Quan is not only aiming for the reality competition’s $1 million prize, but also hopes the show will help him become a world-known performer.
His passion for magic started when he was 6 years old and saw David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear.
“After that I guess I got bit by the magic bug,” Quan said.
He was soon asking his family to buy him magic tricks, reading books on the art and started performing for whoever wanted to watch, even charging for the shows.
Growing up in Queens, where he lived in Jackson Heights most of his life, magic was just a hobby for Quan.
Following college, the art major had several jobs, but “nothing made me totally happy but performing,” he said.
Quan then took to the streets to sell magic tricks out of a backpack and perform. He later moved the operation to his parent’s home, where people would also come to learn from him.
But Quan knew he needed a proper space and in 2000 found a Rego Park bookstore that had a counter he could use for his burgeoning business. After seven months, the store had to close down, and he decided it was time for his own store. But it wasn’t easy to find someone who would rent to a young man with a magic shop.
He eventually found an affordable space at his current location at 85-08 Queens Blvd., and opened his store in August 2000.
“I was like the king of Queens,” Quan said, describing his business when it first started.
With the Internet and competition from other stores, business is much tougher for his magic shop today, he admits.
“As technology progresses people have seen the bigger things in the world, and magic is pushed aside. It is hard to really impress people nowadays.”
In addition to selling magic tricks, magic performance DVDs, spy equipment and costumes, his store also provides magic classes, entertainers for hire, and has magic and comedy shows. But he is now trying to transition the business into more of a magic school.
He also has another venture, the Rogue Magic Bar, which opened inside of Panda Asian Bistro in Rego Park this March. The bar, which is about “bringing Vegas to Queens,” features magically-served drinks, magic shows and other entertainment.
As Quan tries to promote his businesses, he is trying to boost his magic career, and “America’s Got Talent” could be his way to do it.
Friends and family were telling him to try out for the show for a long time, but a tweet from the show, saying they were looking for unique talent like him, finally persuaded him to go for it.
“I’m not a very competitive person,” he said.
Quan does everything from close-up to stage magic, including card tricks and illusions with levitation, but excels at magic that has an element of danger to it, which he performed for “America’s Got Talent” judges Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern.
“I really enjoy the danger magic because of the way people react. It’s priceless,” Quan said.
Quan is not the first Queens resident to appear on “America’s Got Talent” this season.
To see how Quan did on the July 1 episode of “America’s Got Talent,” click here.