Thinking Outside The Dispenser Since 2001
Hello there, and welcome to Pezhead Monthly! With Halloween behind us, the year is rapidly coming to a close. Before you know it, we'll be gathering around the table for Thanksgiving and then will be upon the holiday season and a new year ahead
But before we get that far, there's plenty of juice left in the 2022 engine. For example, in October I had the privilege of attending in 3 Pez events, including an in-home gathering in Indiana, a virtual convention, and a screening of the movie "The Pez Outlaw." Other notable Pez happenings in October included gatherings in Kutztown, Pennsylvania and Norwich, United Kingdom, as well as the release of "The Pez Outlaw" on a variety of streaming services and DVD/Blu-Ray. And on top of all of this, Pezamania 32, set for July 2023, has already opened up registrations! I registered right away and, along with the hotel reservation made in September, am officially good to go for the biggest Pez convention of the year. I can't wait!
Also in October, in preparation for visiting friends, I spent a lot of time updating my Pez room, including building 2 more pieces of furniture from IKEA and putting a lot more of my collection on display. I have a bit more fine-tuning to go and plan to share details and pictures in next month's issue.
As for this month's issue, I walk through the three big Pez events I experienced in October, which involved 3 consecutive weekends of Pez fun. There is also some Pez Poetry and, in case you missed it, a cover image to celebrate, in a Pez-flavored manner, "Weird Al" Yankovic and the release of his new movie, "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story." I have not had a chance to see the movie yet, but definitely plan on doing so soon. Weird Al has been a major influence on me as well as on Pezhead Monthly. I've written many Pez song parodies over the years, all of which can be found here.
Along with this month's issue comes a few more updates: an updated Thanksgiving archive page featuring Pezhead Monthly stuff from past (and present) and a YouTube playlist that consists of my Pez Poetry readings from the last 3 Virtual Pez Conventions, including the most recent one from October 2022.
As for my October scores? Boy howdy there were a lot of them. These included some new Topher treasures, lots of Pez gathering and convention scores, stuff from Pez.com, and more. I'll cover all of these scores, along with my November scores, in next month's issue.
Thanks as always for reading Pezhead Monthly. Take care and see you soon!
P.S. 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. And hey, maybe you would like to submit some words, photos, artwork, or videos to Pezhead Monthly to be featured in an upcoming issue? That would be great! Check out the submission details here.
Last November, I told the tale of two Pez events. And next November, it may very well be another tale of two Pez events, as long as the IN Crowd and Virtual Pez Convention (VPC) continue to take place in October. But for this year at least, there were not two but THREE Pez events in October: IN Crowd 2022, the fall VPC, and a screening of the documentary "The Pez Outlaw" at a local film festival. And in a weird way, there was a common thread that ran throughout these three events, in addition to Pez itself of course.
Starting out on the first day of October, I made my way once again to New Palestine, Indiana for the IN Crowd 2022 Pez gathering. It was a beautiful autumn day. As was the case last year, this was hosted by Paige at her house, this time along with her father Joe. The crowd was a bit smaller than last year but the Pez fun was as big as always. It was great to see everyone, including a few people I had not seen in a while or who I met for the first time. We had some good food and conversation and of course there was plenty of Pez to be had.
This year, the tables for Pez selling and trading were set up in the garage. I brought a few things to sell, along with some swag. My swag this year consisted of three things: a sticker of the Indiana state flag with a Pez dispenser added to it, a custom Pezhead Monthly candy roll, and a Pezhead Monthly mini-calendar.
As for the Indiana state flag sticker, you can check it out along with all of the other pezzified Indiana images on the Pezhead Monthly Indiana archive page. As for the custom Pezhead Monthly candy roll, I first made these for Pezamania 30 last year, but with 10 different Pez quotes on them, there's a good chance that people got something new. And as for the mini-calendar, I surprisingly never thought of this before. Kind of weird given that this publication is called Pezhead Monthly. Oh well! I expect that this calendar may be an annual thing moving forward.
