Thinking Outside The Dispenser
Loaded: A Message From the Editor
Spring Loaded: A Message from the Editor | top
Hello and Happy July! We're officially into summer and things are really kicking into high gear. With many of us now vaccinated, life is finally starting to approach normal again. We're beginning to see family who we have not seen in over a year and our schedules are starting to fill up again with concerts, festivals, gatherings, and other events. We've still got a way to go, but boy are we getting there.
Although the 2021
Michigan Pez Convention that was originally scheduled for June was cancelled
because of the pandemic, everyone in the Pez world is very much looking
forward to its return in 2022. For the weekend of what would have been
this year's convention, a bunch of Pezheads got together to make a surprise
video of encouragement for the host, Jim Blaine (put together in secret
by his wife and convention co-host, Jody), in which they shared their
memories from past Michigan conventions and explained what makes it
such a special and unique experience. It was over 40 minutes long and
truly made of win. I can't wait to go to my first Michigan Pez convention
This brings us to my June scores. To kick things off, I picked up the red hat variant of the Peter Pez POP (San Diego 2019, Toy Tokyo) from an online store called POPnBeards for a good price. To be honest I had forgotten that I was missing this one until I had a closer look at my POP shelf (which remains only dedicated to Pez-related POPs, not to be confused POP+Pez dispensers). Continuing the POP party, while the pre-order of the Walmart exclusive Jerry Seinfeld holding Tweety Pez POP that I placed back in March continues to be delayed, this figure started showing up in Walmart stores in June. I went ahead and snatched it up (and a couple of extras to bring to Pezamania for sale/trade) and will be cancelling my pre-order. In other news, after a harrowing search for the new Space Jam set, I finally found it in a CVS in Carmel, Indiana. As these things go, the set is now showing up in quite a few other places. So if you have a CVS or World Market in your area, definitely check them out to see if this new set is available.
The remainder of my June scores all came from Pez.com, including some that were ordered in May and came right at the start of the month. My Pez.com scores for June included the US Father's Day dispenser ("Super Dad") and THREE, count them THREE new mascots: Cherry, Grape, and Dragon Fruit. All of these dispensers were limited edition, Pez.com exclusives. I love all of these guys, and in fact 2 of them factor in to this month's issue (more on that in a bit). Having said that, I've written in the past about my mixed feelings of these limited edition dispensers, many of which show up unannounced, are sold out within hours, and are even listed as "retired" on the Pez website, all sometimes before people have the chance to even know they are available because they are busy with work, life, or whatever else. It can be frustrating but, as I have said before, it is not hard to find these for a reasonable price or trade in the Facebook Pez groups. I don't know how many more of these surprise, limited edition drops Pez will be announcing in the near future, but I have found that the quickest way to learn when they are released is to subscribe to the Pez.com mailing list (for US residents, go to the US site and scroll to the bottom of the page), or if you are on Facebook, join Pez groups such as Let's Talk Pez or Pez Community. Of course, then the next step is to obsessively check your email and Facebook notifications and that is not always possible!
Anyway, here is a picture of my June scores. I love them all!
And as for this issue of Pezhead Monthly, to quote Samuel L. Jackson from "Jurassic Park" (and not from many of his other movies, as this is a family-friendly publication), hold onto your butts because this may be one of the most feature-packed issues that ever was or ever will be, and I say that without exaggeration. Maybe it's the Pezamania anticipation, otherwise known as
but this month the Pez love cup really overfloweth with well, Pez love. Kicking things off is the cover image, a Pezzified poster of the classic Bruce Lee movie "Enter The Dragon" in celebration of the new Pez Dragon Fruit mascot.
In this issue, I also debut a video for "Grape", a Pez parody of the George Michael song "Faith." I first shared the lyrics to this song in last month's issue, but then I decided, what the heck, let's kick things up a notch and make a video for it! In addition, I go behind the scenes and talk about a few things that were big motivations for me to make the video.
