New Fanhistory Videos from Fanac.Org

The YouTube Fanhistory Channel has added a selection of videos from Worldcons of the 1970s and 1980s.

Ms Marian’s Bedtime Story

11 minute video. MidAmeriCon, the 34th World SF Convention, was held in Kansas City in 1976. This entertaining video, framed as a children’s story, is full of references to the fannish lifestyle and how fans live Fandom as a Way of Life. It was created in the summer of ’76 to be used as filler on the convention’s closed circuit channel. The material is part of the Video Archeology project coordinated by Geri Sullivan.

 

Constellation (1983) Worldcon: Masquerade

1 hour, 48 minute video. This video of the masquerade shows the wide variety of costumes and skill levels that were shown. At around 1:42, there is information on how the masquerade was judged and the winners are announced and shown again at the end.

 

Panel: Women in SF: Their Right and Proper Place

1 hour video. MidAmeriCon (1976) Worldcon Panel: Women in SF: Their Right and Proper Place. This video of the panel “Women in SF” features Susan Wood, Kate Wilhelm, Marta Randall, Amanda Bankier and Suzy McKee Charnas. Includes an interesting description by Suzy McKee Charnas of her evolutionary networking of female SF writers. This video will give you good insight on where the discussion regarding women writers in SF was in the mid 70s as well as a few choice editor anecdotes. Note: there are a few sound problems. Part of the Video Archeology project coordinated by Geri Sullivan, with technical work by David Dyer-Bennet.

 

MidAmeriCon (1976) Worldcon – George Barr and Robert Heinlein, Guests of Honor

One hour 15 minute video. MidAmeriCon (1976) Worldcon – Speech by George Barr (Fan Guest of Honor) plus tributes to Robert Heinlein (Pro Guest of Honor) along with his response. This video of the Guest of Honor Banquet includes tributes to Robert A. Heinlein from Wilson “Bob” Tucker, Alfred Bester, Frederik Pohl, George Scithers, Jerry Pournelle, L. Sprague de Camp, Larry Niven and others. There’s a lot of respect and love evident in these tributes, and not a little humor. Part of the Video Archeology project coordinated by Geri Sullivan, with technical work by David Dyer-Bennet.

 

[Thanks To Andrew Porter for the story.]

Marty Gear (1939 – 2013)

Marty Gear at 2009 Arisia. Photo by Daniel P. Noé.

Marty Gear at 2009 Arisia. Photo by Daniel P. Noé.

Legendary costuming fan Marty Gear, whose fanac spanned six decades, died in his sleep on July 18 at the age of 74.

Marty and his wife, Bobby (who predeceased him in 2005), won many awards in masquerade competitions. He founded The Greater Columbia Fantasy Costumers’ Guild, a forerunner of the International Costumers’ Guild, was the ICG’s first Executive Director, and was honored with the ICG’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.

One of Marty’s earliest fannish experiences, when he was 14, was traveling from Columbus, Ohio to Philadelphia for the 1953 Worldcon. Marty was unprepared for what he found there, felt overwhelmed and said he would have gone back to his hotel room to hide but for “a tall, white-haired man [who] came over and began to talk to me about what I liked to read. I had just bought a copy of Skylark of Valeron in the dealers’ room… and began enthusing about this ‘new’ writer that I had just discovered, E.E. Smith, Ph.D.” He soon discovered it was Smith himself he was telling this to, and Doc and his wife took Marty in tow, introducing him to other authors and artists. “For the remainder of the weekend, whenever either of them saw me alone they made a point of checking to see if I was enjoying myself, and of somehow including me in whatever was going on.”

Despite this friendly encounter with one of the field’s most loved writers, Marty did not attend another SF con until 1977 when Page Cuddy and David Hartwell “conned” him into going to a Balticon in order to meet Philip Jose Farmer.

After that Marty rapidly developed into a fannish leader. He ran programming for Balticon 13 in 1979 and became a regular fixture as the con’s masquerade director beginning in 1981. He chaired CostumeCon 3 (1985) and Balticon 21 (1987).

He held major committee posts on 4 Worldcons. Michael J. Walsh, chair of the 1983 Baltimore Worldcon where Marty ran the masquerade, likes to tell the story – “In 1981 when I called him from Denvention to let him know we had won: ‘Marty, bad news!’ [He answered] ‘We won?’”

Marty was famous for presiding over masquerades in costume as Count Dracula. And he was infamous for filling time with terrible vampire jokes such as —

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?

Frostbite!

One of his most challenging moments came while directing the 1998 Worldcon (Bucconeer) masquerade — at the start he stumbled against a table of awards and took a four-foot fall off the stage. Quite the trouper, Marty got right back up and did his job without visible problems. He even looked in pretty good shape the morning after at the masquerade critique where he had nothing to say about his mishap except an apology for detracting from the costumers. He did use a cane for awhile afterwards, though.

Marty was a fiery advocate for his beloved event. Even at a Worldcon he refused to concede first place to the Hugo Ceremony, protesting during the Bucconeer masquerade post-mortem, “To the Worldcon committee the Masquerade is not the most important event…. It’s just the best-attended, and has the most people involved, but to the committee it’s a secondary event.”

