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Max Maven LIVE (DVD)

A master showman, prolific creator, and inspiring teacher came to Penguin for a 4-HOUR experience you'll never forget. SUPPORT LIVE MAGIC. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Price: $29.95

“I have never seen a mentalist to compare with him.” –Dai Vernon

“The most creative mind in magic.” –Orson Welles

“This man is dangerous.” –Muhammad Ali

What will he teach?

Orson Welles wrote that Max Maven has “the most creative mind in magic.” Here’s your chance to find out why.

Max Maven has performed around the world, with hundreds of television credits and over two thousand tricks, essays and articles in print. He’ll bring that knowledge and experience to Penguin Live, for a teaching session you won’t soon forget.

As you would expect, the emphasis will be on mentalism, but with ideas that can be applied to every type of magic. You’ll learn commercial, practical effects that will fool you first, and delight your audiences later. Be prepared for offbeat plots and intriguing methods, with a special emphasis on aspects of psychology and audience management.

The lecture will include material that Max has never taught before, including a cunning book test, intimate mindreading using business cards, baffling hands-off card work, and a curious use of the Internet.

Your host for this event will be the canny and insightful Michael Weber, who will discuss details with Max that address your questions, in real time.

Who is he?

This is weird stuff--and audiences love it. Max Maven's mysteries transcend linguistic and cultural boundaries: He's performed in over two dozen countries.

His full-evening one-man show, Thinking in Person, had a critically acclaimed two-month run at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, and he has headlined nightclubs across the U.S., setting house records in over half of those venues.

Max has appeared on hundreds of television and radio programs, top talkshows and variety specials, as well as acting on comedy and dramatic shows including the starring role on Count DeClues' Mystery Castle for the Fox network, and guest-starring on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and General Hospital. In 1998, Max developed and starred in a new Canadian series, The MAXimum Dimension, an offbeat educational show aimed at younger viewers, involving recreational mathematics. The 26 episodes were a popular success, placing among the top six shows on the TVO network.

Other TV credits include hosting eight network specials in Japan (performing in Japanese), and creating a pair of his own specials in Thailand. In 1994 he hosted a 12-part series for HTV in England, Something Strange with Max Maven, a talk-show exploring all aspects of the paranormal. The show set a ratings record, and led to a second series the following year. Max Mystery Show, a 13-part series, was a hit for the CTS network in Taiwan in 1995. He was the only regular on the ten-part Magiskt series for TV4 in Sweden; that show scored great ratings, and two more series followed, one for Norwegian television in early 1996, plus another for Sweden later that year. He has also appeared on shows in Finland, Scotland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Chile, and many other countries. Max is prominently featured on the 1998 PBS documentary The Art of Magic, as well as The Secret World on The Learning Channel. His television work in the year 2000 includes an appearance on Heroes of Magic on Channel 4 in Great Britain, and being the only regular guest on the Masters of Illusion series for the PAX network.

Max is particularly well known for his pioneering work in interactive broadcasting. He created the ground-breaking video Max Maven's Mindgames for MCA. His games were a regular feature on the popular Best of Magic series for the ITV network in England. His interactive work was included on The World's Greatest Magic, NBC's highest rated special of 1994, and he was the first artist booked for the 1995 edition, and brought back yet again in 1997. When Landmark Entertainment developed Caesars Magical Empire for Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, they asked Max to devise a set of interactive mysteries that take place between customers and an impish wizard, eight inches tall, who appears "holographically" behind the central bar. The wizard is named "Maximus Maven," and he bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain modern performer. Max has also devised material for the world of computer technology, creating an interactive game disk entitled Max Magic for the Philips CD-i system; in its first few months of release, it won six industry awards.

In 1999, Max was acknowledged in a special "Interactive Magic" category of the World Magic Awards, broadcast on the FoxFamily network. In 2000, he was brought back to receive the "Best Mentalist" prize. He has also received multiple awards from the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. In 1988 he was presented with the Tenkai Prize, the highest award in Japanese magic; this was the first time this honor was ever given to a foreign artist. Some years back, Max was named Lecturer of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts (Magic Castle) in Hollywood, and in 1998 he was the recipient of a Creative Fellowship from that organization.

The late Orson Welles wrote that Max Maven has "the most original mind in magic." He's published over 1700 creations in the conjuring literature, and been an advisor to over a hundred television shows. As a consultant he has worked with David Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, Doug Henning, Penn & Teller, Lance Burton, and many others. He has also directed revue shows for several major American gambling casinos.

