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stuartp

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Reply with quote  #1 

REVIEW: The Pennies by Giovanni Livera 
RATING: 5 out of 5 stars!

FULL REVIEW: This DVD is exciting and a prime example of how a performer can make a routine amazing. Giovanni is the lively performer that turns what I would have expected to be a mediocre routine into a brisk and stimulating experience. Who would have thought that you can have 5-10 minutes of crescendo building fun with just a roll of pennies (50 cents) and a table. What is most amazing about the way this routine is presented is it takes a sleight-less almost self-working math puzzle and makes it into a mind boggling magic trick.

In The Pennies, Livera drops numerous pennies on a table and arranges them into four rows that create a square shape. Four spectators are given a row to keep track of and announce how many pennies they have in their row. Another spectator is given the job of being the bank and hold several pennies and another spectator is given the job of being an inspector to make sure that no coins are surreptitiously removed from the table. Then, the bank drops a penny onto any one of the piles in any one of the rows. After Livera moves the pennies back and forth, one at a time, all the row custodians still have 10 pennies and no pennies are removed. No matter how many pennies are dropped into the square, the number never increases. At the end, the bank has 10 pennies and each spectator still has 10 pennies, despite the addition of numerous pennies. if this sounds somewhat bland, trust me, it is anything but. It is great.

This routine can entertain 6 people or a whole room full of people. Livera even suggested that he performed this for a few hundred people and it was a great success. There are no gimmicks needed and this routine can be performed being totally surrounded. No pennies are stolen off of the table at any point and yet the added pennies seem to dissolve into the air. At the end, Livera asks... "Did this even happen?"

Some people will be able to perform this routine immediately watching the DVD. Others may have to practice a bit, but the spacial thoughts related to this trick are easy to master.

The quality of the DVD is excellent and the teaching is top-notch. The ad copy is accurate. Livera has so much enthusiasm for this routine and challenges the viewer to think what else can be performed with added zeal. What else can be taken from ordinary to extraordinary. The DVD starts off with a live performance, with real people so you can see just exactly how powerful this routine is and can be.

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Claudio

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Reply with quote  #2 
Thank for the review Stuart.

I've noticed you've reviewed this DVD on the MC and some other magic forums and that the reaction was underwhelming, as in no reaction.

It may be because trying to turn a well-known puzzle (to magicians) where you have to keep counting coins into a commercial effect worth presenting is a very difficult task and I am not sure that even Giovanni, in spite of all his charisma and proficiency, manages to pull it off. The audience's overacted behaviour showed on the video are to be taken with a pinch of salt:



BTW: Have you presented the effect yourself?
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #3 
I may have already posted this?? 

It's a video of Jim Ryan showing the pennies trick to Dai Vernon in 1987s.

It's cool but you really have to sell it to make it seem impossible and interesting. The method is pretty easy to figure out.

Here's the link: 


Mike
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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #4 
Didn't someone market a version with gemstones a few years back?

My first introduction to this type of effect was in one of Larry  Becker's early books (possibly World of Super Mentalism vol.1) though he used piles of cards in triangular layout. He might have called it Pyramid Power. I recall when I first performed that for lay people I had an audio tape playing sounds of a busy archaeological dig which I think I' d copied from "The Exorcist" movie soundtrack. It wasn't in the repertoire long. 

Giovanni's enthusiasm does seem to infect his audience and I like the way he has added more audience interaction. 

As for the puzzle, there's a version in "The Secret Out" published in the late 1800's with cards that represent bottles of wine in a monastery wine cellar that are being stolen. [smile] 


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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #5 
The Giovanni trailer also provides heavy music to affect how we feel. It definitely works. I'm sure he sells the hell out of it with just the force of his personality but that music really enhances the sell. The same thing happens with promos for effects where the magi is "on the street." The reaction shots, music, close ups etc really are hard core advertising techniques. Magic has really become a business in the last 10 or more years. In "the old days" there weren't videos at all, let alone youtube, vimeo et al.

It will take a Giovanni type presentation using tremendous enthusiasm to make this a miracle instead of a puzzle.

When Jim Ryan does it, it's just a puzzle as far as I can see. Giovanni could sell me the Eiffel Tower.

Mike
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stuartp

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Reply with quote  #6 
Most of the time people just read the reviews and sometimes they get hundreds of reads.  It doesn't really bother me that the reviews don't get much reaction.  Sometimes people just say thanks you, sometimes they indicate that they agree and sometimes (although rarely) they totally disagree -- usually emphatically.  I think the Pennies is a great and fun effect that must be only performed with the right audience, in the right mood, in the right setting. I have performed it a few times in personal social situations and it was enjoyed, but only because I picked my moments carefully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claudio
Thank for the review Stuart.

I've noticed you've reviewed this DVD on the MC and some other magic forums and that the reaction was underwhelming, as in no reaction.

It may be because trying to turn a well-known puzzle (to magicians) where you have to keep counting coins into a commercial effect worth presenting is a very difficult task and I am not sure that even Giovanni, in spite of all his charisma and proficiency, manages to pull it off. The audience's overacted behaviour showed on the video are to be taken with a pinch of salt:



BTW: Have you presented the effect yourself?
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #7 
Pattrick Przysiecki used to market a version of this with a mat representing a soccer field and a collection of tiny soccer balls.  I remember he had a very entertaining presentation involving players being sent off the field for penalties.

I've also seen "Bermuda Triangle" versions.
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