Thinking Outside The Dispenser
Spring Loaded: A Message from the Editor | top
Hello out there! September is here and hopefully along with it some cooler weather. It's been a long, hot summer with unfortunately no Pez conventions to bring us comfort. But hey, that's okay. We'll be back at it before we know it.
My Pez life in August consisted of two big things and a few great scores as well. First, while on a trip to Cincinnati, my wife and I stumbled upon an exhibit of giant Pez dispensers. Astute readers of Pezhead Monthly know that a big part of this publication is celebrating the merging of Pez and art, culture, and entertainment, so this was quite a rare and unexpected treat. Also, I've made some good progress on my Pez room in August. I know I have been teasing the big reveal for a while now, and hopefully it will pay off soon- if not in final form, then at least in pretty good shape. There are some unique uses of technology in the Pez room that I am particularly excited to show here. I thank you for your continued patience and for the time being can only continue to say, "Stay tuned "
My August Pez scores
were lots of fun. The month started off with a giant cutout of a Batman
POP+ Pez dispenser! I can't wait to add it to my Batman display! Admittedly,
it may be hard to fit on the shelf but I will give it my best shot.
I also picked up some really well-made fantasy Pez dispensers that customize
the Pez Pal dispenser into 3 Marvel superheroes, Thing, Thor and
Thpiderman? Whatever, I did it all for the alliteration. The cool thing
is that I already had a fantasy Spidey Pez Pal, but this one has a nicer
blue stem and the paint is not as glossy as the other. Who'd have thought
that fantasy Pez could have variations? I also made a few more fantasy
Batmans to add to my display: one from the mini Harry Potter Pez (as
noted in one of the poems in the previous
issue, the "H" stands for "Howdy, I'm the Caped Crusader!")
and a stem swap of the newest Batman onto a black dispenser, which I
think looks a lot better. Speaking of Batman, I got 2 more Batman cards:
One Batman on a short card, and one that is typically associated with
the Batfleck version of the dispenser, and a nice European Justice League
Card. Also in this month's Pez scores was an order from Pez.com that
arrived very quickly. I got quite the haul here: two new flamingos,
also known as Flamangoes, which came with new mango-flavored candy (I
have not tried it yet), a new version of Princess Aurora, the new Eevee
Pokemon dispenser, a fantastic new LUIGI dispenser for the Super Mario
set, 2 new Super Mario 2-pack collector boxes, and lastly a 2-pack gift
set from Finding Dory that came out in 2016 but I somehow missed until
this month. And lastly, coming in right at the end of the month, I found
the new Hocus Pocus POP+Pez set at Spirit Halloween. You can click on
each of the pictures for a larger view.
I am excited to share this month's issue of Pezhead Monthly with you. Leading things off is a recap of my August visit to the Pop Supernatural art exhibit in Cincinnati, Ohio. This was such a fun and rewarding experience and one of the coolest things I've ever done in my time as a Pezhead. Also in this issue is the return of Bret's World of Pez, this time featuring Darth Vader and Bill and Ted. Rounding this issue out is some good ol' Pez Poetry and, last but certainly not least, is a brand new song and video titled "Wake Me Up For September Pez." I worked hard on this month's issue and I hope you enjoy it!
Looking ahead to September, the big Pez news I have is that I am strongly considering heading out to Minnesota for the Pez On The River convention. That's right, there is actually a Pez convention that is still going on! Sandy and Cheryl, the conventions hosts, have been very proactive in letting everyone know about all of the safety precautions that will be in place due to the you-know-what. The event sounds like it will be a great time, but unfortunately if I do end up going, I will only be able to attend the Saturday floor show on 9/12. But, my wife and I may make a road trip out of it as there are a few places along the way we might stop by as well. My fingers are crossed that this will all work out! It would be great to see some Pez friends and maybe pick up some new Pez along the way.
Did you miss last month's issue? You can still read it here. To search the full Pezhead Monthly archives, hop on over to the archive page, where you can browse by feature, Pez Poetry Slam, or issue. There's also a Google search bar to help you search the content across the site.
Thanks as always for reading Pezhead Monthly. Be safe, be healthy, and be happy. If you need some help with that last one, may I recommend flipping some Pez?
Take care and thanks as always for reading Pezhead Monthly.
In August, my wife and I went on a quick getaway to nearby Cincinnati, Ohio. It was good to get out of the house for a few nights while still maintaining social distancing and other responsible measures in the New Normal, Etcetera. And Cincinnati never fails to impress us, including the amazing 21c Museum Hotel. And as it turns out, there was a Pez-flavored twist towards the end of our trip that was the cherry on the sundae.