Recently, Magic magazine, the leading intraprofessional conjuring journal, published a list of the 100 most influential people in the field of theatrical magic during the 20th century. Included on the list is Max Maven, cited for "entertaining and astonishing audiences with his bizarre brand of mental magic.... [M]ost of Maven's mind-boggling feats are accomplished through psychological subterfuge that he himself has cunningly created... If mystery does indeed give magic its meaning, then the enigmatic persona of Max Maven makes us ever mindful of the art that is hidden in the mystery of magic."

This ongoing exploration of the mysterious side of human nature led to Max Maven's Book of Fortunetelling, published by Prentice Hall in late 1992. He is a Senior Research Consultant to the Center for Scientific Anomalies Research in Michigan, and on the Board of Advisors of the California ScienCenter in Los Angeles, where his interactive material is featured in a new exhibit, Magic: The Science of Illusion, that will tour museums across North America through 2007. Currently in bookstores you can find The Complete Idiot's Guide to Magic by Tom Ogden, and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Improving Your Memory by Michael Kurland and Richard Lupoff. Max Maven was the technical advisor for both. He has also created customized "Maximize" seminars on mental efficiency and non-verbal communication for executives and salespeople from top corporations.

Max Maven has a fascinating history. He has been a successful radio announcer, graphic designer, author, pianist, teacher, singer, actor, lecturer, screenwriter, composer, advertising consultant, and chef. He reads over 150 books and magazines each month, and this constant flow of information provides a continual stimulation of new ideas for presenting his uncanny abilities.

And now, he's coming here, to Penguin Live to share, with you, a diverse selection of delightful deceptions.

If you could ask ONE question to one of the world's most creative professional magicians, what would it be?

If you've never been to a magic lecture, there’s never been a better time. Sunday April 20th at 7:00pm, we're live-streaming Max Maven LIVE in a spectacular 2-hour interactive online lecture. Watch, ask questions and learn things you won't find in any book or DVD.

Want VIP access to EVERY FUTURE Penguin LIVE we film? Check out the new Penguin LIVE: All Access Pass!


  1. Purchase the Max Maven LIVE “product”. This is your ticket.
  2. On Sunday April 20th, anytime before 7:00pm Eastern, click the “MyPenguinMagic” area at the top of the Penguin site. You'll see the livestream appear 1 hour before showtime. At 7pm sharp, Max will hit the stage and begin his JAM-PACKED professional lecture.
  3. Sit back and watch over 2 hours of DVD-quality live streaming magic from the comfort of your own home.
  4. Ask Max questions and discuss the tricks DURING the lecture.


Reserve your seat anyway. Within 24 hours of ending, you'll be able to download and/or watch the full lecture on-demand, and go over all the great routines and subtleties as many times as you want. It’ll be waiting for you in your “MyPenguinMagic” area.

Magicians flock to see “workers” give talks. Why? Because these guys see and learn things that you won’t find in any book or DVD. Yes, you'll be learning some incredibly powerful A-material, but the INVALUABLE stuff will be the insight you learn along the way.

This lecture is for everyone, from the beginner to the professional and for magicians and mentalists alike. Don’t miss it!

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Featured Magic Tricks

Customer Reviews (showing 1 - 10 of 41)
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GREAT LECTURE Report this review
Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 26th, 2014
(This review is for Max Maven LIVE)
You're not going to find a better teacher than Max. He explains things thoroughly, he's interesting, funny, charismatic, and very entertaining. You will use some of the effects Max teaches AND you will learn a lot from his thought process and conversation with Michael Weber. This is one of the best Penguin lectures.

I have to address another review...

The review calls Q & AVM confusing and says the directions were hard for the spectators to understand. The "AVM" in the effect's title stands for Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral. The idea is that objects fall into one of three general categories/kingdoms: Animal (if it is alive), Vegetable (if it grows), or Mineral (if it isn't alive, doesn't grow and comes from the ground).

Spectators are given a card with the name of an object and Max guesses the object after being told if it is an Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral.

So, if you were given a card that said, "Steel" and were asked if it fell into the general category of Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral, you would say.... Mineral, right? "Goat" would be... Animal. And here's the one that caused problems... "Rose". Rose is in the Vegetable category. For some bizarre reason, Patrick Redford thought it was a Mineral. He mentioned that there is a Rose Quartz. Yeah, but the card doesn't say Rose Quartz. By that "logic" you could say it's an Animal because there's an actress named Rose McGowan.

Also, about the book test... The first spectator didn't work out.

