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Pezhead Monthly
August 2006

Cover and Table of Contents | Page 2 | Page 3

Spring Loaded: A Message from the Editor top of page | cover page

Welcome once again to the pages of Pezhead Monthly! Believe it or not, this issue marks the first one of Volume 6. It's hard to believe the Pez train keep a'rollin', and yet it does.

Actually, 2006 has been such an amazing flurry of Pez activity for me in general. In June I went to the St. Louis convention for the first time, which was fun. Then I attended Pezamania in July, which was, if I may say, life-altering. But it's not over yet- a few days ago I learned that, for the first time, I will be attending the Minnesota convention happening in August. I hear great things about this convention and am very much looking forward to it (look for a recap of that convention in next month's issue). All of this means much more Pez, obviously, but also the chance to meet a lot of new Pezheads and travel to new places. It's a fun time to be sure and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now.

The first issue of Pezhead Monthly's Volume 6, you will discover, is very much focused on the big bash in Cleveland known as Pezamania. First off, there is the annual Pezamania convention recap, chronicling my many adventures in the land of Pez and honey. There is also an exclusive interview with the awesome Pezamania 16 Tote Bag, and a brand new song celebrating the convention called "Pezamania High." Lastly, there is some Pez Poetry and of course the Pez Almost-Quote. In addition, be sure to check out my Pezamania 16 slideshow.

Lastly, I am pleased to announce the 2006 Pez Poetry Slam will be held in the November 2006 issue. Pezhead Monthly is now accepting your submissions for this issue, so check out the site's submission guidelines and start sending those Pez poems in! More details to follow...

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to another great year of literary explorations of all things Pez. See you next month!

Joe Durrant
Editor, Pezhead Monthly


Pezamania 16: Pinch Me, I Must Be Dreaming top of page | cover page

You'd think that after 5 straight years of attending Pezamania, one would call it quits. After all, how many more years can one go to the biggest and wildest 3-day Pezhead extravaganza in the world? How long can the magic really last?

It turns out, the magic can last- and has lasted- at least 6 years for this one humble Pezhead. And, based on the super, splendiferous, and all around spectacular time I had in Cleveland this year, the magic will be lasting for many, many years to come. While previous Pezamanias have definitely been a blast, this one stands out as a bold, new step for the world's largest Pez convention, now going on 17 years.

Even as the rain comes pouring down, the Pezamania welcome sign stands tall, a beacon for Pezheads everwhere.

This year marked the first one for new hosts John and Linda Gliha. Let me tell you, these two people really did an outstanding job of making Pezheads feel welcome and feel like they got their money's worth. Aided in no small part by several other Pez collectors and dealers who graciously donated their time, effort, money, and of course Pez, the Glihas' professional tone and innovative event planning set a new standard for which all future Pezamanias should aspire.

Bold words, aren't they? Well, within 20 minutes of arriving at the hotel, I believed it.

Things started off great when, for the first time in 6 years, I decided to stay at the actual hotel, rather than saving a few bucks by staying at a nearby hotel. From now on, it's the Holiday Inn for me. Home base. Headquarters. Ground Zero, baby. Not only does staying at the hotel keep you closer to the action, I discovered, but it also keeps you on a better pace. No longer do you have to jump in the hot car and drive back to your hotel to drop off some of your Pez loot and/or get some more money, now you just take a couple flights of stairs and you're there. Plus, let's face it, Pez shopping, while quite a thrill, can also be kind of hectic (those familiar with several Pez conventions tell me that Pezamania is well known for being rather crazy in that regard). That, combined with allthat summer heat, means you deserve a break now and then in a nice air-conditioned room on your terms. All of this made me greatly appreciate the Holiday Inn room more, even if I paid a little extra for it.