On the way to dinner, my wife noticed this poster on the corner of Walnut and 7th:
I was surprised that she recognized it before me, because it was a poster of a giant, wooden Pez dispenser! Once again my wife demonstrated her mad Pez enabling skills, borne from years of dealing with her boyfriend/fiancé/husband's relentless obsession with the Pez hobby. As soon as I saw the poster, I knew what it was all about. I first learned about it when I was in town for the PIG TOO convention in March. The convention host, Josh Bales had a pamphlet for the exhibit at the hotel featuring this same image on the cover. As the poster indicates, the exhibit is called Pop Supernatural by the artist Todd Pavlisko. The exhibit, as you may gather, features various public figures on the heads of Pez dispensers. At the time of the PIG TOO convention, I did not have time to check out this exhibit and part of me had definitely been kicking myself for missing it.
So what was this poster still doing up, given that the exhibit was only supposed to run from February 7 to April 5? Was the exhibit actually still going on? The short answer is YES and the long answer is YES AND HOLY CRAP. The longer answer is in the words and pictures below.
You see, midway through this exhibit's initial run, an itsy bitsy teeny tiny global pandemic hit. Everything shut down and of course that included art galleries. Eventually, things started reopening to limited degrees and with extra safety precautions. And it just so happened that the Weston Art Gallery had only recently re-opened before we got into town, and the Pop Supernatural exhibit was set to run for 2 weeks, since it was still in the art gallery.
This was the very definition of a happy accident. Our plans for our Cincy visit included a trip to the Newport Aquarium, a visit to a tiki bar, enjoying the cool art at our hotel, and of course a Jungle Jim's stop on the way out of town. We had no idea that this exhibit featuring giant Pez dispensers was still going to be in town. You may laugh, but it's the truth. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Anyway, if it wasn't for The 'Rona, none of this would have been possible. Never in a million years did I think I would say this, and I am pretty sure I never will have the opportunity to do so again, but from the bottom of my sugar-coated heart
The next day we actually made it to the exhibit and it was truly a blast. We were greeted by a kind and knowledgeable fellow but we unfortunately did not get his name. He certainly had a strong understanding of the arts and of the Cincinnati scene, and if so I am thinking he was the art director, and if so a quick Google search tells me his name is Dennis. But I can't say for sure, and of course he was wearing a mask, as we all were. Regardless, for purposes of this recap, let's say his name was Dennis. (Sincere apologies, knowledgeable art person in question, if you somehow come across this and are in fact not named Dennis.)
I felt really bad because while Dennis gave us a pretty thorough rundown of the entire art gallery, telling us what was in various rooms and floors and going into some very intriguing details about all of the standard exhibits at the gallery, he had no way of knowing that internally the only thing that kept going through my mind over and over again was WHERE ARE THE GIANT WOODEN PEZ DISPENSERS I NEED TO SEE THEM OH PLEASE I BEG OF YOU DONDE ESTA EL GIGANTE DISPENSERS DE PEZ. I mean, I can really dig art and think it should be supported and celebrated, but on the other hand there was giant Pez just steps away from us! Dennis finally revealed that they were on the lower level and we were on our way.
Upon entering the exhibit area, the first thing we noticed was a number of large, wooden Pez bricks. These were a precursor to what was to come, and were so cool that I had to get a photo with them. (DISCLAIMER: I am not wearing a mask in this picture because my wife and I were the only ones viewing the exhibit and, I think, the only ones in the entire art gallery. Except for Dennis of course, who was not with us and still at the main entrance of the gallery.)
The exhibit area consisted of two separate rooms, with the giant Pez dispensers split among the rooms. The first room initially had 3 giant Pez dispensers: the artist David Hammons, the musician David Bowie, and Diana, Princess of Wales. By the time we got there, Princess Diana had been sold off (more on this later) so unfortunately we did not get to see it. The second room had 3 more: the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, civil rights icon Rosa Parks, and author and activist James Baldwin. The written information about the exhibit was very informative. It was written by Kristin Rogers. Ms. Rogers referred to this group as a "diverse range of both contemporary and historical protagonists" and "some of history's beloved cultural influencers" and I think that is a well put. Here are pictures of all 5 of the Pez dispensers. You can click on each of them for a larger view.
In the written information, Ms. Rogers also noted that each giant Pez dispenser features a "locked-door interior and a range of secret items" and noted that Pavlisko "creat(ed) at once a literal time capsule that elicits both curiosity about the items and their timelines, but also- importantly- about these titan of history" Here is a close-up picture of one of the locked cabinets that each Pez dispenser had.
Another part of the Pop Supernatural exhibit was a series of sledgehammers resting upon bags of sugar. The meaning of the sugar is fairly obvious- after all, each standard roll of Pez candy contains 12 bricks made of compressed sugar. As for the sledgehammers, Ms. Rogers explains that they can represent a desire to smash open the secret interiors of the Pez sculptures, if considered on their own. But considered in the context of the sugar bags, the sledgehammers soften, and as Ms. Rogers notes, "(t)his tenuous imbalance reminds us to exercise caution and care when we are in the presence of greatness and to curb the sweet tooth of our consumptive habits with gentle moderation." This is a much needed reminder for something that is at times very hard to do, and is something that I think many of us deal with all the time.