After this, I share a few thoughts on preparing for a Pez convention, with a little something for everyone from first-time attendees to seasoned Pezheads who may want to make the leap from buying to selling, trading, and/or swagging (only to discover afterwards that I wrote a very similar article 8 years ago!).
But wait, there's more! There is an app available for Android and iOS devices called "Reface." One of its new features allows you to animate faces in pictures. When you throw Pez into the mix, the results are pretty crazy. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll perhaps wish to unsee what you have seen, but alas.. 'tis not unseeable.
And, because I am hip to the kids and the memes and what have you, I made a Pez-flavored version of a Star Wars meme featuring Anakin and Padme that was floating around in June. True, this being July, it may already be ancient history, but you gotta have grape er, I mean faith. #callback (See kids, I can hashtag too!)
And as always, Pezhead Monthly would not be Pezhead Monthly without some Pez Poetry. One of this month's offerings is a poem that is a sequel to last month's "Seven CVSs", with a bit more of a happy ending than that one had. And last but certainly not least, I am very pleased to feature a Pez sonnet by guest contributor Maria Tucciarone. It was a pleasure to receive Maria's submission and to correspond with her. She admirably celebrates both Pez AND William Shakespeare with some great iambic pentameter. I really love the poem and I think you will too! And as a note, Pezhead Monthly welcomes your submissions year-round. Check out the submission policy here.
So there's a lot
of stuff in this issue. It's definitely one for the books. (And I am
pretty sure that this easily sets the record for the longest message
from the editor in Pezhead Monthly history. Thank you for hanging in
there!) I hope that you enjoy at least some of this month's issue because
I had a really good time putting it together. Next month's issue will
feature my Pezamania recap and, hopefully, a big reveal of another project
that I will be working on and will, fingers crossed, have ready in time
for the big convention.
Lastly, I want to add a note here in appreciation of my wife Jessi. For the past 13 years, since our first date in July 2008, she has listened to me prattle on and on and on about Pez. This month in particular I really went into Pez overdrive. In between my ever-building excitement for Pezamania and the various creative bursts of energy I had for this month's issue, I am sure I have been quite the handful. I've lost track of the times that I excitedly burst into the room like Kramer on "Seinfeld" with the latest new Pez thought or idea to share. But through it all Jessi has been so kind and patient. She was the first to see the "Grape" video and what I am planning for Pezamania swag. She has offered me support and also some great suggestions on both Pezhead Monthly and Pezamania preparation. I honestly do not know how she does it, or how I'd do this without her. She is simply put an amazing partner. I love her very much and, especially in times like these, I realize how lucky and happy I am to have her by my side. (And, spoiler alert, this is not the last time I sing the praises of my lovely wife in this month's issue!)
Pezhead Monthly continues to celebrate 20 years of thinking outside the dispenser!. Check out all previous content for free at the archive page, and pick up some Pezhead Monthly merch at the CafePress store.
Did you miss last month's issue, where I touched on just some of the Pez goodness that happens in June? 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. And hey, maybe you would like to submit something to Pezhead Monthly to be featured in a single issue? That would be great! Check out the submission details here.
Thanks as always for reading Pezhead Monthly. Take care and see you next month!
In last month's issue of Pezhead Monthly, I shined a Pez spotlight on the month of June. One of the things I mentioned was that June 25 was the birthday of legendary musician George Michael. I included a couple of silly photo parodies as well as song parodies. One of these parodies was "Grape", which was a Pezzified version of George's biggest hit, "Faith." After publishing the issue, a couple of things happened. First, I could not stop singing "Gotta have grape, grape, grape" as I was washing the dishes or taking a shower or just walking down the hallway, which I am sure my wife did not get sick of at all. Second, PEZ Candy, Inc. announced a new addition to its mascot lineup: that's right, the Grape mascot.