Plus, I brought my laptop and was better able to monitor my finances, which came in handy, because boy did I spend a lot (more on that later). And there was the free wireless internet, which was kind of nice... except, because it was an unsecured network, I believe that someone was able to hack into my computer and eBay account, causing a minor bit of havoc to say the least. But that is another story, and trust me, I'm okay now. I think.

Anyway, back to the Pez action. About 20 minutes after checking in and getting my room, I went to pick up my registration packet. I was warmly greeted by the Glihas, who provided a fantastic welcoming package put together in a wonderful Pezamania tote bag (elsewhere in this issue, I have the rare opportunity to interview said Pezamania tote bag, which spills the beans on all the goodies contained therein). A friendly conversation or two later, and I was on my way to some big-time Pez hunting.

And boy, did I hunt. According to my records, in the following 4 hours I picked up about 20 new dispensers, including newer pieces like the new NCAA footballs and the Gold Fish out of Water from Chicken Little, and vintage pieces like Mowgli and a Monkey Sailor. A flurry of Pez action, to say the least.

After a bit of rest and a somewhat disappointing dinner, I headed right back to it. I brought some of my wares to the annual swap party to trade or sell. While I traded and sold… um… nothing, I did pick up a Batman dispenser variation. And if nothing else, I got to show off my two recent wins from eBay, a fantasy Frankenstein made from a Pez Pal Boy dispenser, and an amazingly done fantasy full body skeleton.

Three vintage Disney dispensers I picked up: (l to r) King Louie, Dalmation, and Mowgli.

Friday came, and signaled more room hopping and the seminars. Here was another area where the Glihas' programming shined. Instead of several smaller seminars, they had one 2-hour one. It featured a well-known Pez dealer named Joe "Gotdank" Paravati, talking about everything from variations that affect a dispenser's price, to his history in the hobby, to some of his tips for successful Pez hunting on eBay. Joe put on an engaging presentation through and through and should be commended for it.

After the Gotdank Experience, one of the most highly anticipated events of Pezamania 16 took place. Scores, if not hundreds, of Pezheads poured into

the convention ballroom to get an exclusive first look at the new documentary, "PEZHeads: The Movie." The lights went down and, 80 minutes later, the filmmakers received a hearty ovation. Although the version was not final (some final editing will be added when it comes out on DVD), Pezheads in attendance definitely liked what they saw. I really enjoyed the several informative and entertaining interviews, as well as a tour of the PEZ USA factory. I really enjoyed it and I wish the filmmakers all the success in the world. You can pre-order the DVD from their website, including a version with an exclusive dispenser, before prices go up in a few weeks. Chris and Chris, the film's director and producer, respectively, mentioned that it should ship in August or September.

One more note about the movie- recall that last year, I was interviewed by the filmmakers. My interview was not in the version premiered at Cleveland, which I maintain is a good thing, given the excess amount of sweat and cellulite that was no doubt highlighted by the camera (a possibility remains that I might be on one of the many DVD featurettes mentioned by the filmmakers). However, a brief shot of me shooting a Nerf blowdart was captured. It was not on target, I was not sober, and it was not pretty. However, it was part of an overall great montage (even Rocky had a montage) highlighting the fun that was had at the Cinci Pezheads' renowned post-Bingo party.

Coinciding with the very end of the movie, the hotel's fire alarm went off. Some genius apparently threw their cigarette into a bush, right outside some of the Pez dealers' rooms. So that sound you may have heard on July 21, 2006 at 4:45 PM EST was likely the collective gasps of hundreds of Pezheads, realizing how very close their collections came to annihilation. Well, I was gasping, at least. Fortunately, the fire was contained rather quickly.

After another break back at the air-conditioned, on-site hotel room, and a tasty burger at Red Robin, I headed back to the ballroom for some Pez bingo. It was clear that the Glihas took extra care to ensure a highly enjoyable bingo time for all. For one, the prizes were among the best I've ever seen, if not the best. The games also proceeded quickly, aided greatly from a lively announcer. Interspersed with the bingo games were various auctions benefiting St. Jude's Children Hospital. And the grand prize at bingo, a collection of 6 circus dispensers on a pentagon stand, was a fitting climax to the evening's bingo-related festivities.

