Thinking Outside The Dispenser
Loaded: A Message From the Editor
Panel Surfin' at the VPC
The Limited Leprechaun
Spring Loaded: A Message from the Editor | top
Hello there! Happy April from Pezhead Monthly.
Looking back on March, it sure was an interesting month to be a Pezhead. We had another installment of the Virtual Pez Convention (VPC), which was a fun time that I talk about later in this issue. We also got confirmation that Pezamania is back on in July! This will be a big Pez convention- indeed, the biggest- and there is a lot of excitement for it in the Pez community, as it was sidelined last year thanks to the you-know-what. It will be interesting to see how the convention looks in this environment (which still could change between now and July). As for me, I registered for the convention and booked the hotel and I can't wait to go and to see everyone again. I've also got my first of 2 Covid vaccine shots in the books, with the next one coming in a few weeks, which makes me feel good going into Pezamania. This is in addition to Pez on the River in September and, local to me, the IN Crowd Indiana Pez gathering in October. The convention news was not all good this month, as we learned that the Michigan Pez Convention is going to be postponed again until 2022. Hosts Jim and Jody Blaine explained that the decision was tough but necessary. I completely understand but I know this is a special convention that a lot of people will miss this year. I have not been able to make it to a Michigan convention yet, but I hope to make it out when it comes around next year.
Also in March, we got some surprises from Pez.com. The first one was a limited edition Leprechaun (which was the most recent Groom dispenser with a green makeover and a printed stem). This seemed to catch everyone by surprise and there was a mad rush for it. There was also a surprise new Easter egg that was exclusive to Pez.com and the Pez Visitor's Center. The egg has a frog painted on it and looks pretty neat. Meanwhile, the dispensers that have been "coming soon" for a while, which are 4 different Bee dispensers (including 1 that is online exclusive), are not out yet. All over the US, the refresh buttons of Pezheads' computer keyboards have been getting quite the workout. Hopefully these bees will be buzzing in soon!
My March scores were quite plentiful, thanks in large part to the Pez Collectors Store. From this mecca of Pez goodies, I picked up a whole bunch of European dispensers, including the new Hello Kitty Bee Bonnet set with printed stems, the updated Bambi and Dumbo dispensers, the Mickey and Minnie Hashtag Set, the Masha and the Bear set from the Russian cartoon, and the 2021 European Emoji Pez with printed stems. On the POP+Pez side, I picked up the 2 Dragonball Z dispensers, Mecha Frieza and Perfect Cell, as well as Aang from The Last Airbender series. I also picked up a dog toy that bears a striking resemblance to a Pez dispenser, and I further grew my fantasy Batman collection by gettin' all Frankenstein with the new set of Peeps dispensers. Lastly, I was very lucky to get both the Leprechaun and the frog egg from Pez.com.
Below is a picture of all of my March scores. You can click it for larger view.
You may notice that I got two of the Leprechaun dispensers, and that they are slightly different. Below is a closer look. You will see that one of the dispensers is missing the printed shamrock and words "St. Patrick's Day" on the stem. This was quite the surprise. Imagine not only getting a very limited edition dispenser, but also one that has a printing error. Quite the unique and unplanned score, and I am really digging it!
This month's issue of Pezhead Monthly is packed full of stuff and was a lot of fun to put together. For starters, you may have already noticed a Pezzified take on a poster for the movie "Machete Kills." I am a big fan of Danny Trejo and had the honor and pleasure to meet him several years back. If he somehow happens to find this Pez parody of one of his craziest movies, I hope that he likes it, or at least that he does not kill me. And if you are in the area, I hear that Trejo's Tacos is the place to be.
In this issue I also talk about the March 2021 VPC, and in particular the "Creators in PEZ" panel, of which I was very honored to be a part. There is also some Pez Poetry, including a poem in celebration of one of my new POP+Pez dispensers, Aang (with a title that I can't stop giggling at). Lastly, I wanted to do something to celebrate the limited edition Leprechaun sold by Pez in March, and as mentioned above, the fact that I got an extra surprise when the package arrived. So I put together an Irish song called "The Limited Leprechaun" and made a (mostly) lyric video for it. I may need to confirm this, but this might be the first original, non-parody song I've written and recorded for Pezhead Monthly in its 20 years of publication. Rock on, man!
