Thinking Outside The Dispenser Since 2001
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Hello there and welcome to Pezhead Monthly! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you are enjoying your summer!
This issue is actually a double issue that covers both August and September. It's all about the recent epic Pez convention known as Pezamania 30. Pezamania has played such a big part in my life as a Pezhead over the years. As I wrote in a song way back in 2002, when I go to Pezamania "I'll be reminded why I Pez collect." This was my first time at Pezamania since 2018 and it felt so good to be back. In the main feature, The Return of Pezamania: Talk Thirty To Me, I share lots of words and photos about the new and different ways I prepared for Pezamania and of course I recap my experience at the convention itself. I talk about my Pezamania scores and reflect on the people who made it such a good time and the memories that will stay with me and guide me going forward. The Pezamania celebration continues with some Pez Poetry, which includes 3 poems that all relate to the big event. The cover image is an homage to both the classic movie "Big" and- you guessed it- Pezamania. In summary, Pezamania.
Pezhead Monthly will return with new content in October. In the meantime, 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 shared "Gotta Have Grape," my George Michael Pez parody video, as well as a bunch of other stuff? 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 in October!
(Editor's Note: I also recently posted about my non-Pezamania July scores. I am including a slightly edited version below for the record and in case you haven't had a chance to read it yet.)
In addition to my Pezamania scores, I also picked up a lot of other things in July. The packages kept arriving despite a big convention coming on the horizon, and in fact one package even arrived when I was at the convention! And they came from many different places. For starters, I scored 3 new custom dispensers from Mike Herz, the very talented artist from whom I previously got the 2020 Custom Santa, the Biden inauguration custom, and more. In July I got a groovy National Arbor Day dispenser featuring Baby Groot from "Guardians of the Galaxy." A portion of the proceeds from this dispenser went to planting trees, which I think is awesome. Also, in honor of May The Fourth, I got a custom Darth Vader dispenser as a gift for supporting Mike by buying previous dispensers. Last but not least, in honor of July 4, I got a custom Uncle Sam Pez dispenser! This is so well done and, I must say, a contender for my Score of the Year. It features a custom 3D-printed head, as well as part of the US Constitution on its stem! Just incredible work by Mike here, no question about it. I can't wait to see what he does next.
I was also quite surprised to walk into a CVS one day in July to find the new Halloween 2021 Vampire Pez! I was definitely not expecting to see Halloween Pez this early, especially since I usually do not have good luck with local CVS stores (something something Space Jam). From the wonderful and talented artist Steve White, I picked up a custom Johnny Cash dispenser as well as a Funslinger. As a huge Johnny Cash fan, I was very excited to receive this dispenser. I have some plans in my head for using it for a future issue of Pezhead Monthly. As for Funslinger, this unique dispenser holds a secret that I am not at liberty to share in this family-friendly publication. Moving on, from my Pez Pal Justin, I picked up 3 of the Zuru minis, including an Emoji, a gold Emoji, and a mini Mascot. Justin also sent over 5 Batman Pez heads, which I will put to good use in my ongoing quest to make custom Batman Pez dispensers. Related to this, and not pictured below, I got some more extra Batman Pez from my Pez Pal Judy. I have not counted them all but I believe there are over 100 of them!! These will be fun to customize, either for my own collection or perhaps for convention swag down the road.
Lastly, I picked up an autographed copy of the book "All PEZ Made in the USA" by Jeff Rosenberg, one of the true experts in the Pez community and a fun guy on top of that. The book covers all Pez dispensers made in the USA with the 3.8 "Made in the USA" patent from 1977 to 1980. It has lots of pictures and information, as well as a price guide, and is a very interesting read. I am not exactly sure how many of these dispensers I have in my own collection, but I know that at minimum I have 11 of them, which just so happen to be in 2 of my very favorite sets: the softhead Super Heroes and the Eerie Spectres.
Here is a picture of all of my non-Pezamania July scores.
What follows is my personal story of Pezamania 30: all of the things I did to prepare, a recap of my experiences at the big event, a rundown of all of my scores, and my reflections on what it all meant to me. It's pretty extensive, but I hope you enjoy it. Please note that this is divided up into segments and you can click the links at the top of each segment to navigate to other parts of the story. Also, keep in mind that you can click on any picture in this story for a larger view.