I picked up a lot of stuff at IN Crowd 2022, much more than I was planning to. (I'll share details and pictures of these scores in next month's issue.) In addition to the stuff I bought, there was also stuff I won. This was quite unexpected since I rarely win Pez contests or giveaways. For starters, there was a jar with Pez candies where we all guessed the amount. My guess was the closest one there. Then there were a bunch of raffle prizes, and I won multiple prizes of these prizes, too. Each of the prizes came with a special prize dispenser. Had I been thinking clearly, I would have put some of the prizes back in the pot for others to win. Alas, I did not do this and I feel bad about it. But afterwards, I did give one away in a Facebook drawing and donated another one to the VPC. The VPC giveaway is a whole other story and I'll get back to that a bit later on.
Here is a picture of almost everyone who attended IN Crowd 2022, except for a few others who left earlier and were not included in this picture. Thanks again to Batman for dropping in, stealthy as always.
Just a short week after IN Crowd 2022 was the VPC, hosted as always by Landon Proctor and Morgan Rhinehart. A trademark of the October VPC is the artwork auction that benefits the VPC charity, the VPC Scholarship Fund. Before the auction took place, however, there was lots more fun to be had.
There were, as always, tours of Pez rooms and informational sessions. You can click on the links that follow to go right to them, and I strongly encourage you to do so because the combination of seeing Pez displays and hearing the stories behind them is one you don't want to miss. For starters, there were some fun mini tours by Pez collectors Bill Faith, Kelly Marsicano, and Sarah Bouboulis. There were two featured tours as well, the first of which was a very interesting session by Jason Heimbach on Merry Music Makers (MMMs). Jason has some incredible MMM variations and it was fascinating to see and hear all about them. The second featured tour was by Ryan Niemiec. The highlight of Ryan's quite impressive collection was a jaw-dropping array of vintage crocodiles (click here to go directly to that part of the tour).
A new feature that was introduced at the previous VPC in March 2022, the enabler tour, continued with the October VPC. Enablers, for those unfamiliar with the term, are spouses, partners, family members, or others who patiently and devotedly support a Pezhead's collecting hobby. Some enablers, it turns out, have pretty impressive collections of their own that are not Pez collections. This time around, the featured enabler was Len Bayliss. Len is the husband of Becky Mathers, whose Pez room was featured in a mini-tour at the very first VPC in April 2020. Len's collection was Star Wars figures. I sat with him and Becky briefly at the Michigan Pez convention in June and he showed me a bunch of pictures of his collection. To see them in the video at the VPC, though, was another whole experience. Holy cow were we all blown away by it! He breathlessly took us through shelf after shelf of figures, some of which were in the stadium-type displays that Pez collectors use, and others set up in scenes from the movies, including one of the opening scene of 1977's "A New Hope" and one of the Mos Eisley cantina. To call this collection impressive is seriously understating it. On top of that, towards the end of his tour he started to show off his impressive Marvel action figure collection too. He showed us quite a bunch of those, but I am thinking we'll need another whole tour to see them all. Two thumbs way up for Len's enabler tour. Between Len and Becky, there is plenty of collecting and enabling going both ways and I can dig it.
And lastly, I am pleased to report that I had a small contribution to the VPC. I cannot emphasize enough what an enormous honor is has been to be invited back multiple times to the VPC to read my Pez Poetry. Last October, I dressed as my close personal friend and life coach "Weird Al" Yankovic to read a Halloween Pez poem. In March of this year, I hopped to it with a poem about Spring and a wacky attempt at a Pez version of "Rapper's Delight.". For this VPC, I decided to kick it up a notch. I invested in a (surprisingly affordable) green screen and some matching green clothing (which may also come in handy for future Pezhead Monthly shenanigans?) and, combined with a strategically placed background image, came up with a new way to read my Pez poetry (in this case, another Halloween poem, "A Pez Nightmare"). This was my first try at a live green screen event and overall it went okay, despite a few glitches and the fact that I was dealing with a head cold at the time. I look forward to continuing to work on this technology in the future. Here is a video of the event, queued up to the start of the poem.
There were also lots of giveaways throughout the VPC that consisted of prizes donated by Pezheads. One of these was donated by me, and featured my IN Crowd swag from the last 3 gatherings (2020, 2021, and 2022), as well as one of the extra prize dispensers that I won at this year's IN Crowd. And oddly enough, the winner of that prize was none other than my Pez pal Dave Short! Dave happens to be a fellow Indiana resident who was at the IN Crowd just a week ago. (Dave is also in a local band called Full Tilt. I have not had the fortune of seeing them live yet, but hope to do so soon.) And it turns out that I would be seeing him soon, so shipping was not an issue. As for me, I was lucky enough to win the very last giveaway, which was a gift certificate to the Pez Collector's Store. I am sure I will have no problems finding something from this store! I've gotten many items from the store over the years, including most of the grandstand displays that hold the loose dispensers in my Pez room.