Friends, if this isn't a sign, I don't know what is. So, I went ahead and recorded the song and made this video. Enjoy!
There are a few details about the video that I'd like to share. Although the song itself is about the grape flavor of Pez candy, I knew I had to incorporate the new grape mascot into the video somehow. It makes its first appearance in the second chorus. But then I looked around my Pez room and realized there were a couple of other things I could throw into the mix. The first was the POP+Pez dispenser Grape Ape. The second was grape-flavored Pez popcorn. This is a real thing! I have never tried it and guess what? I am okay with that.
Then, after the second chorus, there is an instrumental part of the song. This goes on for a little while and I was racking my brain trying to figure out how to fill the time. Then it hit me: how cool would it be for the classic video game character Pac-Man to devour grape Pez candy instead of those boring old dots? Then, with still some more time to kill in this instrumental part (thanks to George's catchy guitar playing), I took it a step further. Why not have Pac-Man's enemies, the ghosts, be replaced by some of the various Pez mascots that have been released? After all, there are getting to be quite a few of these things- not that I am complaining, mind you. I think it is a pretty cool design actually. So anyway, the mascots start to chase poor Pac-Man, only for him to suddenly get bigger and start chasing them, in an homage to the arcade game interlude. Some stills are below, but they can't compare to seeing it in action in the video. This whole sequence was lots of fun to put together, but it also took a heck of a lot of time. Maybe as I learn more about video editing, I can streamline this kind of thing in the future.
The last thing I will say about the video is that at the point of the third chorus, you will spot my then girlfriend and my now wife, Jessi. This was on our first big vacation together, out to San Francisco. What a fun time that was! On this particular day, we were on our way to the town of Burlingame, which was at one point home to an amazing Pez museum that is now, sadly, no longer open. You can still check out my Burlingame recap, a Pez poem, and, yes, another Pez song parody in the July 2009 issue of Pezhead Monthly.
Anyway, back to the video. I was wearing a Pez shirt for the occasion of the Burlingame museum, of course. But what I was not expecting was for Jessi to surprise me with a Pez shirt of her own! I'll never forget the feeling of shock and delight I had when she came out of that bathroom wearing the Pez shirt. The front of the shirt has the Pez logo and "GRAPE CANDY" and the back of the shirt reads "Have a Grape Day". Totally cool! So of course, I felt this was very fitting for the video I was putting together and, with her permission, I added it in.
I'd also like to add here that this is a really great example of how Jessi has always supported my love of Pez throughout or relationship. There was the time that she joined me at a Pez convention and, oh yes, there was also the time we got married surrounded by family, friends and lots of Pez. This is a very beautiful, caring, and remarkably patient woman that I am honored to have as my partner and who I love with all of my heart.
(Editor's Note: I wrote quite a lot of words on this subject for this month's issue, before realizing that I already covered it quite extensively 8 years ago in the July 2013 issue. In the immortal words of Buddy the Elf, "Son of a nutcracker!" What follows is an even longer, Frankensteined version of the 2013 piece combined with some new thoughts. Hopefully you will find some of it helpful as you prepare for your first and/or next Pez convention!)
Before I get into the typical preparations of a Pez convention, I'd like to mention the realities of attending a convention in 2021. Most importantly, definitely bring a face mask or two to the convention, even if you are fully vaccinated. And definitely plan for there to be people who are not vaccinated, for any number of reasons. At Pezamania, each person selling out of their room can choose to require masks or not and to limit the amount of people in their room. So it is best to be prepared, and also to be patient and understanding of people's different levels of comfort and safety.
Wish list and budget
The two main things that I would recommend doing to prepare for a Pez convention are putting together a wish list, and then, much like going to casinos, setting a budget and sticking to it. That second one is always hard! But it's also important, whether you are attending a full convention or maybe just the floor show that is open to the public.