This was the first year that I made swag for Pezamania. After considering all kinds of options, I decided on a swag bag consisting of 3 things: a custom candy wrapper, a coin with printed labels on both sides, and a picture from the pages of Pezhead Monthly.
The candy wrapper was my first project, and it took the longest to make. Before I get into the details, allow me to share the end result. I made over 100 custom wrappers, containing 1 of 10 different Pez quotes from the Pezhead Monthly quote archive. Here is a picture of all of them and an animated GIF to show the entire wrapper.
I got the dimensions for the wrapper from my Pez Pal Rory (as shown in last month's issue), but as you can imagine there are not pre-made labels that would fit the custom dimensions. On top of this, I do not have access to any special machinery for the job. So I printed the wrappers and then hand cut each wrapper with scissors. I used my own inkjet printer, and let's just say hooray for HP Instant Ink. Between this and the other projects I did this year for Pezamania, I went through a lot of ink for sure. As far as the cutting, let's just say mistakes were made, especially before I realized I should use better scissors for the job!
Once I had all wrappers cut out, the next step was to attach them to Pez candy rolls. The first piece of good news was that I had a plethora of extra candy rolls from my wedding party favors (and going forward, I will certainly be saving all candy flavors that I do not eat, for any future custom candy wrapper projects). The second piece of good news was that, because I printed the wrappers on labels, I did not have to mess with glue or tape to get them to stick to the rolls. They just stuck right to the existing candy wrappers.
Still further mistakes were made. Sometimes the labels were badly off center. Other times they ripped. Other times I realized that what I thought was a decent cut job was in fact quite the opposite. In one case I realized I forgot to print a particular wrapper style and had to print, cut, and stick again. This whole process took quite a while, but at least I made some progress on the many episodes of "The Blacklist" on my DVR.
The next project was the coins. Here is a picture of how they turned out. In total I made over 80 coins, with one side having the Pezhead Monthly clown that has adorned countless images on this website (and countless more to come!) and the other side having a fitting haiku that I wrote just for this swag item, and which by no small coincidence is featured in this very issue.
Originally I went with chocolate coins, but I soon realized that they may not survive the heat, either on the drive to the convention or once I gave them away to other Pezheads. So back to Party City those bad boys went for a nice refund. Instead, I found some plastic gold toy coins on Amazon for a good price.
The next step was the labels. I went through a lot of trial and error, not to mention ink and paper, to get it right. I originally planned for the head side to have text along the curve and the tail side to have an image in the background. But for the life of me I could not get the labels to line up properly. So I decided to go a simpler route. Once I got these set, I printed them out and affixed them to the coins. This part was smooth sailing, although with all of the time I spent getting there, let me tell you that it was getting real on "The Blacklist."
The final piece of my swag bag for Pezamania 30 was a series of images from my website. There were a total of six of them. Here is a picture of all six images, cut and ready to go.
The pictures were, by far, the easiest piece of the swag. I ordered them as wallet-sized prints at CVS, as my home printer had really been taking a beating with the wrapper and coin printing, not to mention an even larger project that I'll get to later. The price was good and the coupon codes were even better. But what I did not realize was that, despite my careful measuring of the pictures before uploading, parts of them were cut off on either the top or bottom set of pictures. This meant that in many cases, the "PEZ" hat was partially cut off, thus defeating the purpose of a Pez parody!
On top of this, after getting the prints back, I hand cut each of these. And let's just say by this point my hand was cramping up and some lines were not cut nearly as straight as they could have been. But holy cow, can you believe what happened with Elizabeth Keene on "The Blacklist"!?
There was one final piece to the swag bag, and that was a small piece of paper that listed the items and also gave my name, address, and website for people to remember. I must confess that, even for this small item, a mistake was made: I printed out an entire label sheet with "pezheadmonthly.com" misspelled as "pezheadmontly.com" I hung my head in shame for this error in particular, as my day job is a medical editor. (I would prefer that we not get into the number of editorial mistakes that may be sprinkled across the pages of Pezhead Monthly.)
Once everything was printed and sticked, it was time for the swag bag assembly process. I wanted to split out the pictures and candy wrappers as evenly as possible, so the odds of 2 bags having the same picture and the same Pez quote on the wrapper would be as small as possible.
Here is a picture of the assembled swag. It's hard to believe that all of that time, effort, ink, and paper fit perfectly into a little jewelry bag, and that about 80 of those bags fit perfectly into a shoebox.
