Thinking Outside The Dispenser
Spring Loaded: A Message from the Editor | top
Hello and Happy November! There's only two more months to go before we bid adieu to the wacky year that has been 2020.
October brought lots of Pez scores from many different places, but more importantly it brought the occasion of the 2020 IN Crowd Gathering in Lowell, Indiana. This was a great opportunity for Pezheads to get together to hang out, buy, sell, and trade Pez, and just have a fun time, all in a safe and socially distant way. I had the privilege to attend this gathering and I really had a good time. I talk about my experiences- and share lots of pictures- in this month's issue.
The picture below shows most of my October scores, except for some other neat stuff I received at the IN Crowd gathering that I mention and show in the article that follows this note. The big scores I got this month were the 3 limited edition dispensers from Pez.com, including a crystal pumpkin and the 2 Oktoberfest mascots, Hans and Resi. Also from Pez.com, I picked up the new Mandalorian gift set (Mando and The Child, aka Baby Yoda) and the new Blues Clues dispensers, Blue and Magenta. I also picked up some carded Batmans from the IN Crowd Gathering and the fine folks at eBay. From one of my favorite Pez dealers, John LaSpina, I picked up 3 new POP+Pez: the Monopoly mascot, the Operation dude, and a Rockem Sockem robot. I added to my convention/gathering collection at the IN Crowd Gathering, including the IN Crowd dispenser (and an IN Crowd hauler which is not included here but shown below) and a Pezamania 29 dispenser and hauler. I also added to my ever-growing fantasy Batman collection with a Batman/Mr. Bean hybrid and a really cool Batman hauler. The weirdest place where I got a new Pez item in October was Barkshop.com, where I scored a dog toy in the shape of a pumpkin Pez! You heard that right, a dog toy. I will not be leashed! The only Pez item I actually found "in the wild" was the new promotional hauler for TravelAmerica/Petro/TA Express. And lastly, my only vintage score of the month, and very likely of the entire year, was a metallic Spaceman that I really dig. You can see a better picture of the Spaceman in the IN Crowd Gathering article below.
I also made a very brief video of the Batman/Mr. Bean fantasy Pez. I made this Pez myself and thought I would celebrate with a little tune. You can check it out here.
This month's issue of Pezhead Monthly kicks off with a cover image that's a Pezzified version of a movie poster for "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," which is one of the more well-known movies associated with the Thanksgiving holiday. (No disrespect is meant to John Candy, one of the greatest, but I could not resist the obvious word play.) The feature article this month is a recap of my experiences at the 2020 IN Crowd Gathering, with plenty of words and pictures about Pez swag, an amazing Pez room, and more (check out the Indiana Wants Me Pezhead Monthly page, which has been updated with some of the photo creations I made for this gathering). There's also a Thanksgiving Pez haiku and, after a nearly 6-year hiatus, the glorious return of the Pez Almost-Quote of the Month, along with a bonus picture. And finally, there is a Pez tribute to the famous Thanksgiving episode of "WKRP in Cincinnati."
Also be sure to check out the Pezhead Monthly Thanksgiving page, which has been updated with some stuff from this month's issue.
Looking ahead to November, I am hoping to put the finishing touches on my Pez room. Okay, let me clarify- my Pez room will never be finished, but I am thinking that I will finally have it in a shape to be presented in the December issue of Pezhead Monthly. While I don't want to guarantee anything, I have a good feeling that the room will be ready to show. Fingers crossed!
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. Take care and see you next month!
October 17, 2020 marked the occasion of the 2020 IN Crowd gathering, the second annual Pez collector gathering that kicked off last year in November. I had the chance to attend again this year, and while I was not able to be there for the whole event, I had a really great time and enjoyed getting the chance to hang out with my fellow Pezheads and catch up with them, and to see all kinds of Pez, including the most awesome Pez room I've ever seen in person.
The event was moved from Indianapolis last year to northwest Indiana this year, in a small town called Lowell. Like last year, it was held at someone's house. This year's hosts were longtime Pez collector Karen and her husband Ron. I've known Karen for a long while, I'm pretty sure ever since I started attending Pez conventions back in 2001. Karen has always been one of the nicest and friendliest Pez people and it was very kind of her and Ron to open her home to everyone for this gathering and to allow us all a few hours to spend some time together.