For the wish list, planning ahead as much as possible is key. Look over your Pez collection and see what individual dispensers or complete sets you are missing, and decide on if you want to add them to your collection at this time. Search the pages of websites like Pez Collector Store (in particular, the New Pez page contains recent releases from the US and Europe) or eBay if you are not sure what else is out there. More than this, though, decide on your overall approach. Are you going to a convention strictly to get vintage pieces? Or current Pez that are not available in your part of the country or world? Or just a certain type of Pez item, like minis or giants? Or maybe, like me, you go for a little bit of this and a little bit of that? This is entirely up to you, so take your time and think about what you would love to add to your collection.
When you have your wish list ready to go, keep it handy on your mobile device in a note app such as Evernote or Google Keep. Add pictures of what you're looking for if you can.
The wish list and the budget go hand in hand, of course. If you are working with a smaller budget, I guarantee you will still find lots of stuff at a Pez convention depending on your approach. I'd recommend getting the current version of John LaSpina's price guide as a tool to plan your list and budget (it does not have any pictures but is still an invaluable guide to have with you). If you don't have the current LaSpina guide, I would recommend that being the first thing you get. If you are going to Pezamania this year, John will be in room 119. Be sure to wear a mask!
A big draw of Pez conventions, in my view, is all of the great vintage pieces. I usually prefer to buy vintage only in person, where I can see them and ask the seller about them. When it comes to vintage Pez, maybe you aren't ready to drop several hundred or thousand dollars yet. So instead, maybe set your eye on a particular vintage set and collect them one or two at a time over the course of multiple conventions over the years. This is how I eventually completed the Superhero Softhead set, as well as the Eerie Spectre set. Try to think of it as a form of layaway.
Another budget-friendly approach to adding vintage to your collection that I've picked up on over the years is to work within a financial range. There are a lot of great vintage Pez that you can get in the $20 range, especially Disney and holiday dispensers. Once you've picked up all of the ones you like at that range, then maybe go up to the $50 range. Then the $80 range, and so on.
For conventions like Pezamania that may have various auctions and raffles, you might also want to set aside a bit of money for that. Sure, some of the auctions might get priced beyond your comfort limit, but you might find something that fits your budget in something like a silent auction. And don't forget that you'll need to factor in money for gas, food, and drinks, and of course the hotel. Even more so if you'll be attending for multiple days.
For the budget, one last thing: bring cash! And be careful with it, of course. Cash makes it much easier to stick to your budget, and is the most widely accepted form of payment at conventions. Realistically you may need to bring at least one credit card to pay for the hotel room, but try to set it aside only for that purpose. There is typically an ATM at the convention hotel, but you never know when it will run out of cash so I find it's best to bring it ahead of time, And definitely don't make the mistake I did at my first Pez convention, when I set up a PIN for my credit card to pull money from the ATM!
This year, my budget is a little bit bigger than it usually is for Pezamania since I kept aside some of the money I saved for last year's convention that was cancelled. Still, I intend to keep a careful eye on what I am spending, as money can go pretty fast at these events!
As far as my wish list, there are 3 remaining pieces from the Bicentennial set that I have my eye on. I may only get one or two of them, or I might go nuts and get all 3. There are also a few dispensers I have my eye on to fill out existing sets. And I am sure there will be unexpected things that will catch my eye. And I am always looking for fantasy Batmans and Batmans on cards (including factory errors) that I don't already have.
I've also found it extremely helpful to bring pictures of my Pez collection with me to a convention, or for that matter when I am out and about Pez hunting. I add the pictures to my phone and/or tablet, so I have them with me at conventions when I am out and about room hopping or at the Saturday floor show. This way, I can quickly see which Pez I have and where the gaps are, especially for those sets that may have revised characters such as all of the Mickeys and Minnies, or just a plethora of different characters such as Hello Kitty. Zooming in on the pictures to see smaller details can prevent you from buying duplicates, and can also allow you to find some great new additions that you didn't even know you were missing.
