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Wiz Kids 2008
Newest Photos are at the TOP (Scroll down to see older photos)


L-R: Wiz Kids Lil Flip; Marquise; Rider

11/05/08

It's not all about basketball, however. We are getting some unicycle routines ready for parades and stage shows, and coordinated riding is the key. Here they are linked up in a straight line formation, that will change to a pinwheel formation. New tricks and moves are discovered every day.


L-R: Wiz Kids Lil Flip, Rider, Marquise

11/05/08

Playing basketball just got a whole lot more interesting now that we have a small group of Wiz Kid unicyclists. They discovered they could dribble a basketball while unicycling earlier this year, as an excercise to develop better balance for juggling. Now we carry a basketball along on every trip to the park and they have a modified basketball game they can play together.

10/21/08

It took Wiz Kid Rider exactly 11 days to master the first stage of riding a unicycle. This afternoon, he went around the track at Watsessing Park in East Orange two times, unassisted. No, he did not fall off (photo on the right), but collapsed with happiness on finally making it and earning his own unicycle.

Click on either photo to collect the large versions of the photos.

Next we went to the Brookdale Cycle Store in Bloomfield to order Rider's personal unicycle, and when he came back to the park later in the day, he not only rode around the track, but also showed that he had learned to mount the unicycle on his own without help, and discovered that he could also travel around in large circles, which usually takes a few more days to master.

10/19/08

It's Pumpkin Carving Day and a contest is on to see who can look the most like his pumpkin. Meanwhile the insides of the pumpkins were baking into pumpkin pies, pumpkin cookies, and baked pumpkin seeds.

10/19/08

Surprise! It's really Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki (L) and Wiz Kid Rider (R) who are constantly trying to out-do each other, whether it's with magic, or juggling, or unicycling, or carving pumpkins. Sometimes one wins, and sometimes the other, but they always both have fun.

10/15/08

It won't be long now. Wiz Kid Rider's rides are getting longer (30 to 50 feet) and his technique is improving. He is one persistent little person and that tenacity will have him riding around the track at Watsessing Park before the week is up (or at least, that's what everyone who has seen him practicing is betting). He is just as tenaciously working on his magic skills, starting with rope magic and now moving on to sponge ball magic. When he is tired and taking a rest break, he asks hundreds of questions about everything in sight, from lichens and moss, to ducks in the river and leaves on the trees. He gives us all a real work-out along with him, but that's the definition of a Wiz Kid.

10/12/08 - Columbus Day Weekend

We have a new Wiz Kid joining our Fall 2008 Troupe. His Wiz Kid name is Rider and he is surprising us all with how fast he is learning to unicycle. Yesterday (10/11/08) was his very first day on the unicycle, and by today (10/12/08) he can already ride about 15 feet unassisted. We also went pumpkin hunting this weekend and next weekend we will be carving pumpkins and making pumpkin pies, pumpkin cookies and baking pumpkin seeds. The carved pumpkins will make great stage decorations for our Halloween shows.

Both photos, L to R: Wiz Kid Rider and Wiz Qua-Fiki.

08/28/08

Lil Flip makes a trip with his little brother (G-Tiger) to the Brookdale Cycle store in Bloomfield, NJ to pick up his brand new unicycle. You may recall that he was awarded his unicycle on July 4th, but there were delays and back orders, so he had to wait most of the summer while continuing to work out on the older unicycle on which he had been learning. The smile on his face shows us the wait was worth it. He noticed an immediate improvement in his ability to turn and maneuver, and took the new unicycle to Watsessing Park in East Orange to break it in. You'll also notice that he is now juggling while unicycling, as are the other unicyclists in the group, Qua-Fiki and Marquise.

08/19/08

Wiz Kid Lil Flip is the first Wiz Kid in the 2008 Troupe to master juggling the bean bags for a full minute. Actually he can do about 2 minutes before dropping, but one minute is the requirement to achieve before moving on to the rings, and then the clubs.

As Lil Flip soon finds out, the clubs are the most difficult because they can "hit back!" Before the session is over, he manages to master juggling with two clubs.

7/04/08

The Wiz Kids rode in the Maplewood Fourth of July Parade, along with hundreds of other kids who rode on bicycles, or pushed wagons or just walked through the town of Maplewood, NJ. During the parade, Wiz Kid Lil Flip finally managed to turn corners, and afterwards went around the track at Watsessing Park an amazing four times, earning him the right to own his unicycle. Later in the day, the Kids were treated to the Circus and in the evening, to a spectacular fireworks display. More Photos from the Fourth of July can be accessed HERE.

Pictured from left to right: Wiz Kid G-Tiger, Wiz Kid Lil Flip, and Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki.