When he was feeling more mellow he’d deliver the message humorously, saying things like, “Costuming is the second oldest tradition in sci-fi fandom. The first is drinking beer.”

Marty remained an active member of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, and at the time of his death was parliamentarian of the BSFS Board of Directors, coordinator of the Jack L. Chalker Young Writers’ Contest, and liaison to the school for the BSFS Books for Kids program.

Over the years he was a guest of honor at Unicon 87, Disclave 34, Sci-Con 8, Genericon 2, Arisia 9, and Balticon 30.

Professionally, Marty managed his own company Martin Gear Consulting Ltd.

Other than dressing as a vampire, Marty said one of his favorite costumes was “Cohen the Barbarian” a prize-winner at the 2004 Worldcon as “Best DiscWorld Entry.” His Cohen wore a fur diaper, a very long white beard and an eyepatch — and not much else. In one hand he carried a sword and in the other a walking cane.

To the end Marty continually mentored costumers and passed on his enthusiasm for the costuming arts. He told an interviewer, “I probably won’t stop costuming until I am dead, and maybe not even then.”

***

See Marty in his Dracula garb start the 2008 Balticon masquerade with a horrible joke.

In this interview at Anime USA 2012 Marty explained how he judges anime and reproduction costumes in terms that would be at home on Project Runway — “Clothes have to fit.”

Anne Devereaux Jordan Crouse (1943-2013)

Anne Jordan at Constellation, the 1983 Worldcon, where she accepted a Hugo for Edward Ferman. Photo by & Copyright © 2013 Andrew Porter

Anne Devereaux Wilson Jordan Crouse, founder of the Children’s Literature Association and a former editor for F&SF, died February 2 of lung cancer at the age of 69.

She worked for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction from 1979-1989, both on the magazine and some of its hardcover story collections where she was credited as Anne Jordan.

Jordan wrote 11 books under her own name and as a ghost writer on 10 other nonfiction books. She published poetry in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and Star*Line, the magazine of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Crouse also contributed to the New York Review of Science Fiction.

She founded the Children’s Literature Association in 1973 and served as its executive Secretary/Treasurer as well as Director of the Annual Conference in Children’s Literature until 1976. In 1992, she was the first recipient of the “Anne Devereaux Jordan Award,” an award established in her honor and now given annually by The Children’s Literature Association for outstanding contributions to the field of children’s literature. From 1994 to 1998, she was a senior editor of TALL (Teaching and Learning Literature for Children and Young Adults) for which she also wrote two bimonthly columns.

Anne Jordan also had a long teaching career teaching, variously at Eastern Connecticut State University, Wesleyan University, Central Connecticut State University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Hartford and Western Michigan University.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story. This post largely draws on the obit posted by the funeral home.]

Bob Lovell (1947-2012)

Robert G. Lovell Jr. – known in fandom as Bob and, when wearing his antlers, as “Chocolate Moose” — died January 15 in Houghton, Michigan. He was 64.

SF Site reminds us that Lovell supported the successful 1983 Worldcon bid by offering “Backrubs for Baltimore” at cons around fandom.

Though he became less active in fandom in later life, Lovell did make it to Chicon 2000. He attended in his scoutmaster’s uniform, recalls Michael Walsh.

A formal obituary is posted here.

Lovell is survived by his wife Sue and sons Endicott and James.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Bob Lowell, in antlers, appears in this photo from the 1979 Balticon.

Votes Actually Matter, You See

Mark Leeper in MT Void 1596 discusses each nominee for 2010 Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, then makes this prediction:

So what do I think will win? No question that the smart money bets with AVATAR. I think it is already the most financially successful film since at least the fall of the Hittite Empire.

I don’t expect that kind of concession from a fan who personally witnessed Bladerunner win the Hugo. All through the summer of 1983 fans were publicly predicting a Hugo for box office smash E.T. while privately casting their solitary votes for the film they really liked — Bladerunner. And guess what happens when people don’t actually vote for the supposed front-runner?  

So, if Avatar isn’t the fan favorite this year then which film is? I’d have thought from the buzz surrounding it that the answer is Moon. Mark Leeper has a different idea:

What deserves to win? 60% of the films have strong anti-Establishment themes. That is a bad sign. I would rule out the two “My-Life-As-An-Alien” twins. If I look at the remaining three, UP would be the first to go, reluctantly. I am very ambivalent about STAR TREK. MOON is a nice uniformly good science fiction story. I think I would go with STAR TREK for the high points and try to forget Scotty getting jammed in the plumbing.

Update 05/07/2010: Corrected link, thanks to Petrea!

Stupid Elevator Tricks

It wouldn’t take anything like 26 fans to reproduce this result:

How many cheerleaders can cram into an elevator? Apparently not 26. A group of teenage girls attending cheerleading camp on the University of Texas got stuck and had to be rescued after trying to squeeze into an elevator at a residence hall Tuesday night.

And so we are reminded why some Worldcons assign people to limit the number of fans trying to board hotel elevators at peak hours.

Before that idea was adopted, I remember being at the Sheraton during the 1983 Worldcon in Baltimore. Stuffed elevators hauled fans to the big parties on the top floors all Saturday night long. This literally stretched the elevator cables: by Sunday morning they no longer opened even with the floor. Fans had to step up to exit the cars.