Thinking Outside The Dispenser
Spring Loaded: A Message from the Editor | top
Hello and Happy New Year from Pezhead Monthly! We've finally made it to 2021 and I am as happy as a kid in a store that only sells new and vintage Pez and also happens to offer a discount for anyone named Joe.
It was an unusual December to wrap up an unusual year. My annual trip out to see family was cancelled due to you-know-what. I literally set 2020 on fire on New Year's Eve. I half-jokingly asked a store employee if they had any PS5s in the back... and I ended up walking out of the store with the console. And last but not least, I had the privilege of attending the year-end Virtual Pez Convention (VPC) extravaganza. The VPC once again featured some great Pez room tours and the opprtunity to see and interact with fellow Pezheads, as well as the great news that the VPC will continue into 2021. And on top of that, I even won a prize! Read all about it below.
It's fair to say that my December Pez scores wrapped up the year with a bang. From "the wild" (aka nearby stores), I got the 2 new Valentine's hearts. From my imagination, and from stems of other Pez dispensers that made the ultimate sacrifice, I got 2 more fantasy Batman dispensers. From eBay, I got 4 new Batman cards and a really neat custom Santa Pez. The Santa Pez has a facemask on and its custom card calls 2020 "The Year We Stayed Home" and features a lot of the cultural milestones that defined the year. (A closer look at the card can be found here). From Amazon, I got the Winnie the Pooh and Piglet Christmas POP+Pez. From the VPC, I got a pill packet with Pez candies and a custom chrome snowman from Phyllis Oreck, a fellow Pezhead who was actually featured on the TV show "Judge Judy." From fellow Pezheads on Facebook, I got a custom 2021 calendar, 4 more POP+Pez, the Pop Heart LOL Pez dispenser (which completes my LOL Series 2 set) and a very cool wedding favor, direct from one of the grooms himself. The wedding favor consists of 2 custom Pez dispensers in a custom box. The whole thing is completely and totally made of win. Check out the details on the front and back of the box! Lastly. a big thanks to my lovely wife, Santa Jes, for the Pez pillow, an Animaniacs comic with a Pez dispenser on its cover, and the set of 44 Cats dispensers (which only consists of 3 cats, but tomato tomahto). Check it all out below, and click the picture for a larger view!
This month's cover image features some vintage New Year's art with a Pez twist. There is also a Pez haiku to welcome the new year. Mainly, I reflect back on 2020 through a Pez lens, and point out that even though it was not the best of years (to put it mildly), there was lots of Pez joy and fun to be had.
Looking ahead to 2021, I think we have every reason to be hopeful for better times ahead. That said, there are bound to be some more bumps. In the Pez world, we've sadly already had 2 Pez convention cancellations (The PIG PIG PIG in March and the Northeast Pez convention in May), and we can only hope that the Michigan and Pezamania conventions can resume later in the year.
But in more positive Pez news, 2021 also marks 20 years for Pezhead Monthly. I would like to do something special for the occasion, but I am not quite sure yet. I will update this space when I have more to share.
By the way, did you miss last month's issue, where I proudly presented my new Pez room? 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!
Okay, let's just put it out there: 2020 was one dumpster fire of a year. There was so much hurt, loss, and despair that it's hard to properly put it into words. Yes, there were more than a few small joys sprinkled throughout, but I am not going to pretend that this was not a terribly devasting year. As Pezheads, we dealt with multiple convention cancellations and the overall limitations on getting together with one another for most of the year. Not cool, man.
That being said, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on the many ways in which Pez personally brought me happiness over the year. It was a year with many unique experiences and a broad, diverse array of scores. It also renewed my imagination and interest in the fun and creative side of the hobby, beyond just continuing to add new stuff to my collection. This included a renaissance of sorts for this very publication that I hope will continue in the months and years to come.
Are You Experienced?
