Magician streams live benefit show to combat Fairfax County homelessness

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Joel Meyers' magic show (Part 1)

His greatest trick might be making homelessness disappear in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Magician Joel Meyers performs virtually Saturday to benefit the nonprofit FACETS.

“My wife’s mother is from Fairfax County originally,” Meyers told WTOP. “As soon as the pandemic hit … my agents and I put our heads together and said, ‘How are we going to switch my live tour?’ We immediately started doing virtual shows.”

Filming at a studio in Florida, he has adapted his magic tricks for the virtual realm.

“What’s really cool is it’s really interactive,” Meyers said. “I bring people in while I’m reading people’s minds or literally having someone take a deck of cards from their own house and I reach through the screen and pull the playing card out. They basically hold the playing card above their screen and drop it and then I catch it from my side.”

Which other magic tricks might we see?

“I read somebody’s mind and the name appears in a really cool, magical way,” Meyers said. “I do something … with a nail, a spike, you put it in a bag, you mix it around and you have an audience member tell me which bag to slam. I slam my hand down on the bags, eliminating the bags until the very end. Hopefully, the nail is in the last bag!”

Meyers first fell in love with magic as a kid growing up in Missouri.

“When I was about 6 years old, I started performing little magic tricks that my dad showed me,” Meyers said. “My dad always made sure I was doing creative things. He never let me watch a lot of television or play video games, so magic was always the thing that stuck with me. I always say I didn’t get into magic, magic got into me.”

He perfected his craft to the point of performing on national television.

“The first TV show I ever did was ‘Wizard Wars’ on the SyFy channel,” Meyers said. “That led to “Penn & Teller: Fool Us.” … That led to ‘America’s Got Talent,’ and now I star every summer on a show called ‘Masters of Illusion on the CW Network.”

Last year, he was named Magician of the Year by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities thanks to his robust college touring schedule, now also virtual.

“It was very exciting,” Meyers said. “I’m doing 20 college shows in the next 20 days.”

Now, you can see him for free, but donations are encouraged to support FACETS.

“This is an amazing cause,” Meyers said. “FACETS is just a great nonprofit that helps people suffering from poverty. … With COVID, the need has grown big time. FACETS and its volunteers have been working tirelessly to feed and house people and help kids living in some of the largest subsidized housing communities adapt to online learning.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Joel Meyers' magic show (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

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