Thinking Outside The Dispenser
Spring Loaded: A Message from the Editor top
Happy May from Pezhead Monthly! I hope you are staying safe and healthy as the global pandemic continues to define everyday life for us. The days are getting longer, warmer, and sunnier but it seems like we're still going to be in the woods for a while. Hang in there everyone!
In March, my Pez collection grew quite a bit, with stuff from PIG Too, Jungle Jim's, and Pez.com, as well as a whole bunch of new POP Pez. In April, my scores were a bit more modest, and in fact all of them happened a few days ago at a Kroger or two. But these are still some great scores. I picked up the 4 new dispensers from the Troll World Tour set (Branch, Guy Diamond, Queen Barb, and Poppy), the new Spider-Man (the first one since my 2017 Celebration of Spider-Man Pez), and three new SpongeBobs (painted stem, clear crystal, and yellow crystal). I am still on the hunt for the gold SpongeBob! Hopefully one day...
This issue of Pezhead Monthly is jam-packed with Pez goodness. It kicks off with a cover image that is a Pezzified version of a photo from the runaway Netflix hit "Tiger King." My wife and I just finished this recently and I think it's safe to say that we don't think we'll ever be the same again. As it turns out, my Pez buddy and fellow Joe, Joe Reidl, also paid tribute to Tiger King, specifically with a wild and hilarious shot for shot parody of the song "I Saw A Tiger". You really owe it to yourself to check out this masterpiece here (and be sure to subscribe to his YouTube page for more Pez fun). Back to this issue, the good times continue with Bret's World of Pez. Those of you in the "Let's Talk Pez" Facebook group have likely seen some of Bret Christopher's great work, where he merges Pez with iconic scenes in pop culture. That just so happens to be a big part of this website, and it's always nice to see someone else who "thinks outside the dispenser" when it comes to Pez. Bret kindly agreed to contribute a couple of his pieces for this month's issues and I hope he sends some more for future issues too. This issue also includes some Pez Poetry and, last but certainly not least, my recap of the 2020 Virtual Pez Convention. This was a fantastic time and my thanks again go out to Landon and Morgan for putting it together.
In other website news, I've recently added a Google search bar on the archive page. If you have a favorite dispenser or other aspect of the hobby, chances are that Pezhead Monthly has touched on it, and you can search for it there. Be sure to check it out!
And two final notes. First, I recently had the pleasure to chat with Andrea and Justin, who host a great podcast called The Pez Collection. It was fun to talk with these two about the many ways in which Pez is a part of my life. More details are coming soon! Second, just hours before this issue's publication, I learned that Pezamania 30 has been postponed this year due to COVID-19 and will instead take place in July 2021. While I am sure this was a very hard decision, I think it was also a smart one given the state of affairs today. I'll have more thoughts on this in next month's issue.
Thanks as always for reading, and keep on Pezzin'.
Me And My Eleven Buds
Me and my eleven
The twelve of us,
our bond is strong,
One day we went
out on a trip,
Eventually we split
I don't know where
my buds have gone,
Pez Haiku #143
Pezhead Monthly is all about celebrating the creative and imaginative side of the Pez hobby. With this in mind, this publication is pleased to present two pieces by the talented artist Bret Christopher. The first one takes us back to that iconic scene from 1989's "Say Anything," with a Pez candy pack replacing the boombox that Lloyd Dobler holds above his head. The second one is from 1982's "E.T.", with a bunch of Pez candy packs taking the place of the titular alien in Elliot's bicycle basket. Enjoy!
On Saturday, April 11, I had the privilege of attending the first ever Virtual Pez Convention, or VPC, which was hosted by Landon Proctor and Morgan Rhinehart on the Zoom platform. The event was free to attend and involved giveaways, seminars, and many tours of Pez rooms. There were even a few rounds of bingo! It was just what the Pez community needed in these strange and isolated times in which we find ourselves.
But on that one sunny day in April at least, the VPC was a wonderful way for Pezheads to get together, see each other's faces and hear each other's voices, and revel in our shared Pezzitude.
The event kicked off with a great seminar by Rory Harms, a fellow Pezhead who I had the honor to meet at PIG Too. Rory talked about making fantasy Pez, and specifically about fantasy Star Wars Pez. It was very informative and enjoyable. Having seen Rory's work firsthand, I can tell you that he does simply amazing work.
