Albuquerque-based magician, mentalist and “professional weirdo” Jordan Jonas can’t remember the first magic trick he ever performed, but he is sure that, “The first trick I learned I was annoying the hell out of my entire family by trying to practice!”
Jonas has been practicing magic for two decades and has performed professionally for the last eight years or so. His act has taken him from the clubs, theaters and movie houses of Albuquerque to the stages of New Orleans, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and “all over” the U.S. In September of last year, he even performed at The Blue Room, an intimate live venue located at Third Man Records, Jack White’s record company in Nashville, Tenn.
Jonas will be launching his latest stage show back home in Albuquerque on Feb. 11 at the FUSION Forum near Downtown. “An Evening of Magick and Other Witchery” combines psychic demonstrations, mindreading and “chilling narrative to take you out of your body and create a unique experience you won’t soon forget.” Jonas himself promises to provide a performance that is “not only mystifying but also highly engaging, interactive and charming” with “just the right amount of spookiness.”
According to Jonas, “My interest in magic started when I saw David Blaine’s first TV special ‘Street Magic’ in the ’90s.” Blaine’s character as a “quaaluded modern shaman” was “very appealing and mysterious” to the budding magician. “When I saw how he was connecting with so many people from different walks of life and the way they would respond to what he performed, I immediately knew that I wanted to do the same.”
“A lot of different things inspired me to become a performer, but ultimately I think it was just a natural thing for me,” says Jonas. “Growing up I was a pretty shy and introverted kid but was always a ham at heart. Performing dissolved all of those anxieties for me and made me feel like I finally ‘fit in’ (kind of).”
Before long, Jonas was daubing on the eyeliner, teasing his hair into a black frightwig, dressing like a Goth undertaker and hitting local venues (the KiMo, Guild Cinema, Red Velvet Underground, Sister Bar, the Oddities & Curiosities Expo) to astound and confuse audiences. Jordan didn’t have to look far for inspiration when it came to his stage persona, either. “My uncle Derek was a truly gifted and talented drag queen who went under the stage name Chastity Chadwick. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to know him much as he passed due to complications with AIDS before I was grown. My grandmother would tell me stories about his performances, show me pictures of all of his amazing handmade outfits, and he really inspired me in so many ways to be creative, different and not give a shit about what others may think. My stage persona is pulled not only from him but from many other sources.” Jordan admits he has always had an appreciation for “the darker/spooky aesthetic. Even in 2nd grade, I wanted to look like Ozzy Osbourne. So for Xmas I asked for a pair of round purple sunglasses, a large crucifix necklace and black fingernail polish. But I was too afraid to paint all of my fingers, so I would just end up painting one. Needless to say I didn’t have many friends!” He also, obviously, has a love for old horror movies. “So I draw a lot of inspiration out of those as well for my stage character.”
Jonas’s interest in the mystical and the supernatural extends beyond the stage. He has also worked as a guide at the Albucreepy Ghost Walk in Old Town. Asked about his interest in both stage magic and “mentalism,” he explains: “One of my favorite magicians, Eugene Burger has a quote, ‘There are many rooms in the house of magic.’ And mentalism is one of those rooms. In short, mentalism showcases abilities of clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition and psychokinesis. It can be very spooky, engaging, intimate and very emotional for people to witness, but also if done poorly can be very boring. Magic,” on the other hand, “is a little more visual and eye candy for an audience. Both are great, it’s just up to the performer to choose which door they want to enter. My performances incorporate both mind reading and magic. Granted, over the last few years, I’ve been pursuing and leaning more into mentalism, because not only does it fit my character better, it can be a truly creepy and jaw-dropping experience for an audience. And that’s exactly what I want!”
“An Evening of Magick and other Witchery” with Jordan Jonas hits FUSION (708 First St. NW) on Sat., Feb. 11 starting at 7pm. Doors open at 6:30. Tickets are $20 and available now through FUSIONnm.org.
“It’s highly interactive and participation is encouraged,” says Jonas. Also, given its proximity to Valentine’s Day, he assures would-be audience members that, “It’s a great date-night choice for Valentine’s weekend and perfect for lovers! If people want to start making out or getting cheeky in the crowd, go for it! I won’t judge.”