I went into all of these details partially to break in my new keyboard, but also to point out that Pez swag preparation is hard, especially for a convention as big as Pezamania. Once you decide on a project (or pieces of a project), you should plan on devoting a lot of time and effort to it, and possibly a bit of money, paper, and ink. If it involves printing and cutting, and if you do not have special equipment and/or expertise in the field, you might have a lot of trial and error and to go through a lot of paper to get things right. And prepare for 1 step to possibly lead to 4 or 5 more steps. And maybe save up a show on the DVR to have on in the background to help pass the time. I would recommend a particular show on NBC starring 80s icon James Spader. It's called "The Blacklist." Not sure if you've heard of it?
All of that being said, I think you will find that making swag for a Pez convention is worth it. Hopefully you will be happy with the end result, and then the fun part happens when you give it away to other Pezheads and get lots of cool swag from other people as well. Later on in this story, you'll see some of my favorite swag pieces that I picked up at Pezamania.
I am very happy with how everything turned out, despite how much time and effort it took. I'll plan to do make swag next year too, hopefully keeping in mind some of the lessons I learned this year.
Before I even decided on the swag I made for Pezamania 30, another big idea was bouncing around in my head that picked up steam as it came along. Technically it started way back in July 2020. The Pezhead Monthly cover image that month was my Pezzified take on the album cover for Bruce Springsteen's legendary 1984 album "Born in the U.S.A.", called "Orange in the U.S.A." This was originally meant to celebrate the new-at-that-time orange mascot Pez dispenser. But as I thought some more about it, it could also be meant to celebrate Orange, Connecticut, the town where PEZ Candy USA is headquartered and, not coincidentally, the home of the spectacular Pez Visitor Center.
So then I began thinking not just about the album cover, but also the entire concept of the CD. In my Pez collection there are a few CDs that feature Pez artwork, such as Less Than Jake's "Pezcore." So why not take "Orange in the U.S.A." up a level or two and make it look like an actual CD you'd find on the shelves? (Back when stores sold CDs, of course.) And why not bring this to Pezamania to share with my fellow Pezheads and/or fellow Springsteen fans??
This led to me down several different pathways and greatly increased my Pezamania preparation time, and I often found myself alternating nights: one night on this project, the next on the swag, then back to this project, and so on. I was going nonstop on these Pez projects for a solid month and a half before Pezamania, or at least it sure felt that way.
The next step I
took for the CD project was to design a back cover with parodies of
each of the 12 song titles on the album. Along with this, "Bruce
Springsteen" became "Loose Springsteen," as an homage
to both the MAD Magazine parodies of character names in their TV and
movie spoofs, and also to the fact that loose springs are actually a
phenomenon that happen with some Pez dispensers. Here is a comparison
of the original back cover and the parody one, so you can see how the
song title parodies matched up.
After this, I started to think about the songs themselves. Avid readers of Pezhead Monthly know that I've written quite a few Pez song parodies. So, with more than a month before Pezamania, I started to write song parodies to accompany the "Orange in the U.S.A." track listing parodies I already came up with. My goal was actually to write parodies of all 12 songs, but I was only able to come up with 5 finished songs before my attention really had to shift to the swag creation. A few other songs were started but never finished (maybe someday!) Here for your reading pleasure is one of those song parodies.
You can check out "Thumb For Me," along with the other Springsteen song parodies "Orange in the U.S.A.", "eBay Buyer", "Store Displays", and "My Pez Clown." They are all available now on the Pez Song Parody archive page.
Anyway, back to the CD project. Originally, I thought I'd simply post the song parodies on this website, to share as part of this Pezamania 30 story. But after giving it some thought I realized it would also be cool if I included them as lyrics in a CD booklet itself. I am glad that I opted to do this. Having said that, this led to even more printing and cutting by hand, and, much like with the swag, there was a lot of trial and error, and some more mistakes were made, prints were reprinted, etc. But I must say that I'm mostly happy with the end result of the CD booklet, even if I realized far too late in the process (literally, hours before I got in the car to drive to Pezamania!) that the last lyric and chorus for "Store Displays" was cut off. (This led to me frantically adding the full lyrics to this website, printing out another insert with a QR code at the FedEx store on the way out of town, and cutting them to fit inside the CD cases. I was still cutting the inserts, in fact, even after I got my Pezamania hotel room set up for room hopping!)
