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> MAXX EAST 2018: Newark: June 29-30, 2018

Worth the cost Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on July 3rd, 2018
Penguin MAXX is a vast improvement over last year's Expo, and though the location was a bit inconvenient for me (It was *just* far enough away that I had to really debate between booking a hotel room or returning home between the two days), it was ultimately worth the time and expense.

Pros:
- fun show
- excellent lectures
- friendly people (staff as well as attendees)
- though I initially balked at the cost (and took advantage of a discount), this event is actually worth the full price

Cons:
- The opening night show started half an hour late, and that delay cascaded into the lectures that followed, which were already scheduled to run late.
- The gift bag was good, but not worth anywhere near the amount advertised.

Ideas for Future Events:
- Don't advertise the gift bag; let it be a surprise bonus. The event itself is worth the money. If anybody was convinced to purchase based on the value of the gift bag, that person was disappointed.
- List the topics of the Pro Tip sessions on the schedule. I think this can result in a more engaged audience. (I also didn't show up to the first few because I slept in due to the previous late night, but I might have attended if I knew they were on a topic I had a particular interest in.)
- Send schedule changes out via email to the registrants. Though the change was announced at the venue, I imagine some people missed part of Diamond Jim's lecture because they didn't arrive until the originally scheduled time.
- The lobby between the lecture and dealer rooms was largely wasted space. Maybe the tables that came out at the end could always be there? Host informal workshops on basic card and coin sleights?
- (This is my personal wish.) A lecture that focuses on scripting, character building, or other theatrical aspects of performance, rather than just tricks. In fact, I would like to see a lecture that only teaches one trick, and spends the rest of the time exploring different ways to present it.

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cpnich
Jul 07th 2018 10:16am
Good review. Yeah, the delayed start time of the first evening was a bit annoying, as it pushed the end of the last lecture to about 12:30 a.m. I had a long drive from Virginia and was definitely zoning once the clock ticked past midnight.

I like your suggestion about the "surprise" gift bag. If I didn't know it was coming, I'd have thought, "Very cool, thanks so much!" But instead with it's prominent advertising, my response was "This is my $80 gift bag?" (For the record, it contained a pack of Penguin marked cards, which I will definitely use. A $10 voucher for any Penguin product in the dealer's room, which I did use, and an ungimmicked deck of cards, a copy of the Penguin tabloid magazine, and some promotional sample DVDs, which I may or may not use.) I'm not sure where the $80 figure came from, but by putting a specific value on the gift bag, Penguin was setting themselves up for a let-down.

Something that was of great value that wasn't greatly advertised was the Gala Show. Perhaps Penguin might want to sell $35 tickets for just the Gala show. While I don't think a lot of people would come just for that, it would put a tangible price on a portion of the event that I think was undervalued.

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