The VPC also had a charity auction featuring some wonderful art, including artwork, fantasy dispensers, a custom skateboard, and more. I bid on a few of these items before the prices got a bit out of my price range. But I did manage to win a set of superhero drawings by the gifted artist Eddie Santiago. One of these was the Batman piece I scored earlier this year at Pezamania and the other was a Spider-Man piece that I will show in next month's coverage of my recent scores.
Lastly, the VPC had a special dispenser truck made for this event. I scooped this up right away and it arrived recently a few days ago along with a couple other items sent to thank me for participating in the event. Look for pictures of these in next month's issue!
All told, between
the charity auction and the VPC dispenser, the VPC raised a total of
$3690 for their scholarship. That is an incredible amount!
The last of the October 2022 Pez events I experienced was a screening of "The Pez Outlaw" at the Heartland International Film Festival (HIFF) in my hometown of Indiana. In my recap of the Michigan convention earlier this year, I talked about my first time seeing this movie and how much I enjoyed it. Seeing it in the comfort of the Living Room Theater here in Indy was a real treat too. If you have not seen "The Pez Outlaw," I highly recommend that you check it out. It's available on iTunes, Amazon, and multiple other platforms. It is an underdog story of a man named Steve Glew and his adventures for- and also against- Pez. It's also a love story and is at times quite funny and quite moving. It touches on issues of family and mental health. And of course, I may be biased but the subject matter is very appealing. It's really something else to experience a movie about my favorite hobby and some of the people I have gotten to know in it over the years.
Interestingly enough, I first learned that "The Pez Outlaw" was coming to the HIFF a few days before the IN Crowd gathering earlier in the month. I was contacted by Jessica, the HIFF marketing manager (I am guessing she found this website in a web search), who shared with me the times and locations for the three HIFF screenings. She asked me if I knew of any other Pez collectors in the area who may be interested. I told her "Heck yeah!" (I may be paraphrasing here) and that in fact an Indiana Pez gathering was going to take place in a matter of days. So I shared the news with my Pez pals on Facebook and also at the IN Crowd, and passed along the discount code Jessica gave me.
I opted for the Sunday screening at the Living Room Lounge and attended with my lovely wife, who had not seen it before. I had coordinated with my Pez pal Dave Short, who also attended with his wife, to sit next to them. Yes, this is the same Dave who won my giveaway prize at the VPC just the week before! We had both gotten our "Pez Outlaw" tickets before the VPC, so this was quite the strange coincidence. And I have to say that this unexpected common thread across all three Pez events from consecutive weeks was something else. I mean, what are the odds?
Along with the four of us, there were plenty of others who attending the screening. I don't think that I recognized any of them but I did see that some of them came with their own Pez dispensers, including one guy in our row who had a giant Darth Vader Pez. It was exciting to see local collectors (or maybe just fans?) there. Much like when I attend Pez conventions, a thought played over and over again in my head: These were my people!
The movie ended and it got a nice round of applause from the audience. And if that was not enough, there was a bonus treat: the director, Bryan Storkel came out after the meeting for a Q&A! (Bryan is one half of the directing duo, along with his wife Amy, who was not there). It was a very informative session in which Bryan talked a bit more about Steve and some of the other people in the movie, as well as the challenges they faced in striking a balance between the comedic aspects and some of the more serious aspects such as a discussion of mental health issues. Bryan also hung out after the movie in the lobby to talk to us. He was a great guy and I really appreciated his time and insight. My only regret really was not planning ahead of time to bring something for him to sign.
I would have loved to stick around for a bit longer and maybe hang out with Dave and his wife, but both my wife and I were feeling a bit under the weather so we made our way back home shortly after the movie ended.
It's hard to believe that these 3 Pez events- IN Crowd 2022, VPC, and "The Pez Outlaw" screening- all took place in October and in such rapid succession. By the time all was said and done, the month was just barely halfway over! I think I needed the rest of the month just to recover from everything. But I am so glad for all of it and I'm already looking forward to the next Pez event down the road, whenever that may be.
An Acrostic to Commemorate Registering for Pezamania 32
Stuffing the turkey,
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