Finally, I spent a good deal of time on the disc itself. At first, I was not even going to have a disc, thinking that the CD and booklet itself would be okay without it. But then I figured, I've gone this far, why not go a little farther? So I selected a bunch of Pez videos I've made over the years (most of which, including "Gotta Have Grape" from last month, are available on my YouTube channel) and burned them to discs. This itself was a learning process, as I soon realized I was using the wrong type of disc and had to once again go to my trusty friend Amazon Prime to get some more.
Once I had the discs burned, the next step was CD labels. I've never actually created CD labels so, again, I had to learn as I went along. Mistakes were made, a multitude of reprints were needed, but finally they were printed correctly and were affixed to the discs.
And now I proudly present the end result of the hours, paper, and ink that I spent putting together this CD project. I am quite pleased with how it turned out, despite the many obstacles along the way. All told, I made a total of about 20 CDs to bring with me to Pezamania. Check it out!
I was so happy to share this with some fellow Pezheads at Pezamania, as well as a few who asked about it afterward. If you are interested in a copy for yourself, please contact me at email@example.com for details.
With about a week left to go before leaving for Pezamania, and while still putting the final touches on the swag and Springsteen CD, I decided to add yet another plate to my juggling act: a special print edition of Pezhead Monthly in celebration of Pezamania 30.
When it first started in 2001, Pezhead Monthly was a print and online publication. After a while, the print edition was only for Pez Poetry Slams, which I would give away at Pezamania. Eventually it became online only.
For the landmark Pezamania 30 convention, I decided to put together a special print edition. This print edition contained numerous poems, songs, and photos about Pezamania featured over the 20 years of Pezhead Monthly's publication. It also featured some photos from Pezhead Monthly's recent issues. And lastly, it included a Five Questions piece from the archive, where Pezhead Monthly "interviewed" the Pezamania 16 tote bag. In the print edition, I dedicated this interview to John Gliha, a fellow Pezhead and friend who also happened to be a longtime host of Pezamania, starting with Pezamania 16. Sadly, John Gliha passed away recently. This was my small way of paying tribute to him. I was so happy to see John's wife, Linda, at Pezamania and I made sure to give her a print copy.
You can download a PDF of the Pezamania 30 special print edition here (I may take this down at a later time, so get it while you can!)
Printing out copies of the print newsletter had its own challenges. I had decided that because this was a special occasion, I would print out color copies instead of black and white. It started out well enough on my printer, but eventually the ink ran out since so much of it was used on swag and Springsteen stuff. So I made my way over to the local Fed Ex store, and only as I was in the process of making a bunch of copies did I realize how expensive this print job was! I found a slightly better deal across the street at Staples, but the printer there kept on getting jammed. Finally, I tried my luck at the local library, and without getting into details, let's just say my luck ran out. But that's okay. Between the copies I printed at home and the ones I printed at the FedEx store, I had a good number of copies to bring with me to Pezamania and I even have some left over.
After spending, without a doubt, the most time prepping for a Pez convention that I have ever done, I finally got around to packing my t-shirts, tech, and stuff to sell. I guess technically this is still "prepping" but when I got to this point things started to feel familiar again. Here is a picture of all of the t-shirts I brought this year. I wore about half of these shirts but hey, you never know what mood will strike to go with what shirt.
It's been a few years since I made the drive out to Independence, Ohio, but it seemed just like yesterday. With my Pez song playlist cued up just a few miles before getting off I-71, it almost felt like I was on autopilot.
I arrived mid-afternoon on Wednesday and the place was already hopping. While I waited for my room to be ready, I met some old friends passing by in the lobby and hallways and made a beeline to the registration room. I picked up my convention bag and also dropped off a copy of my Pezamania 30 special print edition (in the editor's letter, I thanked the hosts, Rick and Sue Marlowe, so I wanted to be sure that they got a copy).
Also, I soon started to see people with swag to swap, and for the first time ever at Pezamania, I was able to participate. I gave away my swag bag and in turn got some really great stuff from many different Pezheads. It was really fun to do this and I think I will do it again next year (although I may need to reconsider the scope of the project, as I mentioned above). Later on in this story, there is a picture of some of the favorite swag pieces that I received at Pezamania.