Here is a picture of the sledgehammers among the giant Pez dispensers.
And lastly, this picture gives you an idea of how big these Pez dispensers really are. Here I am next to my man David Bowie. While the picture shows how big the dispenser is, it can't do proper justice to the exquisite detail that Mr. Pavlisko put into this and all of the dispensers. (Please again note that I am not wearing a mask in this picture because my wife and I were the only ones at the exhibit.)
We left the exhibit very impressed and amazed at it all. I felt enriched and intellectually alive, but I also felt giddy like a little kid and was, I think it's fair to say, at Peak Pezhead there for a moment or two. It brought to mind a lyric from "Weird Al" Yankovic's epic song, "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota": "I was just so overwhelmed by its sheer immensity, I had to pop myself a beer." Then again, another lyric in that song also came to mind: "Then I started feelin' kinda gooey inside and I fell on my knees and I cried and cried, and that's when those security guards threw us out."
On the way out, we talked a bit more with Dennis. He gave us some history of the exhibit, and talked a lot about how Mr. Pavlisko sought to highlight these six enormous cultural change agents. Dennis also explained that due to COVID-19, the Pop Supernatural exhibit had accidentally become the longest-running one in the gallery's history, which I thought was funny and also pretty cool. He mentioned that they needed to move the bags of sugar numerous times out of fear that they would attract ants. And he said that the gallery had to lock up the exhibit during the times of the racial justice protests and resulting civil unrest. Despite having large glass windows and being close to the heart of downtown Cincinnati, the building did not sustain much damage or suffer losses.
Oh, and about that Princess Diana Pez dispenser? I asked Dennis how much it was sold for. He said that although it had a retail value of $38,000, it was sold at a discount of $26,000. Incredible! The twist was that the feedback he had received at the gallery was that the Princess Diana one was the one that least resembled the subject. People had remarked that the rendering made her seem much older than she was. But clearly the dispenser was desirable to one very lucky patron. And I am very curious what was inside that interior cabinet!
Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, I believe that the Pop Supernatural exhibit has closed down and it is not available to be seen anymore. But I hope that this recap and the pictures painted a picture of just how wonderful this experience was in person. I'd also encourage you to check out Josh's video tour of the exhibit from back in March here. I would also recommend that if you live in Cincinnati, or are able to visit, definitely check out the Weston Art Gallery and also stay at the fantastic 21c Museum Hotel, which is just a short walk away from the Weston Art Gallery and always has some interesting art pieces of its own.
The Pop Supernatural exhibit was such a great time, and quite an unexpected Pez thrill, on top of what was already a very fun and relaxing couple of days in Cincinnati with my wife. I am so glad that I got to experience this exhibit firsthand and will always cherish the memories that were made that day.
Thanks are due to the Weston Arts Gallery for putting on this exhibit; Art Director Dennis Harrington (who I hopefully identified correctly in this article!) for his kindness and knowledge about the gallery and the exhibit, and giving it the context of the city's evolution over the past several months; Kristin Rogers for the written information that describe so well the various pieces and meanings behind the exhibit; and last but certainly not least, Todd Pavlisko for his well thought out and beautifully designed art pieces that gave this Pezhead in particular a wonderful, rewarding experience as well as a reminder of how amazing this hobby can be.
And a final thanks
goes out to my lovely wife Jessi for joining me in this impromptu Pez
experience, and in fact kicking it off by noticing that poster in the
first place! Jessi is a loving and patient partner who somehow puts
up with my endless Pez obsession day in and day out. She has graciously
joined me on many adventures like this and I am sure many more to come.
Bret Christopher once again provides us with some of his artwork in this month's issue. First up, in honor of the new Bill and Ted movie "Bill and Ted Face The Music," Bret offers up a most non-heinous image of Bill, Ted, Rufus (RIP), and of course Pez. Also, you can't go wrong with a good ol' Vader force choke. It's a classic on its own, and when you add in Pez (Pezhead Monthly editor puts on CSI Miami sunglasses) the Sith really hits the fan.
Pez Poetry | top
There once was a
Pezhead named Michael
O wicked Pez room!
September is here at last! Here is a song I put together, to the tune of Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends," to celebrate this month where leaves change color, temperatures (hopefully) cool down a bit, apples are picked, and so much more. And of course, Pez is also celebrated along the way in this song. The video is embedded and linked below, and the song lyrics follow and are also available in the Pez song archive.
(Astute readers of Pezhead Monthly may recognize the graphic used in this video as the cover image from the October 2011 issue. Nine long years that cover image has been in the archives! And now, little man, I give it to you. #walken)
Direct link here
Wake Me Up
For September Pez
Summer has come
As the greens turn
Here comes the mail
Shorter days and
Apple orchards opening
Here comes the mail
from the patch
Raking leaves into
Wake me up for September
Enjoy Pez, but please do so responsibly.