The May 2021 issue of Pezhead Monthly gave some tips on how to take useful pictures of your collection. As I mentioned in the May issue, I have fallen short on Pez pictures lately. At this point, it's a bit too late for me to play catch up with pictures before Pezamania. But before I head out to the convention, I will be sure to take some nice, clear, hi-res pictures of each of my shelves, so that I will at least be able to zoom in on specific dispensers for some good details.
Once you've been collecting for a little while, you may have come across extras that you've picked up in sales or trades. A Pez convention is a great place to bring these types of things, especially if they are of a limited edition or have something else special that sets them apart. You can sell right out of your room if you do not want to pay for a dealer table in the ballroom. You may be able to get some cash for your extras (to put towards more Pez, of course), or maybe you can trade them for other Pez that you don't have yet. And even if your extras are common, it does not hurt to bring them to a Pez convention because there may very well be someone who would like them. For example, Pezamania has a swap party on Thursday nights, and even if no one may want to buy your extras, there is a good chance that some new and/or young Pezheads who are just starting their collection may be interested in what you see as common pieces. You may end up giving these away instead of selling or trading them, but trust me, it will be worth it.
Along with this, think of fair prices that you would like to sell your stuff for. Look on eBay, Pez Collector Store, and the LaSpina price guide. You don't need to add price tags to every item, but maybe write or print out the prices on a few sheets of paper. And expect that that people may want to negotiate, so try to be flexible wherever you can. I tend to set prices fairly low and will often negotiate if someone offers, because my goal is to clear out what I am selling to make more room for new stuff to bring home, of course!
Also, for selling, definitely plan to bring plenty of singles, a good number of fives and tens, and some 20s. It's often the case that someone may only have a $20 bill to pay for something you're selling for $1-2. Preparing for this will make things go more smoothly, and will possibly prevent losing a buyer who does not have anything smaller and has to break the larger bill.
This year, as I have done often in the past, I will be bringing some extras for sale or trade. Every year it seems that my stock pile of extras keeps growing. I'm sure it has nothing to do with me getting doubles of pretty much every Pez I buy! But for Pezamania, I expect to bring some of the many recent limited edition releases from Pez.com, some other pieces I've picked up over the past few years, and the usual assortment of stuff that I have been slowly selling or trading over many years. Maybe I will sell these, or maybe I can trade them for some items on my wish list. But I will need to spend some time sorting through it determine what to take.
Also this year, I'll be trying something different. I am planning to bring a few more creative pieces for sale, including one thing in particular that I've been putting a lot of time and effort into. As of this writing I am still working on it, with the hope that it will be ready to go for the big show. I don't want to ruin the surprise for those who are reading this and may be attending, but I'll tell all about it in next month's issue or else in another one soon.
Dollies and tables
If you do sell out of your room, you may want to invest in a few things that will come in handy year after year. First, consider a dolly that is portable enough to pack in your car and that won't take up too much space for Pez. Having your own dolly at Pez conventions is helpful, because the hotel dollies tend to be in high demand. I've also found it helpful to transport my Pez for the Thursday swap party. The dolly I purchased has an adjustable handle, and can also convert to a cart for larger loads. It has a 400-lb capacity, which should (hopefully) be enough for all of the Pez I will be bringing to Pezamania, and the new Pez I will be bringing back. Check out your local or big box hardware store to see what options are out there.
Second, depending on how much you want to sell, maybe consider a portable table with foldable legs (again, provided it does not take up too much room in your car). But if you would rather not do this, don't forget that your hotel room will have things like an ironing board, a bench, and of course a bed/beds, which should provide plenty of room for you lay out your stuff to sell.
One fun thing you might like to do for a Pez convention is to bring what is known as "swag." This is a homemade item to make and give away to others at the convention, and in turn you can get swag from other people too. Swag will definitely take some time and planning to put together, but it also gives you a chance to flex your creative, crafty, and/or baking muscles. I have seen many different types of swag over the years, including bookmarks, can koozies, and even cookies with Pez candy baked in! You'll also want to take into consideration the size of the event when thinking about swag. For smaller gatherings, maybe make 25 or so. For larger conventions like Pezamania, aim for about 75 to 100.