I Came, I Saw, I Swagged
I arrived a little late, after a combination of sleeping in a bit longer than planned and still not mastering this whole "time zone" thing (I had temporarily forgotten that Lowell was in the Central US time zone, which is an hour earlier than my own Eastern time zone). By the time I got there, almost everyone else was already there. Tables were set up in Karen's garage and were spaced out very nicely with plenty of space to move around. There were just a couple of tables left when I got there and I took a small one, as I brought just a few things to sell this time around.
I will admit here that at first I was a little wary of attending the gathering due to the RSVP size of 25 people, given that we're in the midst of a pandemic and people were coming from all over Indiana and a number of other states too. Having said that, I cannot stress enough how safe I felt when I was there. There was plenty of social distancing and everyone was wearing masks pretty much all the time except when we were eating. If using cups, we were asked to put our names on them. I brought my own hand sanitizer, but extra sanitizer was never far away. Thanks again to Karen and Ron, and for that matter all of the attendees, for their safe and responsible behavior that showed that they cared for the well-being of everyone.
One of the coolest
parts of attending these small gatherings is the "Pez swag"
that everyone gives out to one another. These are homemade items that
people put a lot of time and effort into, just for the joy they see
on the faces of their fellow Pezheads when they hand them out. There
was lots of great swag at the 2020 IN Crowd gathering. In fact, most
of my "score" from this gathering was Pez swag. There was
a bookmark, a keychain, a small brush with which to clean Pez, and more.
Someone even made a special Pez hauler for the event! Here is a picture
of the Pez swag I got (and apologies to anyone if I accidentally forgot
to include yours in this picture!). (You can click on the picture, and
all pictures in this article, for a larger version.)
Here's a closer look at the front and back of the great ornament that Ross gave away.
As for me, in the past, I've mostly not handed out Pez swag, mainly because I didn't know what to make or how many to bring with me. That all changed last year for the 2019 IN Crowd gathering. Due to the small size of the crowd, I was able to hand out a few things, including some extra Pez dispenser wedding favors from my wedding, a USB drive with many of the Pez videos I have made for this site and my YouTube page, and some printouts of Pezzified people and things related to Indiana.
For the 2020 IN Crowd gathering, I focused on the printouts. Here are a few in-process pictures of assembling this swag.
A few of these printouts were handed out at the 2019 gathering, but since most 2020 IN Crowd attendees did not make it to last year's gathering, I added those to this year's batch as well. I also added a few new printouts as well, and even a couple of stickers! Here is the new stuff that I made for this year.
For pictures of all of my Indiana Pez creations to date, as well as explanations of how each of these relate to the Hoosier state, check out the newly updated Indiana Wants Me page, right here on Pezhead Monthly.
In addition to the
Pez swag, there were a few other special things I received that I would
like to mention here. First off, my Pez friend and the host of the Pez
Informational Gathering (P.I.G.) convention in Cincinnati, Josh Bales,
gave me a 3.9 thin-footed Batman on card. This was a real treat and
very kind of Josh, as he knows how much I enjoy collecting all things
Batman Pez. Then, another quite awesome person of the Pez world, Rory,
gave me a factory error Batman on a Nickelodeon card. Very cool. Both
of these will look great with my other carded Batmans, which I will
be showing on this site soon.
On top of all of this, Karen had an official 2020 IN Crowd treat bag! This included a special custom Pez dispenser, some custom candy packs, and a magnet. These are all very well done and will be a welcome addition to my convention and gathering collection.
Karen's Magnificent Pez Room
In addition to seeing so many familiar Pez faces (well, the tops of them anyway) and with some new ones, the highlight of the 2020 IN Crowd gathering was seeing Karen's Pez room. I have seen glimpses of it in pictures (and will be sharing some pictures of my own in this recap) but seeing it in person was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had as a Pez collector. I have never been in a room with so much Pez stuff, both common and rare, and displayed in such a unique way. I may not ever see another Pez room as MADE OF WIN as Karen's room in person.