7/01/08

Wiz Kid Lil Flip was determined not to be left out of the unicyle line-up for our next parade (coming up this Friday, July 4th). This week he finally took his first long ride on the unicycle. He still has to work on his turns and going over bumps in the pavement, but he has come a long way and is expected to soon qualify for the Wiz Kid Unicycle Award. In the photo, he is being encouraged by First Unicyclist Wiz Kid Marquise who rides beside him on his left.

5/26/08

The Wiz Kids marched with the East Orange Unified High Schools Marching Band in the East Orange Memorial Day Parade from Elmwood Park to City Hall. Participating members included (Left to Right): Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki (Unicyclist), Wiz Kid Marquise (Unicyclist), Wiz Kid G-Tiger (Balloon Artist), Wiz Kid Li'l Flip (Balloon Artist), and Honorary Wiz Kid Willi (Bicyclist and Balloon Artist).

The Unicyclists and Bicyclist rode in circles in and around and behind the marching band, while the Balloon Artists did their best to keep up with the constant requests for balloon hats and animals.

5/26/08

Also marching in the Memorial Day Parade was Wiz Kid Eleazar, but he was marching with the East Orange Unified High Schools Marching Band as a cymbalist.

Frederick Goode, Director of the Wiz Kids, is also director of the East Orange Unified High Schools Marching Band, and he was there that day as band leader, while Associate Director Jim Gerrish struggled to keep up with the Wiz Kids and keep them supplied with balloons to give out to the crowds along the way.

The Wiz Kids got special recognition when they passed the reviewing stand with the band, and later they were invited to participate in the Band Parents' Association Barbecue for the band members.

5/24/08

The Spring/Summer 2008 Troupe of Wiz Kids (missing only Zeus!) lines up for Unicycle Class

5/24/08

The newest troupe of Wiz Kids is now fully formed and getting ready for action. In these latest photos, which add Wiz Kids L'il Flip and G-Tiger to the group, we catch up on Parade Skills, which include unicycle riding, making balloon hats and animals, and being friendly!

05/18/08

Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki recently helped Professor Spellbinder (Grandpa) illustrate his magic TIPS jar that Qua-Fiki has been using in his Wiz Kid Rope Act. The Professor was glad to have his assistance because, even though the Professor invented this version of the TIPS jar, Qua-Fiki is quick to come up with jokes and presentation subtleties on his own which adds to the effect. Like his cousin Wiz Kid Eleazar, Qua-Fiki will probably be seen more and more on The Magic Nook adding his thoughts and inventions to the growing collection of magic there. The Magic Nook is a sponsor of the Wiz Kids and funds many of their activities.

Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki now has his own Fan Page. Click HERE to learn more about this talented Wiz Kid. Click HERE to see Qua-Fiki at the Talent Show.

Click HERE to learn more about Wiz Kid Eleazar.

Other Wiz Kid members will begin getting their own indivdual pages as they work hard and earn the right to be called "Wiz Kids!"

05/15/08

Two new Wiz Kids joined the Spring/Summer Troupe. They are brothers and will be known as Wiz Kid L'il Flip and G-Tiger. Both put in a hard day's work on Unicycles. It was the first lesson for the new Wiz Kids, but old-timers Qua-Fiki and Marquise helped them along and both of them managed to ride four feet today.

05/10/08

This time of year, the Wiz Kids are busy getting ready for appearing in the Memorial Day Parade and in a Fourth of July Parade. On the left, Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki is honing his unicycle skills by challenging the cones, weaving in and out and around them. He is also working on dribbling a basketball as he rides, which is preparation for being able to juggle on the unicycle. Qua-Fiki will also be performing as a magician in his school talent show this month. We'll try to get photos!

Wiz Kid Zeus (far right) is working hard to be ready to ride in the parade, also. He has started working on a new magic act which he hopes to have ready for our summer tour.

04/12/08

Unicycle Awards Day!

Today, both Wiz Kids Qua-Fiki and Marquise were awarded possession of the Unicycles they had worked so long to master. Each of them made it completely around the track at Watsessing Park in East Orange, which proved they were Masters of the Unicycle at last! Frederick Goode, Director of The Wiz Kids, then awarded each of them with brand new Unicycles and Helmets that they can take home for additional practice on their own during the week.

04/12/08

We also celebrate Unicycle Awards Day with the addition of a new Wiz Kid Member; Wiz Kid Zeus. Today he only rode about three feet, but from that start, we are hoping he will be able to join the other Wiz Kids in the forthcoming Memorial Day Parade. Our new Wiz Kid Unit will be performing on Unicycles, making Balloon Animals, and entertaining the crowd with Clown Antics.