With vaccinations now being widely given out and the weather starting to warm up, I am feeling really good for what may be on the horizon for these next several months, Pez and otherwise, even as I realize that we've still got a way to go and need to remain careful and take health and safety measures since the pandemic is still a real threat. But the good always ends up outweighing the bad in the end and I am hoping that the good/better times will be coming soon.
Did you miss last month's issue, where I shared my February 2021 Pez scores? 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!
March 20 marked the first Virtual Pez Convention (VPC) of 2021 and it was so great to be there again. As I noted last year, the VPC is a fantastic opportunity for Pezheads from all over the world to get together virtually to learn about Pez, check out some Pez collections, and share smiles and laughs in a time when we can't all be together in person. And this time around, there was also a panel discussion called "Creators in PEZ," which is the main focus of this recap. I was honored to be a part of this panel and to have the chance to talk about Pezhead Monthly's origins and what keeps it going.
Once again, Landon Proctor and Morgan Rhinehart hosted the VPC. It had a bit of everything, as always, with a number of room/collection tours continuing to be a big part of the event. The spotlight tour this time was by Lacey Ash. Lacey's Pez collection extended through many rooms in her house and there was so many good things to see and hear about. I particularly enjoyed all of the awesome artwork by the immensely talented artist Eddie Santiago. (I hope to one day have some of his artwork in my collection too!). Lacey also showed us some quite nice fantasy duck dispensers made by her husband, Steve, as well as an impressive array of items related to the iconic Pez girl. She also had a very neat display that featured dispensers and other goodies from the four Michigan Pez conventions that she attended. Lacey had lots of stories about the Michigan conventions and it was clear that the convention means a lot to her.
There were also some giveaways throughout the event and some bingo games towards the end. The prizes were great. Some generous Pezheads donated them and some other lucky ones won them. I was not among the lucky ones this time around, but I still had a lot of fun. As with previous VPCs, Morgan and Landon set up and ran the giveaways and bingo games in a decent and transparent manner and it very much was the case where everyone had a fair chance at winning.
There was also Andrea Smith-Gage, who hosts the Pez Collection Podcast along with Justin Hansen. Andrea talked about how Justin asked on a Facebook Pez group if there was a Pez podcast and she responded that there wasn't, and they should do one. Having never met Justin, they built the podcast from the ground up, with each of them lending their own talents and skills to the podcast. They make a great team. The Pez Collection Podcast is a real success, going strong now in its third year and 100 episodes (one of which was with me!). Andrea also noted that her dream guest would be Jerry Seinfeld. I think this would be awesome! The Tweety Bird Pez dispenser, of course, played a pivotal part in a classic Seinfeld episode.
Also on the panel was Maheba Merhi, who hosted the former Pezcific convention out in LA. The previous LA Pez convention had ended for a couple of years, so Maheba talked with another Pez convention host and decided that it was time to start one up again in an area that could definitely use it. Maheba went on to host the Pezcific convention for 16 years. It ended a couple of years back, which is a shame because outside of some small, local gatherings here and there, there is not a convention out on the US west coast anymore. The VPC chat window was buzzing with enthusiasm for a possible west coast convention down the road, but at this time that is not in the works. Fingers crossed for that!
The next panelist, Sandy Gardner-Ghionzoli, is the co-host of the Pez on the River convention in Minnesota. Like Maheba, Sandy was sad to see a local Pez convention end a while back (in this case, it was the Minnesota Pez Convention, or MN Pez Con). After talking it over with some folks at Pez conventions, Sandy and her wife decided to make Pez on the River happen. And it is still rolling along: its upcoming convention in September 2021 will be its 8th annual one. Pez on the River also has the distinction of being the first (and so far only) Pez convention to take place after the pandemic hit. From what I hear, not only was it a very fun time and a chance for Pezheads to meet up after being so long apart, but extra care was taken to ensure everyone's health and safety. I very much regret that I have not attended Pez on the River yet, but this convention is definitely on my bucket list.
The panel also had Larry Mason who, through his website Pezboard.com, is well known for his 3D-printed custom rail displays, stands, and shoes for many different Pez items that do not fit in the traditional shelves or shoes offered elsewhere, such as Pez keychains, guns, pens, and much more. Larry's been doing this for 6 years now. I've ordered a number of things from Larry and I can attest that not only is he a kind and decent man with a lot of flexibility for his customers, but his skills and craftsmanship are top notch. Here are a couple of pictures of the custom displays I've ordered from Larry over the past year or so. You can click on each picture for a larger view.
