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The Wiz Kids at Jersey Magic Jam

Wiz Kids Ee-Gee-Fiki, Qua-Fiki, Wilhelmina, and Wiz Kid Directors Fred Goode and Jim Gerrish and attended the Jersey Magic Jam in Clark, NJ on Sunday, March 27, 2011. A magic gathering like this helps to re-energize and renew interest and excitement for all things in the performing arts of magic.

L-R: Wiz Kid Director Fred Goode, Wiz Kids Wilhelmina, Qua-Fiki and Ee-Gee-Fiki. Photo by Wiz Kid Director Jim Gerrish

It's a beautiful sunny Sunday Morning when the Wiz Kids arrive at the Crown Plaza Motel in Clark, New Jersey to attend the Jersey Magic Jam. Wiz Kids Qua-Fiki and Ee-Gee-Fiki have been to magic conventions every year since they formally joined the Wiz Kids in 2008, but this will be Wiz Kid Wilhelmina's first experience at a gathering like this.

The Jersey Magic Jam was formerly known as "Magic Funday" when Wiz Kids Qua-Fiki and Ee-Gee Fiki attended in 2008. Today's convention was organized and produced by Charles Del Rosso, Randy St. James, Mike Spade, and Sal Senatore, all well known magicians of New Jersey.

Left: Joe Festa, Magic Dealer. Photo by Wiz Kid Director Jim Gerrish.

The first thing one does at all Magic Conventions and Gatherings is to check out the Magic Dealers. Above, we see dealer Joe Festa showing off his magic props and illusions to the Wiz Kids and other potential customers. The dealers who had booths at this gathering included: Craig Dickson-Wizard Craft, Bob Little-Guaranteed Magic, Gary Sonato-Pocket Magic, Scott & Britni-Wonderfun Shop, Joe Festa-Illusions (above), Joe Mogar-Color Changing Knives & More, Tony Karpinski-Wood Products, John Reed-Cressy Products, Mike Henkel-MH Magic Magazines, Sam Sandler-General Magic, and Scott Correll-General Magic.

L-R: Wiz Kids Ee-Gee-Fiki, Qua-Fiki, Wilhelmina, and Wiz Kid Director Fred Goode. Photo by Wiz Kid Director Jim Gerrish

The Wiz Kids check out the beautiful wooden magic props produced by magical woodworker and carpenter Tony Karpinski (far right) of Massachusetts. Wiz Kid Wilhelmina was given some wood magic wands made by Mr. Karpinski, as well as her own personal Magic Die Box that he had made years ago. The Wiz Kids invested in the high quality wooden die box Mr. Karpinski is showing them in the photo, that Wiz Kid Wilhelmina will incorporate into her act after making some changes to adapt it to her Santa Claus Blocks presentation.

Certain magic props are owned by The Wiz Kids, Inc. to be used by any and all Wiz Kids who show that they have learned the skills to use them in performance. Those props are kept in trust for them by the Wiz Kids and are returned to the Wiz Kid magic prop museum when the user grows up or moves on to other areas of magic. Then, when a new Wiz Kid needs the prop in the future, the prop is passed down to them, often by the original user along with personal instruction and training by the original user.

Photo by Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki

Joe Mogar is well known among magicians for his magic coins and color changing knives. Both Wiz Kids Qua-Fiki and Ee-Gee-Fiki have become interested in coin magic for their close-up presentations and check out the lastest items of this master metal craftsman.

Photo by Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki

Magician Sam Sandler (far right) demonstrates some of his rubber band magic to the Wiz Kids and other customers. Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki will take home some DVD instructions from Mr. Sandler and will choose some items he has learned from the DVD to present at the next Wiz Kid meeting. This is one of the ways the Wiz Kids learn new magic and pass it on to other Wiz Kids, while gaining experience and learning to give and take constructive criticism along the way.