We never mentioned what magic specialties were chosen. So far, Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki has decided to be our Escape Artist and has already mastered some rope escapes, as well as The Australian Torture Yoke. He continues to work on advanced Rope Escapes including a Spirit Tie, the 100 Foot of Clothesline Escape, and several others. Wiz Kid Marquise has chosen to be our Wiz Kid Wizard, which makes our friend Grand Wizard Phineas Spellbinder very happy. His act is a mystery so far, but we hear he is learning to make things appear and disappear and has already been fitted for his Wizard's Robe. Wiz Kid Zeus has a long way to go before he is ready to choose a specialty, but all the Wiz Kids are anticipating a summer tour to the Adirondacks once the entire troupe has a show.

03/31/08

The new Wiz Kids attended their first Magician's Convention at the Magic Funday (IBM Ring 123) in Hazlet, NJ.

In the photo at the left, Wiz Kid Marquise (top), Wiz Kid Eleazar (middle), Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki (bottom) and Wiz Kid Director Fred Goode (right) get ready for the big evening show, after a day filled with magic dealer demos, magic lectures, magic auctions, and learning magic from many magicians and a juggler who were in attendence and who went out of their way to share their knowledge and experience with our beginners.

It is a beautiful Spring Day (3/15/08); just right for Unicycle practice at Watsessing Park. Director Fred Goode gives Wiz Kids Qua-Fiki and Marquise a helping hand to get started, but then they are on their own and they both are able to ride across the entire field without falling. They are both able to get up and get started on their own, but this photo was taken after about 45 minutes of hard riding and they are getting a little tired, so a helping hand is always welcome.

Next week is the moment of decision for both Wiz Kids, as they choose their first magic acts. As of today, Qua-Fiki wants to be either a Magic Chef or an Escape Artist. Marquise is thinking about doing a Magic Artist act, perhaps as a magic clown, or a Rope Magic act. They have all this week to change their minds, and they may end up deciding to do both of their choices, one after another.

Some new Wiz Kids may be joining us shortly, and once we get them started, we will be showing this group how to book themselves for their first public performance. In the meantime, each has begun doing small magic performances for family, friends, and school classmates.

As mentioned above, all Wiz Kids learn to play the keyboard. Today (2/23/08) is Qua-Fiki's first lesson. Wiz Kids learn to play with both hands right from the start, using special show music (Bossy Nova) composed by Jim Gerrish. This music allows a keyboard player to be able to play background accompaniment from Day One. This gives them the confidence to then proceed to a more difficult piece, and some even decide to learn to play the piano or organ as a result of this experience.

Using the Wiz Kid method, Qua-Fiki learned his first piece by discovering the relationships between the keys. By the end of the lesson, he was given the written music and a marked keyboard so he could continue his studies at home... along with more magic, more juggling, etc.

Wiz Kids also learn to make their own props and take care of them. One of our rules is that a Wiz Kid never touches another Wiz Kid's props. When it is time for him to learn a new magic trick, he will be given everything he needs to make the props and perform with them.

In the photo at the right, Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki prepares his napkin trick for performance. He must perform this trick three times in public shows, and then the Wiz Kids will vote to see if he is good enough to become an "official" Wiz Kid. At that time he will receive his Wiz Kid Shirt with his Wiz Kid name printed on it, and he may begin working on a new trick to master.

Qua-Fiki chose his own Wiz Kid name. It's not his real name, but each Wiz Kid can choose to use his or her real first name or make up a special Wiz Kid name to use as an official Wiz Kid member.

Since we are a performing arts group, all Wiz Kids need to have signed model releases so that we can photograph them and videotape their performances. Their photographs are used in publicity photos and will eventually appear in magazines and newspapers, as well as on the Internet, promoting the group and its activities.

Videotapes are made of practices so the Wiz Kids can see themselves as others see them and can learn to improve their acting skills. They learn that they are actors playing the roles of magicians, clowns, escape artists and more. They are also ambassadors of good will to the places they visit and role models for other kids whenever they appear in public.

All Wiz Kids learn to juggle, beginning with the juggling scarves, which is the very first lesson. The next lessons will progress to juggling bean bags, rubber balls, plastic rings, and juggling clubs.

All Wiz Kids learn to play a keyboard. They may also play other musical instruments and if so, are encouraged to bring them and use them as Wiz Kids. The music they play will be used to accompany a Wiz Kid produced show.

All Wiz Kids are encouraged to learn to ride a unicycle. They learn to fall, pick themselves up and keep trying. It takes about a month of falling before they finally begin to ride.

Our newest group of Wiz Kids began forming in January, 2008. Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki (on the left) was first. His friend, who joined in February as Wiz Kid Marquise (on the right) noticed Qua-Fiki practicing on the unicycle and that got his interest.

Our policy of "Each One Teach One" is seen at work in the photo. Qua-Fiki learned a sponge ball magic trick and mastered it within a few weeks. Now he, in turn, amazes Marquise with his skill before teaching him to perform the same trick. Since the boys attend different schools, there is no conflict in having them learn the same magic tricks.

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