And that was everyone on the "Creators in PEZ" panel.
Oh, I almost forgot. I was on the panel too! In all seriousness, it was such an honor to be asked to be on this panel, and I really want to thank Landon and Morgan for the opportunity. I've sat in the audience for many a Pez panel and seminar at conventions over the years, but have never sat on one myself. I would definitely put it up there with one of the highlights in my time as a Pez collector, right up there with being on the Pez Collection podcast and doing the live Pez Poetry Slam at Pezamania 19.
On the panel, I talked about how Pezhead Monthly is a blend of my love of the Pez hobby (of course) with my interest in creative writing and humor that I've always had growing up. I've been doing Pezhead Monthly for close to 20 years and, although I've taken small breaks here and there due to life events, it remains a big part of who I am as a Pezhead and, in a larger sense, as a creative person (a close second would be my Facebook check-ins from Five Guys, but that is a story for another time). I also talked about Pezhead Monthly's recent resurgence, which came about in large part due to the PIG Too convention in March 2020. And I mentioned Bret's World of Pez, a recurring feature from contributor Bret Christopher that placed Pez in various pop culture photos and posters and spanned across multiple issues last year (and which I hope is able to return again).
During the panel, someone asked what my favorite Pez poem was. I chose the poem "New Beginnings," which I wrote way back in January 2002. It ties Pez into the New Years Eve/Day holidays and, in a broader sense, to the idea of a fresh start. That's something that I think we all are looking forward to, hopefully with the worst of this awful pandemic behind us and better days on the horizon. Anyway, here is the poem.
You can check out the entire panel on YouTube. It is just over an hour long, so put on some comfy pajamas, pop some popcorn, pour your beverage of choice and enjoy.
One of the great things about the Pez community hobby is that there are many creators out there. There are so many talented artists who work in different mediums, whether it is fantasy dispensers, canvas, Photoshop, books, informational videos, or others. We have people who organize conventions and local gatherings, and others who build many different kinds of custom displays. I would even go so far as to say that anyone who has a Pez room of their own, or even just a Pez shelf, is a creator. After all, we all have our own unique ways of displaying our collection. Yes, it takes a lot of our own time and energy, but it is also a labor of love that comes from our hearts and minds, and that we sometimes feel so good about we want to share it with others. Guess what? That's creativity!
And then there are those who may not even know they are creators, or who may not know how to share their Pez projects. As Landon mentioned at the VPC, Pezheads are a very welcoming and friendly group who are very approachable. Whether it is on a Facebook Pez group or at a convention, if you have an idea that you want to get off the ground and are looking for others to help you, or even to just act as a sounding board, you will not have to go far to find someone.
As far as Pezhead Monthly goes, most of the stuff you read, see, and hear is created directly by me. But I do want to stress that the door is always open for your creative, literary, and artistic submissions to Pezhead Monthly! You can read the submission policy here.
Thanks again to Landon and Morgan for hosting the VPC and for having me on the "Creators in PEZ" panel. The whole event was such a fun time, and I am already looking forward to the next VPC, whenever that may be.
Pez Haiku #151
Vaccine is coming
First came Appa,
Then came Zuko,
who is tendin'
Then for months
I did forget
But when I gazed
at my Pez shelf,
Now holy heck and
gosh darn dang,
One of the coolest recent scores I got was a pair of Leprechaun dispensers that were only available on Pez.com for a limited time and are not sold in stores. To my surprise, when the package arrived, I noticed that one of the dispensers was missing the printed shamrock and words "St. Patricks Day" on the stem, which makes it a unique collectible unto itself. I felt the need to celebrate this occasion with a song. Below is the YouTube video and link, followed by the lyrics. Sláinte!
Well Joey got the
Ho hey, what do
Now Joey knew just
what to do,
Ho hey, what do
The leprechaun was
there and gone,
Ho hey, what do
Looked as he did expect
But there was something off about
The one he unwrapped next
No shamrock or St Patrick's Day
Was found upon that stem
And Joey sat and wondered
What stars shined down on him
Now Joey had to
face the news,
are tricky ones
Enjoy Pez, but please do so responsibly.