There were also a lot of really great tours of Pez rooms. It's one thing to see photos and videos of Pez displays. But to actually have a collector take you on a guided tour of their collection is another thing altogether, because along the way they stop and tell stories on certain pieces and make you feel like you are right there with them. Brian Jaskolski, for example, calls his Pez room the "Chicago Museum", and after just a few minutes of his tour, you can clearly see why. The amount of unique, rare pieces in his collection, whether it's dispensers, artwork, candy, autographs, or other items, is incredible. Someone in the Zoom comments said it best (and I'm paraphrasing here): the next time one of your non-Pez friends says that your Pez display should be in a museum, show them a video of Brian's tour for some perspective!
The hits just kept on coming throughout the day as the VPC continued. I could go on and on about the marvels of legendary Pez collector John Devlin's tour, including his very impressive paper collection, his giant Tweety Pez, and his "secret room". Then there was Tom Zellmer's tour, with tons of stuff that is so rare that it was maybe on the market for a month or a week, or maybe not even at all. Tom had skateboards, bobbleheads, and so much more that made all of our jaws drop in unison.
Interspersed with these longer tours throughout the day were mini tours by others. There were too many great ones to all mention here individually, but a couple stood out to me. One was a tour hosted by Chris Wiley, who gave his collection a very personal touch by not only showing lots of stuff, but also telling stories of the people who gave him some of these pieces and how much they meant to him. It was clear that Chris values the friends and family he has made in the community and they are a big part of why he is in this hobby.
Another tour that stood out was that of Andrew, a 10-year old collector who showed off his small but growing collection. It was so great to see his enthusiasm for the hobby. At the end of his seminar, someone asked him if he had any vintage Pez. He said he did not have any yet but looked forward to getting some, and counting Bullwinkle and Popeye among his favorites. And wouldn't you know it, within about five minutes it was revealed that someone had donated their Popeye Pez dispenser to Andrew. The look of sheer joy and happiness on his face as he expressed his thanks was something that I will never forget. This Pez community. Just, wow.
In between all of these tours and throughout the event, the VPC also had giveaways. Using a Microsoft Excel formula that guaranteed transparency, randomness, and fairness, Morgan selected names of many people to win various prizes that others had graciously donated. Alas, I did not win any of these prizes (which mostly lines up with my luck at in-person conventions), but it was fun to see everyone so excited to win their prizes.
The last event at the VPC, before a happy hour where everyone just hung out and caught up with each other, was a series of bingo games. That's right, Pez Bingo was back, baby, at the VPC! Even if just for 5 games. As with the giveaways, the bingo games were designed to be fair and in a way that avoided the possibility of cheating. And also as with the giveaways, it felt about the same to be a virtual loser than an in-person loser, but hey, I'm not complaining. Pez Bingo is always a treat.
There were also some convention goodies for us to purchase, including a custom dispenser, t-shirts, and more. All proceeds benefited a charity called Plus1, which helps musicians and artists affected by the COVID-19 crisis. I ordered a convention dispenser and am looking forward to getting it for sure!
All told, the VPC went on for an incredible 7 hours. I did not expect to be there for the duration, but except for a few times where I stepped away for breaks, I was pretty much glued to my seat and the time flew right by. There were a few technical hiccups, but that's to be expected when so many people are on the same call at the same time. And we did get a bit behind on time, but that's only because we were all so mesmerized by the Pez tours that we lost track of time. And after all, it's not like anyone had anywhere else to be!
Landon shared after the event that there were over 270 people who joined in. Just think about that for a second. That is 270 people whose day was made brighter for a few hours in these times that can be very dark. It's 270 Pezheads who got to share their love of the hobby, who got to laugh and learn and reconnect with friends they had not seen in a while, and who got to experience some truly unforgettable moments.
Thanks are due to all of the presenters at this event, as well as all others who donated their time, effort, and Pez. Most of all, big thanks are due to Landon and Morgan for their initiative in putting the VPC together and in hosting the event. You both made it such a fun and engaging time, especially under these weird circumstances. I hope we'll get the chance to do it again soon.
True, this may have been the first ever virtual Pez convention. But when it comes to feeling like you're a part of this Pez community, learning from and being amazed by so many people who make Pez so special, and seeing so much Pez in all kinds of ways, it was as real as it gets.
Enjoy Pez, but please do so responsibly.