To give you an idea of what a privilege it is to visit Karen's Pez room, everyone who stops by signs her guest book AND is also given a commemorative Pez dispenser! Here is a picture of the dispenser.
Do you think I am exaggerating about how completely awesome Karen's Pez room is? Well, have a look at these pictures and judge for yourself. (As a reminder, you can click each picture for a larger view.)
These first four wide shots show a lot of stuff and yet they just begin to capture the full extent of the room. In the first picture you'll see a wide assortment of her loose dispensers as well as her incredible collection of tins above. In the next picture you'll see a variety of things, including some artwork, yo-yos, fantasy and convention Pez, and POP+Pez. The third picture is of the display in the middle of the room and features some of the most amazing vintage pieces I've seen in person, including a variety of Pez guns and regulars. The last of these first four pictures features a lot of licensed stuff, including many items from Japan.
In these next 3 pictures, we continue to see some more great stuff. There is a giant Pez display of candies in the first picture, with a great vintage setup. The next picture features her collection of minis, newer trucks, some Pez Pals, and what I believe are a collection of Klix dispensers (which are similar to Pez). I particularly like her display of vintage trucks. Note that these are placed inside of empty fluorescent light tubes. Very creative! You'll also note in the second picture a brief glimpse at an actual Pez vending machine. For the life of me I do not know why I did not get a better picture of this! It was extremely cool. Speaking of cool, I really like what Karen did for the doors to the closet in her room: she added tin to them, which allows her to display her many Pez magnets. I think I may have to try that in my Pez room at some point!
And as just one example of the many unique and memorable items in the room, check out Karen's incredible set of fantasy dispensers of The Monkees (with a guest appearance by a vintage Ringmaster)!
These pictures don't capture everything in the room and they certainly can't recreate the feeling of awe you get when experiencing it for yourself. In addition to all of the amazing stuff in Karen's room, what I also liked was that there were lots of places where there was still room to grow (as can be seen in some of the pictures above). A Pez collector never really stops collecting and Karen has set herself up nicely for adding even more stuff to her collection and display.
It was an honor and a privilege to see Karen's room in person and I'll always remember having the chance to do so. The experience also gave me some ideas on how I might be able to update my Pez display too (more on that in a future issue). Thanks again to Karen for allowing everyone to ooh and aah over the wonderful shrine to Pez that she has put together.
It's All Fun and Games
Eventually the many pizzas arrived and joined the cornucopia of other side dishes and desserts that various people brought. We all briefly took off our masks to have some lunch and chat with each other. Granted, I'm not much of a conversationalist, but still it was really nice to just hang out with all of these fun Pez people. Everyone was nice and we had some good laughs. I haven't had a chance to do that since the P.I.G. TOO convention in March and it meant a lot to have the chance to do it again.
Pretty soon it was time for our first game of the day: a trivia contest about Indiana! Karen assembled a list of 21 questions, many of which were quite challenging and had us scratching our heads. That being said, having lived in Indiana for more than 20 years now, I was able to pick up on several of the questions, albeit not in typical ways (for example, I remembered there were 92 counties in Indiana based on the numbering on our license plates!). And yes, I did make a few guesses, some educated and some simply blind. But it all worked out in the end, because I ended up winning the game! I scored the most correct answers, which turned out to be 12 out of 21.
This gave me first access to the prize table. I looked over everything probably a lot longer than I should have, but then my eyes widened and my jaw dropped when I came across it: a prize that was so very special to me. The prize was the commemorative Pez dispenser, and other convention goodies, from Pezamania 29! This was the convention held in Cleveland in July 2019. As I've mentioned in this publication before, this was the first Pezamania convention that I missed since Pezamania 11 in 2001. I had a good reason: that July weekend in 2019 was the one that my wife and I moved into our new house. It greatly saddened me to have had to miss that convention. But seeing that collection of Pezamania 29 goodies brought such a feeling of warmth and happiness to me. It's really silly to say, but it felt like Pezamania was looking out for me. I'll never forget that feeling. I picked up the prize pack and scooted back to my place on the couch, giggling like a little kid on the inside (and probably the outside too). Here is a pic of these great items, which also included a bonus 2018 dispenser. These also came with an added little prize- Indiana Pez collector pin from none other than the legendary co-host of the Virtual Pez Convention, Landon Proctor. (Thanks, Landon!)