After taking some time to set up my room for extras, I soon set out for my favorite part of the convention: room hopping, where I get the chance to see so many new Pez in such a short period of time, and along the way see old friends and make new ones in rooms and hallways. There were hugs and laughs and pictures all over the place. It was so nice to be back. After a dinner at local favorite The Melt, I did a bit more room hopping and also spent some time in my room as other people came in to say hi and shop around.
One thing that I
added to the mix this year in terms of shopping was looking through
the large bins of commons that many people had (including 2 of my hotel
neighbors, Carol and Susan). It was here where I picked up some new
Batmans for future fantasy projects, as well as dispensers with unique
stems, such as glow in the dark or printed. I really only started to
do fantasy Pez myself at
the PIG Too convention in March 2020, and continued this at Pezamania
On Thursday, I started out with more room hopping, during which I actually held in my hand (very, very gently) a Golden SpongeBob. Let's just say it was a bit out of my price range. Then, after a quick lunch at another one of my local favorites, The Hot Dog Diner, I headed on over to BA Sweetie candy company. Man, I love this place! Even though it was a bit more picked over this year than in previous years, it was still an impressive site to see such a big Pez display. And, as usual, I saw some fellow Pezheads at the store. Oh, and they also had bulk Pez candy, which led to me assembling a giant BAG OF PEZ! The flavor was chocolate, which is one of my absolute favorites. I know others disagree, but to each their own. It also happened to be one of the only flavors in stock that day. No complaints here! I've been working through this bag at Pezamania and also as I've been writing this recap.
Oh, and on the nearby giant Boogie Board, I made sure to stop and say hello, with a Pezamania haiku no less!
I shopped around the rest of the store and as always found some more goodies. This year I picked up an "Elect Peter Pez" grape soda and chocolate bar. This goes quite nicely with the "Elect Peter Pez" poster PIC I have on the wall that leads to my Pez room.
I made it back to the convention just in time to unload my goodies in my room and make my way down for the 1pm Q&A with Steve Glew. Steve, also known as the Pez Outlaw, is simply put a legend in the Pez community. His Q&A, moderated by another Pez legend, John Devlin, was standing room only and had the attention of everyone in the room. It was so interesting to hear first hand about Steve's adventures in Europe and other places all over the world, and about all of the Pez that he brought to collectors over the years. Wearing a hat, bunny slippers, and a long Santa beard, Steve is a fascinating, quirky, and funny man. And it was one of the most enjoyable Q&As I can remember at a Pez convention. There are other stories for other people to tell, but I will just say here that this is not the last you'll hear about the Pez Outlaw.
On this topic, for some reason I did not think to get a picture of myself with Steve. Looking back, I don't really know why; I was a bit starstruck, perhaps, but he was a very kind and friendly man and took pictures with other people. I did get a chance to introduce myself to him and to thank him for all that he's done for the community. But no picture. This was easily my biggest regret of the convention!
After an early dinner at what is, no contest, my favorite restaurant in the area, The Winking Lizard (What's up Pickles!), I came back for the swap party, which over the years has taken on a life of its own and is a chance for Pezheads to meet and buy, sell, and trade their Pez. I brought a lot of my stuff to sell and trade, and had a great time seeing everyone there. During the event, we learned that next year's swap party will be exclusively swapping- no buying or selling. This will be a significant change, but I can understand that between room hopping and the Saturday show (should you want to pay for a table), there are plenty of other opportunities for Pezheads to buy and sell. I still expect to participate in this great event next year as a swapper!
Friday kicked off with the Pezamania family picture at 10am. This was the first time that I can recall a group picture of this size has been attempted at Pezamania. I can only imagine the coordination it must have taken, given the number of attendees. We all gathered outside for this and thankfully the weather cooperated. Many people were decked out in their new Pezamania 30 shirts, but I was perfectly comfy in my Batman Pez shirt. I am sure that some attendees were not able to make it into this picture, but I think most of us were. I count myself among the lucky ones to be there. Check it out!
(And I guess this technically counts as a picture of me with the Pez Outlaw?)
Later in the day, the photographer set up a photo booth in one of the rooms. Here I am I once again in my Batman Pez shirt. This will make a great addition to the Batcave in my Pez room!
