Day 119: Mind Reader: Eric Dittelman


My first today marked the end of the wonderful entertainers and performers brought to Joplin by Missouri Southern State University’s Campus Activities Board. At least for this semester. I’ve really enjoyed the quality and variety of the shows and you can’t beat the free admission. These events have been wonderful opportunities for firsts for me, but beyond that, they are fun, entertaining productions. I’m so glad I got to see each one.

Tonight my mom and I enjoyed watching Eric Dittelman, Mind Reader. I attended this program with the same open mind that accompanied me to the hypnotist’s show. I decided to observe carefully, suspend skepticism, and have fun. As with the previous entertainers, Eric possessed a quirky, playful sense of humor that enhanced his mind reader performance. He was very serious, however, about his craft.

Eric Dittelman has been entertaining audiences around the US at colleges, comedy clubs and private events with his unique blend of mind reading, stand-up and improv comedy. In 2012 he was a semi-finalist on Season 7 of “America’s Got Talent”. Last year he appeared as a headline guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show.

Growing up in central Massachusetts, Eric began his entertainment career with stand-up comedy, which he continued to develop during his college years. After graduation Eric became more and more interested in combining his comedic abilities with his lifelong passion for mystery performance. Traveling to Las Vegas, Eric studied with some of the top mind readers in the world and has performed at the Palazzo and the Tropicana there.

I was impressed with this guy. He’s not flashy or over the top with his humor. He begins right away with random audience involvement and proceeds to not only read minds, but blow them! He admitted to being an excellent reader of character, body language and subtle clues given off by the one being read. He told us frankly that he’s influencing the decisions his participants make, but I can’t tell you how he does it. From revealing what costume a young man wore for Halloween when he was in second grade, to writing down the correct name of another guy’s first crush, Eric amazed. He wasn’t vague, nor did he use guesses to narrow down to the correct answer, he was very, very specific, and always correct.

My favorite routine was his version of Pictionary. After picking three members of the audience to draw pictures, Eric had two helpers come up on stage to tape half dollars over his eyes and then wrap his head with duct tape, covering his eyes completely. He then affixed a blindfold over his taped eyes and had the assistants check his ears for any type of hearing device. None were detected. The drawings were collected and one by one, held above Eric’s head. Each impromptu artist stood, saying his or her name, as Eric then began to accurately describe what each one had drawn. He was absolutely correct, down to the smallest details. On the last drawing, which was of a doghouse, the man had even written his dog’s name across the front. While the audience applauded Eric’s description of the doghouse, Eric shushed everyone and said “Wait, he has a name written on the house and he wants me to say the name.” The man laughed and answered that yes, he did. Without any hesitation, Eric called out, “Rover….the dog’s name is Rover.” The applause was wild after that!

I really enjoyed this show. With his rather low key sense of humor and uncanny ability to perceive exactly what people were thinking, he made a believer and a fan out of me. I can’t wait to see what MSSU’s Campus Activities Board has lined up for the fall semester! I’ll be there.


Day 91: Comedian Juggler Nick Pike






As one who is always on the lookout for firsts to do, I have really come to appreciate the many opportunities that are available in Joplin. I realize how unaware I have been of the events, performances and exhibits offered in my city, most of them for free. I have discovered that Missouri Southern State University, via their Campus Activities Board, brings in quality entertainers every couple of weeks. These shows are open to the public and admission is free. This is perfect for me! I saw hypnotist Michael C Anthony there in February. For today’s first, I had the pleasure of watching comedian juggler Nick Pike.

When I scanned through the program during Michael’s show in February, I saw a list of upcoming events. I was intrigued. The magician looked good as did the mind reader coming at the end of April. A comedian juggler though? I wasn’t sure if I would catch that act. With 365 firsts to do, however, I decided I would attend and invited my mom and sister to accompany me.

I am so glad I decided to go! Nick Pike was extremely entertaining, combining juggling, humor and danger into an amazing show. Hailing from England, Nick has been juggling since the age of 11. His one man variety show has been performed thousands of times at festivals and events around the globe, from London, England to Sydney, Australia. He has been a headline act on all the major cruise lines of the world. In 2010 Nick was a quarterfinalist on America’s Got Talent, making it into the top 48. In recent years he has appeared on the college scene, touring the country and entertaining at as many colleges and universities as possible. He was just crowned the APCA Juggler of the Year for 2014.

What I know about Nick is he can juggle anything! My son, Nate, can juggle. I’ve tried. It’s not one of my talents. Nick opened tonight’s show juggling oranges and progressed through batons and then meat cleavers! He kept up a running commentary, in a delightful British accent, that was hilarious. He’s quick witted, incorporating remarks and people from the audience into his performance. If he dropped an item, he did a little soft shoe dance routine, which became endearing. As if juggling from the floor wasn’t difficult enough, Nick proceeded to amaze us by juggling atop a 6 foot tall unicycle. His coordination was astounding.

For his final act, Nick spread pieces of broken glass on the floor and removed his socks and shoes. Donning a black hood, he picked up the meat cleavers and pulled the hood down over his eyes. I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch either! Nick walked barefoot over the shards of glass, eyes covered, hands tossing sharp objects into the air. His routine was flawless and at the end of his daring walk, his feet uncut. What a relief. We stood to applaud and cheer.

This was a very fun show. I am grateful to MSSU’s Campus Activities Board for bringing such talent to Joplin. I will be back in two weeks, for the magician!