Photo by Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki

Sam Sandler was one of the main reasons why we chose this convention for the Wiz Kids. Mr. Sandler is not only a magic dealer, but also presented a magic lecture and performed in the evening magic show. We wanted the Wiz Kids to learn from him the difference between doing a magic trick and presenting a magic story, and he did not let us down. Above he is teaching how to do a magic trick- changing a blue balloon into a pink one. But then he shows how to transform that simple magic trick into a presentation and make it seem like real magic. This is something one can't always learn from books and DVDs, but need to see it demonstrated live by a master magician like Mr. Sandler.

Photo by Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki

In the Wiz Kids, School comes before Magic and since Wiz Kid Ee-Gee-Fiki still had some homework to finish up, he had to spend some time out in the hotel lobby with his dad, who was helping him to complete his assignments. He doesn't look very happy, but he can look forward to learning some new coin magic he saw at the convention, when his school work is done.

Photo by Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki

While Ee-Gee-Fiki is finishing up his homework, Wiz Kid Wilhelmina explains her Easter Egg Surprise trick to Wiz Kid Director Jim Gerrish, who will have the job of helping her to explain her newest invention and magic trick in writing. She's 9 years old and already has invented several magic tricks that are published by the Magic Nook, and while she performs her tricks and can explain them by talking, it will be some more years before her writing skills catch up with her quick mind and her vocal communication skills. They are using some of the lobby candy and pretending they are Easter Eggs as she describes her ideas to him.

Photo by Wiz Kid Director Jim Gerrish

It's no good if you can't apply what you have learned from watching others to improve your own magic skills, so at the dinner table, while awaiting the evening meal, Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki applies some new sleight of hand moves to a color sponge ball routine he invented that uses sponge fish he makes himself. The new moves will improve his performance, but what he learned about presentation will improve his use of the little sponge fish to tell a magical story. After dinner, they will spend some time on the hotel's computers, updating the section of The Magic Nook Web site that is in their care. Qua-Fiki is learning how to operate the Web site because some day he will be in charge of operations and he is learning all aspects of the business end of magic from the ground up.

The evening show is when we get to see the magicians performing in the way their audiences see them performing, complete with lights, music, costumes and props.

Stock Publicity Photo

The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Dick Gustafson. Qua-Fiki is training to become a Master of Ceremonies (MC)for Wiz Kid shows, so he was quite interested in seeing how the job is handled by a real master of the art. As MC, he will have to introduce each of the acts, performing magic between each act to give the next act time to prepare and set up behind the curtain. The MC usually presents his own performance, and we got to see Mr. Gustafson and his wife perform their professional act, including the linking coat hangers seen in the photo above. Once again the lesson learned was that the magic trick is not as important as the way it is presented.

Stock Publicity Photo

The first act was billed as a "Manipulation Act" by Apollo Riego, a young magician born in the Philippines and who grew up in New York City. He was quite skilled in manipulation of cards, but showed he still had a long way to go to learn routining and presentation, which is also true of our Wiz Kids. The skills need to be mastered first, but then you need to learn what to do with them... and more importantly, why.

Stock Publicity Photo

Jeff Carson was more experienced at presentation, and he combined comedy, juggling and magic to give a very entertaining performance.

Sam Sandler and his assistant Christine perform Metamorphosis. Photo by Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki

Sam Sandler performed his illusion act in the evening show. Qua-Fiki was very interested in the Metamorphosis Illusion because he and Ee-Gee-Fiki have been working on a similar box illusion called the Sub Cube developed by Jim Gerrish and Professor Spellbinder of The Magic Nook. Mr. Sandler also performed some of the effects he had explained during his magic lecture, so we could concentrate on seeing HOW he performed and presented them, rather than trying to figure out how he did it.

There are still more photos that will be added to this collection. The Jersey Magic Jam proved to be a great experience for us all, and we hope to return next year on April 1st with some new Wiz Kids, as well as the older and more experienced Wiz Kids.

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