Showgirls, eye-catching outfits and the stunning magic of Penn and Teller are things synonymous with the glitzy persona of Las Vegas, a city of sin almost 3,000 miles away.
Those mysterious aspects of Las Vegas that make it one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the country are exactly what magician Rogue hopes to use to draw people from all over the city to his newly opened magic bar and theater in Rego Park.
“My tagline is ‘Bring Vegas to Queens,’” Rogue said. “We’re going to have the showgirls and dancers. We’re going to have the magic show and a variety show. We’re going to have the food, the drinks, dÈcor and the celebrity magicians.”
The thump of the sound system, buzz of the gathering crowd and scandalous dress of the bartenders-turned-dancers made for an atmosphere of intrigue at the grand opening of Rogue Magic Bar and Theater at 95-25 Queens Blvd., just as the cozy magic theater should be.
It is a magician’s dream to have his own theater and it’s something that Rogue has imagined ever since he was a child.
“I was 6 years old and I saw David Copperfield on TV make the Statue of Liberty disappear and something hit me,” Rogue said. “I bought books from the library. I begged my parents to buy me magic sets. And it just took off from there.”
There were no disappearing landmarks on the theater’s small stage, but some of the tricks were equally as entertaining.
Charismatic Astoria-born magician Miles Thorn opened the show with a short set, including a sleight-of-hand CD trick and repairing a newspaper he seemingly tore into pieces, before juggling three machetes while balanced on a board balanced on a thin pipe.
Thorn, one of the subjects of a 2012 documentary called “Magic Men,” tracing his path from being a drug-addicted teenager to one the area’s best magicians, described his act as being “elegant with an edge.” However, don’t expect him to do card tricks at a bar.
“To tell you the truth, I don’t do magic for people I’m hanging out with,” Thorn said. “Magic is something that should be special. I don’t show magic outside of when I perform unless I’m put on the spot.”
A group of three scandalously dressed bartenders called the Mixens, led by Rogue’s fiancee and theater co-owner, Paulina Gonzalez, performed a rough dance routine before the owner himself took the stage.
After wowing the crowd with an arm contortion trick, he brought a member of the crowd onstage to help him perform a less-deadly form of Russian roulette with staple guns.
He filled one of the four guns with staples and put the devices to his temple one by one after the nervous spectator shuffled them in a large bag, drawing applause when none of the first three guns delivered a staple to the scalp.
Captain Faust, the night’s featured entertainer, performed a lengthy set to cap off the theater’s grand opening.
The former hard rock musician even included disappearing animals and floating wands into his routine, drawing gasps from the audience as the night ended.
Faust said he was thrilled to be invited to perform at Rogue’s opening, and the reason he accepted was to honor his friend’s grand vision of bringing Las Vegas to Queens every week.
“I’ve known him for a long time, he’s a great guy,” Faust said. “He’s the American story, no doubt."
The story has been amended to name Paulina Gonzalez as a co-owner of Rogue Magic Bar and Theater. Also, the located of the venue has been corrected to Rego Park, not Elmhurst.