When I think of the Pez experiences I had in 2020, the first one that comes to mind is the PIG Too convention in March. Hosted by the energetic, informative, entertaining, and friendly Josh Bales, this gathering was a short drive from home in West Chester, Ohio (a suburb of Cincinnati), but it went a long way in bringing me back into the fun side of the hobby for me. Having not attended a larger Pez gathering or convention in 2019 (except for the small IN Crowd gathering in 2019, which was a lot of fun), I was eager to get back to the convention experience, including room hopping, fun and games, and interacting with fellow Pezheads. The PIG Too convention had all of that and more. Many Pezheads, including myself, shared what we knew and loved about the hobby. My Batman fantasy Pez collection kicked into high gear, I met some new people and saw some old friends, and on top of all of that, there was even delicious pulled pork! All of this was on the precipice of the world shutting down (literally days before restrictions started taking place), which made it that much more unforgettable. You can read more about my adventures at PIG Too here.
In April, a new concept was brought to the Pez world: the virtual convention. The limitations on in-person interaction because of COVID brought about something new and quite interesting: the Virtual Pez Convention (VPC), which took place over the 2020 tech program of the year, Zoom. I was so happy to attend the first VPC as well as other ones over the course of the year. The VPC was more than just a "holdover" convention until we could meet again in person. It allowed us to have a look at the Pez rooms and displays of all different types of collectors. There are so many neat Pez collections, stories of Pez history, and unique ways in which Pez was displayed. It felt like a peek behind the curtains and, on a personal level, it gave me some ideas that would ultimately influence how I would display my own collection later in the year. I am looking forward to more VPC events in the months and years to come, even as the in-person conventions start to kick into gear again. Check out more of my thoughts on the April VPC here.
Also in April, I had the distinct honor to be interviewed on a podcast devoted to the Pez hobby called The Pez Collection Podcast. Hosts Justin Hansen and Andrea Gage were kind and friendly, and they made it super easy for this very introverted Pez collector to open up about how I started to get into the hobby, how I incorporated Pez into my 2018 wedding, and how I was able to combine my loves of Pez and creative writing, which ultimately brought about Pezhead Monthly. My podcast episode went live later in the year and can be found here. You can read more about my experience with the Pez Collection Podcast here.
Last but certainly
not least, one Pez experience of 2020 that I will never forget was in
October, on the occasion of the 2nd Indiana Pez gathering, otherwise
known as IN Crowd 2020. This was a really great time and one
of only few chances during the year for Pezheads to get together since
the pandemic started. There were only about 25 of us but it was a thrill
to buy/sell/trade Pez, give away swag, play games, and just catch up
with each other. I saw some Pez friends that I had not seen in a while
and also met a few new folks too. Hosts Ron and Karen were kind and
gracious, and seeing Karen's amazing Pez room was one of the most thrilling
experiences I've had in my 25+years as a Pez collector. Check out my
recap of the event, complete with lots of pictures, here.
Pezhead Monthly Returns!
After a few lean years, Pezhead Monthly came back in a big way in 2020. This happened because of a number of reasons. For one, 2020 was a wind-down of a couple of major life events for me (wedding and a new house), which allowed me more time to dedicate to this wonderful hobby beyond just adding new pieces to my collection. Also, as I continued to unpack boxes and put together my Pez room, I began to draw inspiration from the diverse items in my collection, some of which had been in storage for years. Another very big shot in the arm for Pezhead Monthly was the PIG Too convention in March 2020. The opportunity to get back into the Pez convention life, after having missed all major conventions in 2019, was very thrilling. I met up with Pez friends old and new, got some very cool Pez items, and had the opportunity to share some Pez poetry with folks at the convention.
For all of these reasons (combined with, yes, spending a lot of time at home due to the pandemic), Pezhead Monthly experienced a definite rebirth in 2020. Since April, and counting this current issue, there have been 10 consecutive monthly issues, which is the longest streak for Pezhead Monthly since August 2012! I intend to keep this streak going for as long as possible, although I acknowledge this may not always be possible due to life events. I am also open to bringing back features from previous issues, such as Five Questions or Petey O'Jay, and am open to trying some new things too.
