Giovanni Lavera is a Legend in the magic underground. Anyone who witnesses his performance will admit the man is a class act. He fools you consistently, but you don’t mind because his warm Cheshire cat smile completely disarms you and pulls you into his world only to return you safely at the end. He is a sparkling example of what every magician should strive to be. When observing his magic there is no ego, no insults to your intelligence, or vanity, there is only an adventure for your mind that he orchestrates.
Salt and silver is a delicious sample from the menu of this master chef of Legerdemain. The DVD is like a dream that you can repeat. With an ambient piano score creating a dream like state, Giovanni gives you the inside scoop on an award winning routine. As part of the act that won him the Gold Cups, Salt and silver is a multi-phased dance of misdirection, sound, and magic. Inspired by the Legendary Albert Goshman‘s coins under salt shaker routine. Gio has certainly taken this to the next level. On a theoretical note an effect like this always runs the danger of becoming a challenge to your audience; this can cause a catch me if you can type of vibe which from my experience is less that desirable. Gio has made it less a game of cat and mouse between you and your spectators, and more an assault on your senses. The routine is for the most part a silent piece making it perfect for a musical performance. Gio’s presentation creates the impression that he is just a surprised as you are by the things that are happening. The routine follows classic theatrics, occurring in 3 acts (or phases as they are referred to in the Scene selection of the DVD menu) and a strong finale. In an effort not to ruin the impact, the phases will not be described here, but suffice it to say it’s hard to tell where the coins are going to end up. Gio’s use of framing and misdirection are extremely compelling. Even after multiple viewing I still find myself being reeled in by his hypnotic misdirection. There are 3 inspiring performances of the routine on the DVD; one for you at home, another for a seated 2 set, and a third for a parlor group at world famous “Magic Castle”. So for those of you who buy DVDs for the performances, your cup is sure to be filled.
If you are a student of Sleight of Hand have no fear. There is plenty here to push and challenge you so that your chops will become stronger. But more over dexterity you will get some wonderful theatrical training. You will learn framing and body turning. Some wonderful blocking technique is covered as well. The lessons taught on misdirection, will follow you into other routines that you may be performing and mold you into a much more elusive performer. The use of pausing to create tension that is apparent in the performances will help you create stronger moments for your audiences. Timing and rhythm and so on will all be sharpened by a study of this work. This is most definitely a worthy addition to any serious student’s library.
To close I would like to say that as magicians it is our responsibility to perpetuate the art, to move it in positive directions. Giovanni has just dropped a precious pebble into the sea of magic that is being released, and I can only assume that the rings this pebble will inspire will create a title wave that will engulf the magic world and make it a better place. To Giovanni Livera and The Magic Estate, Thank you for this New Year’s gift.