Wiz Kids 2008
Newest Photos are at the TOP (Scroll down
to see older photos)
L-R: Wiz Kids Lil Flip; Marquise; Rider
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The Spring/Summer 2008 Troupe of Wiz Kids (missing only
Zeus!) lines up for Unicycle Class
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!
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
Other Wiz Kid members will begin getting their own
indivdual pages as they work hard and earn the right to
be called "Wiz Kids!"
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.
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
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
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
The new Wiz Kids attended their first Magician's
Convention at the Magic Funday (IBM Ring 123) in
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
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
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
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
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.