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Friday, May 6, 2016

Strange Magic

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Professor Atom," portrayed by Daniel Lusk, stands before the children at the Putnam County Public Library Thursday to give a demonstration about the five senses. [Order this photo]
A handful of kids in matching yellow T-shirts played around low table, having a "tea party" in the basement children's section of the Putnam County Library Thursday afternoon.

They were a few of many their age present. The scene was bright and bustling as children rushed about playing with toys and computers as they waited for Professor Atom to perform. Parents followed, keeping a patient -- but watchful -- eye on their wards. At 2:56 p.m., the parents started easing their young ones from plush Babars and play telephones to form a queue at the door.

Prof. Atom is a character portrayed by Daniel Lusk, owner and founder of the Lusk Entertainment Group. As "Professor Atom," Lusk taught Putnam County children about the five senses.

"Professor Atom" holds up a senses chart, while his equpment and experiments wait to be used behind him.
In the obligatory lab coat and bow tie of any scientist, Lusk engaged his young audience with an arsenal of "inventions," -- including but not limited to the "Sniffometer," "Prof. Atom's No-Pop Solution" (for balloons), and the vision warping "Hypno-disk."

Like the best cartoons, Prof. Atom included some jokes for the parents along the way. When a boy named Hunter told him that he didn't have a job, Prof. Atom responded with: "Well, the economy's been hard on everybody. Its not your fault."

This was the last performance of Prof. Atom, as Lusk is hanging up his lab coat.

"You picked a good day to come," Lusk said, "It'll be your last chance to see it."

"I think it was awesome," Children's Librarian Cortina Ziuchkovski said. "It was a great turnout."

The Lusk Entertainment Group operates out of the Indianapolis area and has grown to include -- along with magic shows -- balloon animals, face painting, caricature art, clowns and other entertainment for parties and other events. Lusk is a registered member of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians.

The performance coincided with the sign up for "Dolly Parton's Imagination Library."

Imagination Library is a program started in 1996 by Parton and had since gone international. The program supports literacy from a young age by providing an age-appropriate book -- at no charge to families -- for children five years old and younger.

Library employees and volunteers are excited about the program and were available for registration for the program immediately after the Prof. Atom performance.

This Saturday, the library will be helping to bring the Convergence Quartet's jazz to the Greencastle Farmers' Market. The Quartet will play from 10 a.m. to noon and will be accompanied by Jennifer Herrold. Herrold will be improvising during the set to create artwork inspired by the music.

On July 13, the library will be hosting "Indiana Wild" -- a live animal show for kids and adults.

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