says:

      He was a Den Daddy. They’re kinda like personal assistants, they manage a small (6-10 person) group of costumers backstage in the green room. They make sure that the entrants all have food and water when the need it, know where the bathroom is (I even had one take me to a bathroom in their room and help me hold my dress up while I went) and make sure they get everything done that they need done, like workmanship judging, photography, etc. Then they help line up the group in order so they can go onstage on time. A good Den mom or dad can make a masquerade a wonderful experience, and the skill is vastly undernoticed.

      • Sandra says:

        Thank you for that. There I was thinking people just swanned about in costume. It’s way more theatrical and competitive than I realised. And yes i can see you’d need support from someone like Marty. You look like you all had a great time.

  5. wilhelmina_d says:

    He will be missed – I loved watching him at Balticon.

  6. Elaine says:

    Marty was a wonderful man, he will be missed immensely.

  7. I’m still crushed. Marty was a true treasure to the costuming world, and to Costume Con in particular. I’m so glad I got to compete at least once under his tutelage.

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