After the enormous high of the trivia game win and that unbelievable prize, reality set in pretty quickly with a series of Pez bingo game defeats. To quote Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, "Same as it ever was!" But trust me, I am not complaining. That's just the way it goes when you choose to ride the Pez bingo dragon.
(Candy) Wrapping Things Up
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. For me on that day, the end came just before the final bingo game when I looked at the time and realized I needed to hit the road and make my way home. I did get a glimpse of the prize for the final bingo game, which was a very nice handmade diamond painting of Pez candies that Karen spent a lot of time putting together. I also missed what sounded like a crazy game of Plinko and I am sure some more fun. But the kicker was that I missed the big group photo at the end. Nonetheless, I wanted to post a picture of it here. Check out at all of these great Pezheads! These are my people. (I particularly enjoy the addition of Josh on the right, after what I hear was an unfortunate incident at the Plinko game.)
As for my scores from this gathering well, I've already covered pretty much all of them above. Most of the stuff I came home with included the many different swag items, the 2 carded Batmans, the IN Crowd dispenser and related goodies, Karen's special Pez room dispenser, and that wonderful Pezamania 29 prize. But there are few other special things I picked up at this gathering. For starters, I got a display that fits on an IKEA Detolf shelf that just so happens to hold 53 Pez dispensers! I need to reconfigure my Pez room a bit to accommodate it, but I am thinking this will eventually be a great way to display my mini holiday dispensers. I also picked up yet another cool Batman fantasy piece- a Batman truck! I had given Karen the pieces for it a while back and her handy husband Ron put it together. It is really well done and will be a great addition to my fantasy Batman army. And last but certainly not least is a spectacular metallic spaceman that I got a great deal on from Josh. It's actually been quite a while since I've added a vintage piece to my collection (this is the first- and likely only- vintage Pez of the year for me) and this one is a beauty for sure. Here is a picture of the Batman truck and the spaceman.
Huge thanks are due all around. For starters, I want to thank Karen and Ron for hosting the event at their house and for being so welcoming and hospitable to everyone, and especially for looking out for our health and safety, it's much appreciated. For making room for us to set up tables, for the IN Crowd goodies, for giving everyone the privilege of visiting that amazing Pez room, for the food and drinks, for the games and prizes, for Ron's great work on the Batman hauler, and for all of the little touches, thank you so very much. You really knocked it out of the park! Thanks also to everyone for the Pez swag and prizes and the other items that I was given and sold, and for the food that various people brought. Really, thanks to everyone for just being awesome- not only for being considerate in terms of masking up but also for being good and fun people with whom I have the privilege to share this love of Pez. I've known many of you for a long time and it is always good to see new folks too, and I I look forward to seeing you all again down the road one sunny day.
The 2020 IN Crowd gathering was a really fun time and I am so glad I had the chance to go. I definitely hope we get the chance to do it again next year! Real, in-person Pez get-togethers, whether they may be conventions or gatherings, are hard to come by these days, so they should be remembered and treasured. Here's to a new year filled with more fun, Pez-filled times like the one we had that Saturday in October.
Pez Haiku #149
A Pez dispenser
Pez Almost-Quote of the Month | top
You can check out all of Pez Almost-Quotes from Pezhead Monthly on the Random Pez Almost-Quote page.
This month we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving, where we express gratitude for all of the people and things we have in our life that make us happy, healthy, and fulfilled. One thing that I am grateful for is the now classic Thanksgiving episode of the TV sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati," which involved an ill-fated promotional stunt that included a helicopter, turkeys, and oh the humanity. I urge to you to track it down and see it if you haven't already. To celebrate this landmark episode, I decided to give one of the more famous scenes a Pez-flavored twist.
You can check out more Pez odes to Thanksgiving on the Pezhead Monthly Thanksgiving page.
Enjoy Pez, but please do so responsibly.