Master manipulator of magic stuns

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Jamie Kim news editor

Some performers look at their sold-out arenas, filled with screaming, dancing fans. Other performers define their success with the polar opposite: a silent, enraptured crowd. Freshman Jonah Okum is of the latter.

Okum began to foster his interest in magic four years ago when his grandfather showed him a card trick, but left Okum to figure out how it was done. Since then, he has built his passion for magic’s games.

“My favorite part about magic is people’s reactions. I like being able to kind of mess with people’s minds because it’s just a cool feeling to know that you’re in control of what they’re thinking, because they have no one else that knows about it except for what I’m doing. So, they can’t ask anyone really what I do because, probably, no one else knows what I am doing,” Okum said.

When he first started, he taught himself by watching YouTube videos. Now, with his expertise, he can develop his own tricks.

“Because I have a lot of background, I come up with my own things, usually now. Or, I just watch someone else do something, and I make my own idea using those kinds of techniques. But, I learn most of my tricks over the summer because I go to a one-week camp in Pennsylvania just devote to magic for magicians, called Tannen’s Magic Camp,” Okum said.

His ideas for magic tricks come naturally to him, as if it were instincts.

“It usually takes me about 20 minutes to come up with a general idea. Then, every time I do it, maybe I’ll take a deck of cards out, I just mess with the cards for maybe 10 minutes a day,” Okum said. “Over time, after 10 minutes a day and 10 minutes a day, I could figure out something cool.”

Additionally, Okum is a junior magician at the Magic Castle, where he can further hone his skills.

“Every month, I go to the Magic Castle, and there is this club of magicians under the age of 21; most are from around Los Angeles, but some come from New York. When we meet, we show each other some of our tricks, and we can try them out at the Magic Castle and practice them,” he said.

Additionally, he founded and currently leads the on-campus Magic Club.

“The Magic Club is a fun club. People come and watch. I try to teach, but that’s kind of hard,” he said.

Despite his deep interest in magic, Okum acknowledged that most likely, this hobby would remain a pastime.

“Being a magician is more of a hobby right now; it’s not what I’m mainly focusing on,” Okum said. “So for right now, it’s a hobby. But maybe if something happens later, I’ll pursue it, but it’ll probably be a hobby for me.”

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