“Rogue” Magician Seeks Community
To Roger “Rogue” Quan, magic is much more than simple card tricks. On an unassuming block on Queens Boulevard he has created a refuge where magicians and enthusiasts can perform, browse, play or purchase magic. With April Fools’ Day this week, Rogue Fun Shop was bustling with customers searching for everything from exploding pens to candy that can make you vomit.
“I’ve had world-class magicians from Italy, France, Germany grace my stage and I’ve had all kinds of talent, from stand-up comedians to rappers,” says Quan. But sometimes the shows are too much for some people to handle.
“I’ve had a person in the audience poop themselves, literally, and left immediately after she volunteered to help a magician on stage. The entire theatre smelled so bad, some people almost vomited!”
Apart from the interesting group of people who frequent Rogue Fun Shop, the most enticing person there is in fact the owner, Quan, whose charm, charisma and passion has brought him a long way from selling tricks from his backpack and performing for anyone who was willing to watch.
His love affair with magic began when he saw David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear at 6 years old. He was curious. Determined to replicate it, he immediately went to the library and took out every book about magic and explored every magic shop he could.
“I had all kinds of jobs, from Burger King to public relations in the fashion industry, but I always went back to my first love, the art of magic,” Quan said while contently fiddling with his wallet that ignites every time you open and close it. For him, magic is about the reactions he gets from people when he performs. “Sometimes I see some pretty depressed people on the train/bus and I show them some magic and immediately their face lights up.”
This is why he created “Evenings of Wonder,” which takes place every Saturday from 9–11 p.m. and features some of the top entertainers in NYC and around the world. Criss Angel, David Copperfield’s assistants, mentalist Max Maven and many others have been both performers and guests. Hosting these events has exposed him to possibly the quirkiest people out there.
One individual stands out in particular, and even while talking about him Quan’s demeanor changed from cheery to slightly uncomfortable.
About seven years ago a man walked through the doors, claiming he was a psychic, and according to Quan, immediately “reeked of weirdness.”
“He said he was frozen for about 40 years and that he was over a hundred years old. He wasn’t even joking! He was dead serious.” Quan invited him to perform that week but decided that after that he would never again. “He took out this female ventriloquist dummy and started dancing with it like it was his girlfriend. Everyone in the audience was really weirded out... what a character!” he said with the most bemused expression.
In addition to hosting these events, Quan is often faced with the most outlandish requests from both magicians and laymen. People have asked for ways to become invisible, to transport from one place to another, the ability to put spells on people and even the devil’s Bible. But he never looks at them as if they are crazy. Instead he indulges them with a trade secret or shows them more realistic, yet magical alternatives to their demands.
His overall vision is to create a community of magicians and entertainers, a club where talent is bred and entertainers are created, which makes his position as a mentor to kids in his community who have lost their way an apt one.
“Devonte, a master magician now, who [I] met about nine years ago, came to the store when he was about 14 and a member of the gang the Bloods.” After convincing him he could use magic to do more with his life, Quan said proudly, “He’s been honing his craft and now has his own entertainment company and travels around the world doing magic for underprivileged kids under the guidance of the Magicians without Borders program.”
On April 30, Quan is hosting a special six-hour event to raise money for Japan. He has previously held two successful events to raise money and awareness for those effected by the Asian tsunami and the Haitian earthquake.