Also on Friday afternoon, Morgan and Landon, the hosts of the Virtual Pez Convention, continued their tour of Pezamania for those who were unable to attend in person. On this leg, they did some virtual room hopping to show what the experience is like. This was a pretty neat thing that really gives a good feel for being there. I happened to be selling out of my room during this tour, and I was even on Facebook so I saw them coming! It was sort of surreal as I saw them come in the room on both my laptop and then in person. They toured my room and then at one point (I believe after I told them about my Pezhead Monthly special print edition), Landon called me the Mark Twain of the Pez world. That was very kind and flattering of him to say! (Even if I feel like I have quite a long way to go to earn that title.)
After an early, tasty dinner at the Outback near the hotel (I don't know who Victoria is but she makes a mean filet), I made my way back to the convention. Everyone was waiting to get into the ballroom for Family Game Night. Usually I come in a bit closer to the start time and am not in the line to get into the ballroom, but with this year being a big one I am glad I made the decision to come early. The hall was relatively narrow but filled with people. There was a huge printed version of the group picture from earlier in the day for people to sign; later in the night, it would be auctioned off.
At long last, the clock struck 5:30 and people poured into the convention ballroom. Let the games begin!
I found a table with open seats and asked if I could join. The people sitting there kindly allowed me to join and before too long our table of 8 was complete as others joined too.
The convention host and emcee for the night's proceedings, Rick Marlowe, kicked off the evening with a greeting and a couple of somber notes. First, Rick mentioned multiple people in the Pez community who had passed away since the last Pezamania, including John Gliha, Kathleen Eovino, Maryanne Kennedy, and Gene "Bubby Pez" Young. We raised a glass to their memories and had a moment of silence. Then Rick dropped the bombshell that Pezamania 31 in 2022 would be the last time that he and his wife Sue would be hosting. Rick explained that it was the best decision for his health and we all understood. So far there are no details on who the new hosts will be, and there may not be for a while. But whoever they are, they will have big shoes to fill for sure. Rick and Sue have done a tremendous job in their time as Pezamania hosts and I wish them all the best as the set forth planning next year's convention and then stepping down for some much deserved relaxation.
The next order of business was to announce the Pezhead of the Year. This is a very special award that represents as the very best of Pezheads: those who lead, care, and share their Pez knowledge to others in the Pez community. After recognizing last year's winner, Brian Trauman (who was not able to accept in person at that time due to the pandemic), the 2021 winner was announced: Nenad Markov, also known in the community as Pez Ghosty. Nenad was the first European winner of the POTY and runs the excellent and informative Pez Palz blog. He accepted the award over phone at what was a late hour for him back home. They were able to rig it up so that everyone in the ballroom was able to hear his very nice and gracious speech. Congrats to Nenad on his well-deserved award!
The rest of the night alternated between giveaways, auctions, and Matchamania games. There were some great auctions, the biggest one being a Tampa Bay Lightning hat and Pez that got into a huge bidding war and ended up going for $4500, and on top of that, to the person who donated it! I have never seen an auction go that high. There was also a Pez dispenser (Spidey I think but I am not sure) signed by the late great Stan Lee that went for an incredible $2100. Excelsior! Plenty more great auctions too. All of the money went to the convention charity, Gliding Stars of Toledo. As I've mentioned in the past, Gliding Stars helps give disabled kids the chance to ice skate, including equipment, ice time, and much more. This year, in addition to the Gliding Stars auction, there was a special auction to benefit the wife of the gifted Pez artist Eddie Santiago, who is having some medical issues which are causing some hefty bills. A whole lot of money was raised for Eddie's wife and it was really something to see. The generosity of Pezheads knows no limits. Eddie thanked everyone for what they gave, and it is also worth mentioning that through has wonderful artwork, he too has given so much to this community.
As for the Matchamania games, they went as they had so many times in the past: a great time, but also a non-winner for my entire table. I am beginning to wonder if I accidentally angered a witch or something because let me tell you, the curse is real. But again, it was a fun time. At one point Rick called me out and asked if I was going to write a poem about Matchamania. The answer to that question, as shown in this month's selection of Pez Poetry, is heck yes.
The evening was a lot of fun as always, but of course it had to end. We all made our way out to various places, whether it was our rooms, some more room hopping across the hotel, the lobby, or the bar. I did a bit more room hopping but other than that I called it an early night.