I'd like to mention
a few highlights of 2020 for Pezhead Monthly. At the top of the list
is the song
parody (and accompanying video)
"Candy Loaded In", inspired by Elton John's classic song "Candle
in the Wind."
There were also some fun Pez poems in Pezhead Monthly's 2020 run. Here are a few of my favorites:
And lastly, I want to give a huge shoutout to Bret Christopher, who contributed many of his artistic pieces to Pezhead Monthly this year. Bret's Pez-flavored re-imaginings of classic moments in TV and movies are exactly the kind of creativity that Pezhead Monthly encourages and celebrates, and can't get enough of!
Here are all of
the glimpses into Bret's World of Pez for 2020:
I really enjoyed Bret's contributions in 2020 and I hope that he might be able to submit more in 2021. And, I would encourage anyone to submit their work as well! This could be in the form of Pez Photoshops, drawings, poetry, photography, or anything that is a creative ode to Pez. You can check out Pezhead Monthly's submission policy here.
What 2020 Meant for My Pez Collection
Thanks in large part to the PIG Too convention and the good people on eBay and Pez.com, my Pez collection grew substantially in 2020. My rough count puts me at about 175 dispensers added through the year, including about 115 standard Pez and 60 POP+Pez dispensers. This count does not include the many fantasy Pez, convention/gathering dispensers, or other various Pez items I created and/or scored in 2020.
My Batman fantasy Pez collection in particular grew by quite a bit this year. This was mainly due to the PIG Too convention, where I got some really neat painted and steampunk pieces from talented artists in the community. It was also at this convention where I started to make my own Batman fantasy Pez, by swapping the head with various other stems. I started with some different colors and a few minis, and then soon remembered the variety of unique printed stems in the Pez world. That's when things got interesting. I've added Batman's Pez head to such stems as the Valentine's hearts, the Christmas snowflake stems, a Mr. Bean stem, and more. Here is my current collection of my loose Batman Pez dispensers, including both official and fantasy pieces. You can click on it for a larger view.
Without question, my score of the year was a very special Batman dispenser, cut in half and cast in resin. It is incredibly cool and is featured right in the center of my Pez room on a spinning display. Here is a video of the dispenser in motion!
Other big scores in 2020 included the aforementioned steampunk POP+Pez Batmans, a giant cutout of a Batman POP+Pez, and some neat fantasy Pez Pals in disguise as Thing, Thor, and Spider-Man. As far as official dispensers, I really liked the new Luigi dispenser as well as the Mandalorian/Child set, and was thrilled to get the limited edition crystal pumpkin from Pez.com. My craziest score of the year had to have been the coveted Hot Topic Yellow Chase Deadpool POP+Pez, which I won as a prize at the PIG Too convention! There were many other great Pez scores for me in 2020, from so many talented and kind people in the Pez community and from Pez.com and eBay.
The biggest development for my Pez collection in 2020 was the growth and presentation of my Pez room. It is not complete, and of course it never will be, but after a long process of putting the room together and unpacking storage boxes, I have almost all of my collection on display, and in an entire room devoted to it, for the first time ever. I added many words and pictures about my Pez room in last month's issue. In particular, I would encourage you to check out the videos Evolution of a Pez Display and Introducing the Batcave! to get a good overview of what is in my Pez room and, in particular, of the ways that I use technology to bring my Batman display to life.
I am so happy at how the Pez room turned out. There are lots of little stories to be told about it, and I plan on going into some more details in upcoming issues of Pezhead Monthly. And I also have some ideas for upgrades for 2021. I'll be sharing those here as well as events develop.
I know that 2021 will not be a perfect year and that we will not magically recover from everything that the last year brought to us. But the feeling of hope is definitely here. I am looking forward to a new year filled with lots of Pez fun and excitement, and I can't wait to share it with you right here at Pezhead Monthly.
Pez Haiku #150
A new calendar,
Enjoy Pez, but please do so responsibly.