Many people choose to create custom candy wrappers to give away too. Recently, my Pez friend Rory was kind enough to share a template for making custom wrappers. Maybe you can use this for making your own custom candy wrappers for Pezamania, or whatever your next Pez convention may be. Thanks again for sharing, Rory!
The 2020 IN Crowd gathering was my first foray into creating swag. I had a fun time with it for sure. I am also planning on some swag for Pezamania. I've got one definite idea and a few other possible ones too. It will depend on how much time I have between now and the convention to put things together.
Above all, I very much encourage you to get excited about going to a Pez convention! This is a point that I make often in this publication. Yes, there is some planning and pre-work that goes into it. But never forget how cool and awesome this hobby of Pez collecting is, and the joy that it brings to you. At a Pez convention, you are going to see more Pez, from one-of-a-kind vintage pieces to brand new releases to items from all over the world, than you'll ever see in another single place. And what's more, you'll be with your people! These are fellow Pezheads who share your love of this hobby, who will listen to you geek out about it and will geek out about it in return to you. You will meet long-time members of the hobby who will share their expertise and tell some great stories. You'll play games and maybe attend a seminar or forum. You'll meet people as new as (or newer than) you are to the hobby. You'll make new friends and then eventually you will see old ones at the next convention.
It's my view that going to conventions is a big part of being a Pezhead. The more conventions you attend, the more you will look forward to them. With some preparation ahead of time, and with some fun to be had once you're there, you'll become a better, wiser, and happier Pezhead at a Pez convention, whether it is your first one or your 20th. And as soon as it's over, you'll want to do it all over again.
Pez Poetry | top
Ode to Pez
- A Sonnet
I've been collecting
Pez for 20 years
Pez Haiku #153
Eleven CVSs (or Seven CVSs, Part 2)
In Carmel, Indiana,
I took a couple
I've been in CVSs
The big meme that all of the kids have been talking about lately is one that features Anakin and Padme from the Star Wars prequel "Attack of the Clones." The idea behind it is that Anakin says something so ridiculous that Padme asks him about it jokingly. Then, after seeing Anakin's deadly serious face, she asks the same question again, only this time with a sense of dread.
Now that I've explained
this meme to death, please enjoy this Pez-flavored twist on Anakin and
Padme's fateful conversation.
If you have an Apple or Android smartphone, I highly recommend downloading the Reface app. This is a "deepfake" app that is astonishingly good at what it does. You can upload your picture into a movie clip or gif and the results are uncanny, funny, and a little freaky. Recently, Reface kicked it up a notch or two. One of its new features allows you to animate faces in pictures and have them sing or speak from a variety of preselected pieces.
I tried my luck with some Pez pictures and the results were hilarious and insane and definitely unforgettable. I posted these to my Twitter feed (where I also post Pezhead Monthly updates, by the way) and am including them below for your enjoyment.
In this first picture, Kristoff from last year's "Frozen 2" set sings a very fitting Queen song. Kristoff was originally an exclusive dispenser that was only found in the Frozen 2 tin. So when he was suddenly spotted on his own separate card, he became quite sought after item. Kristoff may want to break free, but he ain't goin' nowhere.
In this next clip, Marilyn Monroe Pez (who was also featured in last year's "Candy Loaded In" video), sings a song called "I Wanna Be Loved By You" that was performed by Marilyn in the classic 1959 movie "Some Like It Hot."
And lastly, in an image taken from a July 2011 Pezhead Monthly feature where I imagined The Monkees as Pez dispensers, Peter Tork Pez channels Joey Tribbiani from the popular sitcom "Friends."
Enjoy Pez, but please do so responsibly.