The Saturday floor show came very quickly this year. As always, it serves as the official end to the Pez convention and the final chance to see many of our Pez friends and to get those last-minute scores. It's fun to see so many people year after year. Most of the dealers are set up in the exact same places, and I can close my eyes right now and still see them there. I must have made my way around the show 3 or 4 times and I picked up some good stuff for sure (more on that in the next section). I made sure to say my thanks to Rick and Sue and my goodbyes to many others, and just like that I was out the door and off to my next adventure.
A big discovery for me this year was the Pez swag swap. I already knew it existed, although I am not sure when it started. And this was the first year that I actively participated, as I mentioned earlier in this Pezamania 30 story. It was a lot of fun (and, yes, a lot of work) to put the swag together, but it was even better to swap it with fellow Pezheads who also had swag of their own. I got to chat a bit with people I knew or maybe did not know, and I got to see first hand the creativity that is alive and kicking in this community. I can only hope that those who received my swag appreciated it even a fraction as much as I appreciated receiving theirs, and I thank all of the swag swappers very much.
I got way too many swag items to list or show here, but I did want to highlight some of my favorite pieces. First off, there is some hand sanitizer from Penny with some of her artwork on the label. There is also a Pez Collection Podcast pin from Justin and Andrea, who I talked with last year for their podcast. Then there is a "Swaggin' Wagon" custom truck from Bob and Faye which I can dig. From Daniel, there is a fantasy stem that as he puts it "pays homage to the very rare Comet Regular" and it fits any modern dispenser sleeve. For Daniel's first go at swag, this is mighty impressive and I can't wait to add it to one of my (very likely Batman) dispensers. From Larry, who is well known in the community for his kindness and his craftsmanship with custom Pez stands I got some cool wooden nickles. From Karen, I got a custom made item that combines one of the Pez whistle heads with another Pez character head (mine was Winnie the Pooh but there were others too). From Rory, who I consider at the top of the hill in terms of fantasy Pez craftsmanship (and the undisputed king of Star Wars fantasy Pez), I got a Thermal Detonator fantasy Pez. From the very talented and hilarious JOE WHAT, I got a Pez Pong fantasy Pez, complete with a stand and some Fireball cinnamon whisky! And let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've been Swagged by The Dang.
Here is a picture of these great swag pieces.
The rest of my scores came from the registration packet, room hopping, and floor show shopping. The registration packet scores including the standard registration dispenser and, because I got the premium registration (pro tip- always get the premium registration!), I also got a really cool crystal smiling Emoji with a printed stem and very nice card.
The only new releases I picked up at Pezamania this year were the crystal Paw Patrol set. This is thanks in large part to the many (many) new releases I've gotten over the past year or so from Pez.com and Chris Jordan's Pez Collector Store.
I also grew my Giant Pez collection this year with a C3PO and and R2D2. There was also a psych eye remake that had a stem variation that I was missing. I got some recently released Pez including the European version of the Father's Day dispenser (I only had the US version previously) and the European yellow stem easter lamb. There was also the European Silver Angry Bird form a few years ago that must have slipped through the cracks.
I also got a few interesting scores from sifting around in the cheap bins, including a solid red USA heart (I previously only had the crystal version), a Joe Cool Chicago Cubs dispenser that I never had before, and a blue stemmed Blinky Bill. Most people I've asked seem to doubt the blue stem is legit, but I am holding out hope that it is, as I've spotted it on a few websites and at least one fellow Pezhead has confirmed that he has one in his collection. From these bins, I also picked up various other Batmen and dispensers with unique stems for ongoing fantasy Pez work. Not from these bins, but for good prices, I also picked up a few boxed sets that contained dispensers to replace ones that I already had, but were damaged.
I got a few neat Steve Glew items this year, the first of which was a signed Pineapple bank, right before his Q&A session. I also picked up 2 custom dispensers of Steve (one regular and one mini), made by Larry Mason. These are fantastic and all are signed by the Pez Outlaw himself!
At nearby candy warehouse/mecca BA Sweetie, I picked up "ELECT Peter PEZ for PREZ" soda and chocolate that will pair well with the poster I have on the wall in the hallway leading to my Pez room. (This was not technically a Pezamania score, but hey, close enough.)
I also found 2 of the Disney Parks dispensers, Mickey and Minnie. The cool part about this score is that these were the previous versions of these characters (these were the only characters that had been updated). My dad's wife recently went to Disney and was able to get me the new versions, as well as all of the others in the set. This means that I will soon have all of these! (I will pick up the rest when I visit family in September.)