Mind you, as usual, there were no bingo-related festivities for me in particular, despite a couple of close calls. However, I did get to meet a couple of new people at my table, so that was pretty cool.

And really, there is no better place to be post-bingo than at the aptly named Cincy Pezheads post-Bingo party. As I've stated before, this is a highlight every year at Pezamania. This year was indeed no different. You're guaranteed to met old friends and new alike at this party, talk some Pez, have some drinks, and play some games, all of which I did. A bunch of fine people, us Pezheads are. The exclusive Cincy dispenser this year was an iPez, a ball dispenser painted with the iPod control configuration. I got a black head version with my $5 party ticket, and a white head version when our team was the overall winner in the games. Speaking of the games, my favorite had to have been the Price Is Right game, where we had to guess prices of dispensers called out, based on the 2006 Laspina price guide. The Nerf blowdarts also made an appearance again, and while my team got creamed on that one, I did manage to take down a Pineapple Sourz dispenser. It's the little victories, really. Thanks again to the Cincy Pezheads for another great party and great unique Pez dispenser. And thanks also to Tom Zellmer, who did a fine job of organizing and hosting the games. And thanks also to the hotel official who dropped by and suggested that we consider closing the door if we planned on carrying on at such an excessive volume at 12:30am. Something tells me he wasn't a Pezhead. But hey, it's all good.

The inevitable blues set in upon waking up on Saturday. You Cleveland attendees know what I'm talking about: the realization that in a matter of hours, it will all be over. So I packed up my stuff and brought in to the car, and headed back to the ballroom for one last hurrah. One last time to see fellow Pezheads, reflect on another great convention, and look forward to seeing everyone again next year. I picked up a few more neat pieces, thanked the Glihas again for an outstanding job of hosting the convention, and by noon I was on the road.

As for my take-home haul… well, without exaggerating, this was by far the biggest one yet for me. In total, I scored more than 40 different dispensers- some brand new ones, some recent ones to fill out my sets, and of course some great vintage pieces. I give lots of credit to John Laspina's comprehensive price guide for letting me plan my purchases ahead of time and recognize the gaps in my collection that needed filled.

Crystal SkullFavorite vintage dispensers had to have been Bullwinkle and the Penguin softhead. I also got a bunch ofneat current stuff, like two of the unmasked Incredibles released only in Europe, as well as a 50th Anniversary Golden Glow dispenser from 2002. Another cool thing I got was a light that someone made that goes into the base of any given crystal dispenser so that when you stand it upright, it lights up. Check out the effect it gives on this new crystal skull I got (pictured to the right).

One thing I discovered at this convention was that I felt the need to collect as many Batman variations as possible. I don't do this for nearly any other character, because to collect every variation (including head and stem variations) would take many, many years and lots of money. But for Batman, I feel it is a cause worth pursuing. After my Pezamania additions, I currently have 12 different Batmans. I understand that there are at least 10 or 20 more. And I very much look forward to hunting them done, one by one.

So now that Pezamania 16 is history, I cannot help but reflect on another fantastic time in Cleveland. So many friends, so much fun, and good gracious, so much Pez. Congratulations to the Glihas on a great first year as hosts, and here is to many, many more.

And I know this much: Pezamania 17 cannot come soon enough. In the meantime, all the standard Pez hunts will continue, with a few new ones as well (more on that next issue). Armed with my trusty Laspina guide, my hard-earned money, and my undying passion for the magic and wonder of Pez, I move forward with enthusiasm and purpose through what is without a doubt the most exciting time I've ever experienced as a collector.

Being a Pezhead has never felt as good as it does right now.

(Editor's Note: Be sure to check out the Pezamania 16 slideshow, as well as the new song "Pezamania High" )

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