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After majoring in art and minoring in English in college, the Forest Hills resident did a stint as a computer-assisted graphic designer.

“But I was never happy,” he said. And so, he spent more time on...

By James DeWeese

Roger Quan was always getting into trouble at work.

After majoring in art and minoring in English in college, the Forest Hills resident did a stint as a computer-assisted graphic designer.

“But I was never happy,” he said. And so, he spent more time on conjuring tricks than on acting professional.

“I was always doing magic at work,” said Quan, 30. It had been, after all, a lifetime hobby. “I did magic all my life.”

He quit his computer design post and got a job at a Manhattan magic shop. “In the first week, I said, ‘This is what I want to do.’”

It took a few years, but Quan is now the owner of Rogue Productions Magic and Funshop at 85-05 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst.

He started small, setting up shop in the Forest Hills apartment he shared with his wife and mother. “They put up with me for a year,” he said, after which he moved to the corner of a local book shop and finally into his own store in August 2000.

Today, thousands of gags, tricks, gifts, optical illusions, trinkets, props and a veritable library of books on magic line the walls of the recently remodeled shop from floor to ceiling.

“Our favorite item is gum that makes you fart all day,” Quan said. “Everybody asks for that.” Of course, he said, the $19.99 Airzooka, which shoots harmless balls of air up to 30 feet across a room, the quarter you can bite in half and lighted fingers are popular, as well.

But the shop is a lot more than its extensive inventory.

As if by sleight of hand, black curtains extend along tracks that run the length of the store, covering the merchandise and turning the magic shop into an impromptu theater where Rogue organizes weekend magic shows.

“Freaky Friday” night shows, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., feature tricks and humor that because of their gory nature are adults only. There are also shows on Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., and on Sundays there are matinees for families. The shows cost $7.50 for kids and $10 for adults, and some big wigs have graced the stage.

Quan also organizes monthly lectures that tap well-known magicians — world famous mentalist and magician Carlos Sasso is next in the lineup — to share their knowledge with the store’s customers.

Stuart Levy, a veteran magician and illusion performer who has worked on many films, headed up renovations at the store, including the curtains, that started earlier this year.

Levy will perform at the store’s reopening celebration this weekend with a pyrotechnics act. “That’ll bring the fire marshal,” Levy said.

Levy met Quan after noticing the store as he was rollerblading down Queens Boulevard.

“It’s not possible for me to go by a magic shop without going in,” said Levy, who has performed more than 2,000 live shows in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. He is also a store manager.

Customers get an in-depth, personal explanation of the magic tricks they purchase from the store’s well-versed staff, Quan said.

“I would describe it as a cool place to hang out,” said Anthony Santiago, a 16-year-old Howard Beach customer-turned-volunteer shop assistant and stage performer. “If you can’t perfect (a trick), they can help.”

He made his debut on the club’s stage a few months ago.

“My parents love that I’m here,” said Santiago, who added that the store keeps him off the street, out of trouble and in a creative environment.

The store is open every day except Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays the store closes at midnight. For more information call the store at 718-505-0316, or check out the Web site at www.roguefunshop.com.

Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

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