This was also a truly epic year for my Batman Pez collection. Where to start? Maybe with the 2 Batmen I found on card, including a non-footed Batman on a very old card (I already had one of these, but with newer candy; this card has vintage candy) and another variation on an orange Bonbon card. Rory also gifted me with a Batman with #NEPEZCON on its stem, which was very nice of him. My Pez Pal (and non-Outlaw, as far as I know) Steve gave me a Batman that had been damaged and I am sure has a story to tell. I picked up a new Justice League counter box as well. And I also made a few more fantasy Batman Pez for myself when I was at the convention.
The coolest Batman Pez scores, though, came from 2 places. First, while room hopping, I found an uncut card sheet of the orange Bonbon card. It was very cheap, and this was because the price tag was directly on the card. The seller was upfront with me that I would not be able to remove the tag without causing damage. But another Pezhead told me to try using lighter fluid to remove it. For the low price I paid, it is certainly worth a shot! Thanks again for the tip, Sue! Hopefully I can get it removed and then can maybe even frame it and add it to my Batman display.
My other top Batman Pez scores were 2 prints by the tremendously talented Eddie Santiago. It's long been a goal of mine to get some of Eddie's artwork and this year not only did I get to do that, but I got to purchase them from the man himself. Eddie is a really cool guy. One print is of a boy in a Batman suit holding a Batman POP+Pez. Another is Batman holding a giant Joker Pez dispenser. My words here can't do justice to these works of art, so I will plan to get them framed soon and add them to my Batman display. I'll share pictures in an upcoming issue.
Lastly, a Pezamania
trip is not complete without getting some vintage pieces. This year
was one of the biggest ones ever for me, as I picked up not one, not
two, but FOUR vintage dispensers. The first three, Indian Brave, Wounded
Soldier, and Pilgrim, were the final pieces I needed to round out my
Bicentennial set. I have been collecting this set for a number of years
now. I believe my first Bicentennial Pez was Betsy Ross, which I picked
up at the Northeast Pez Con 13 way back in 2011! Now keep in mind, I
do not have all variations such as Club Med, etc. but I consider it
a big goal to have gotten the entire standard set. In addition to the
3 new Bicentennials, I also picked up my first Mimic the Monkey. This
guy has a lot of variations I could have fun with, but for now I am
happy with this one.
And here is a closer look at my vintage pieces!
Looking back at Pezamania 30, almost a month out now, it still feels a little surreal. I am honestly still so overwhelmed by everything I experienced. First off, I prepared more for this convention than I ever have for any other one. Usually, I put together a wish list and may be some stuff to sell. This year, I really pushed myself creatively with swag, a multimedia art project, and a new print edition of Pezhead Monthly. I had many long nights and, admittedly, more than a few setbacks. But it was a very good learning experience and, I really have to stress this, it was very fun and ultimately totally worth it.
As for the convention itself, yes I did get a lot of very nice Pez scores, and I had some great experiences such as the big group picture. I saw some great Pez pieces that, while way out of my price range, I may never see again. But more importantly, I got to immerse myself in a world of Pez, and even better, I got to see some old friends and new ones. While there are way too many great people to mention here (some of whom I already have, earlier in this story), I'd like to note a few people here in particular.
First off, thanks to Rick and Sue Marlowe for another wonderful experience at Pezamania. It was clear that you and your staff worked very hard to give us all a convention for the books, and you really knocked it out of the park. Next year will be bittersweet as your last time hosting for sure. The Pez community is lucky to have you!
I had a great time meeting so many different people at Pezamania, whether for the first time or again after a long while. There are just too many people to mention here, but that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate their friendship and sharing my love of this Pez hobby with them. That being said, there are few other folks I'd like to give a shout out to here.
Finally, I have a few takeaways from Pezamania for next year's preparation and also for my own collection.
In closing, thank you, Pezamania 30, for everything! It was so great to be back and I can't wait till next year.
There once was a
Pezhead named Rick,
When you flip a
Throw those cards
down one by one,
Two of diamonds?
What the heck?
Eight of hearts?
Well that's more like it!
Across the room
a voice proclaims
As someone said,
"Don't Stop Believin'''
Enjoy Pez, but please do so responsibly.