Pick a card, any card.
Well, not the Ace of Spades. Or the Queen of Hearts. Those are lame.
Think of something atypical/arbitrary/abstruse. One nobody could possibly guess. Do you have it? OK, good.
Next time you see local magician Jonathan Bayme, he’ll be able to name it for you.
Jonathan knew he was a magician when he was five years old, when he saw David Copperfield at Gaillard Auditorium. He still remembers every detail. Twenty-two years later, he writes and creates magic with Copperfield, who is now his mentor, collaborator and friend.
Like his guru, Jonathan is naturally talented and, self-admittedly, obsessed with magic.
“Being a magician gives me an infinite attraction to anything that can’t be explained,” Jonathan says. “When you see a great trick, it inspires you to wonder ‘How?’ It inspires the idea that the impossible is not only possible but within our grasp. Magic is powerful.”
Magic is also negatively stereotyped. You may think of childhood birthday parties with bunnies being pulled out of hats, or hokey Houdini-types, or Job Bluth from Arrested Development. It’s not only Jonathan’s deep-seated goal to inspire fascination, but to turn that cliché around by demonstrating that magic can be intellectual, progressive and exciting.
“Some people regard magic better than mimes and maybe an inch above unicycles,” Jonathan says. “With respect to both, magic has so much more power to it than that. Magic makes people dream, imagine and believe.”
For a city with a lot to offer, Charleston was missing the magic. So, out of thin air, Jonathan coded, designed and developed theory11, his online forum for magicians to connect, share and learn. Think of it as iTunes for magic. It was through theory11 and their shared loved of all things mysterious that Jonathan connected with Lost’s J.J. Abrams. Together they co-developed The Mystery Box.
For the last decade, Jonathan has been behind the scenes helping magic evolve. As long as science, physics or society say something can’t be done, Jonathan and his peers will envision a way to make it possible. He has come a long way since his first sold-out, 500-person performance at the Garden Theatre (now Urban Outfitters) when he was thirteen.
“I had absolutely no idea what I was doing,” Jonathan jokes. “But I knew that I needed to do something and that I needed to start somewhere.”
And to anyone who was at that show, Jonathan would like to express his apologies.
Words by: Jessica Kenny
Photography by: Karson Photography