Max said, "I'm going to send you back to your seat with my thanks", shook his hand, and when the spectator apologized, Max said that there was nothing to apologize about. After the effect, Max talks about letting the first spectator go and says, "I did so in a way that I hope didn't make you feel bad or embarrassed". And somehow another reviewer says Max was "rude"?

The effect works perfectly with the second spectator. I thought it was interesting to watch Max handle the entire situation. Things don't always go smoothly for me, it was nice to see how a pro handles tough situations.

Time: 4 hours 5 minutes

The Four Places
Ghostwriter 2
Four-sided Triangle
Fearless (Book test)
Numberskull (Similar to ACAAN)
The Grid of Life
28 of 29 magicians found this helpful.
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"A thing of terrifying beauty” Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 25th, 2014
(This review is for Max Maven LIVE)
Four Sided Triangle, it has got to be the best mentalism script I've ever seen. Not a wasted word. It has Mystery and the effect is awesome. (No electronics involved) Nothing but an envelope with a prediction, a pack of cards and of course the perfect script. In the past 40 years I've spent well over $300,000 on my art. If I had it to do all over again, I would buy this lecture, and a house.
25 of 26 magicians found this helpful.
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Some Value, but... Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 23rd, 2014
(This review is for Max Maven LIVE)
Max Maven is a famous top tier pro with enormous experience, but I doubt this was his A-level material. There are only three effects that I may use to some degree: 1)Four Sided Triangle, 2)Fearless Book Test, and 3)The Answer to Life the Universe and Everything. The four ace routine was overly complicated compared to other methods that achieve the same effect. Ghostwriter II is not clean (i.e., cannot be examined and prone to exposure). Numberskull, Maven's ACAAN effect, uses a difficult to make gimmick deck.Even Maven stated he thought no one would perform it (due to the difficulty of making the gimmick deck). This raises the question, why present an effect that you think your workshop attendees will likely not use or perform? I don't think Maven's Q&AVM hits hard enough and the presentation was confusing. About the worst thing you can do is blame a volunteer for an effect going wrong and that is how Maven's interaction with Patrick Redford came off during the Q&AVM effect. Redford is a fine magician/mentalist.If he has a problem with following directions, then the routine needs work. Maven also had problems with the first Fearless Book Test volunteer and had to replace the first volunteer with another. This raises questions about audience management and preparing for multiple outs. Dismissing the first volunteer was rude, and I think Maven could have made it work using a more finesse. In fairness, Max Maven did provide a lot of tips and interesting anecdotes. However, this was a four hour lecture and I think there could have been more and better magic/mentalism performed and explained. None of the effects that Maven performed came off as top tier material.
31 of 47 magicians found this helpful.
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Painful To Watch Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on February 21st, 2015
(This review is for Max Maven LIVE)
I've seen Max perform and lecture from the time he was Phil Goldstein. His material, knowledge and performances were nothing short of amazing. However this lecture came up short. He talked about a lot of interesting stuff but didn't elaborate. The effects mostly required special decks or props that aren't easily available.
The videomind series he put out has material that almost every performer could use, no matter what your skill level. And it is a great investment. So if you want to find practical effects and learn some of Max's great mentalism that's where I spend my money. I've bought 10 lecture's here and have watched a few more than once, this one I couldn't wait to end.
14 of 15 magicians found this helpful.
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Lacking in many ways Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on December 14th, 2015
(This review is for Max Maven LIVE)
I decided to download this lecturing expecting it to be a sure fire lecture from one of mentalism's classic artists. Unfortunately I was rather disappointed. Personality aside, I found it wasn't entertaining and I was surprised that Max would put together a lecture like this. The techniques used in the effects are far to contrived for most performers and his book test was simply put a failure. It goes to show that hit and miss effects like this give hit and miss performances. I am surprised he didn't have a better out when it went wrong being a world renowned professional. You cannot blame your spectator no matter what happens, it doesn't wash. He is, however, a great magic historian and you can learn a lot of magic history from watching Max. His equivoque DVD Multiplicity is exceptional but I wouldn't recommend this lecture.
8 of 9 magicians found this helpful.
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good but not the best Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 23rd, 2014
(This review is for Max Maven LIVE)
this lecture had some stuff that i'll use, four-sided triangle, a cool book test i'll try, and a lot of tips about performing that were useful but overall it was not one of my favorite lectures. I subscribe to the all-access pass and have seen a good number of lectures and this one I feel could have had a little more. he even taught an effect that he admitted that no one will ever do. I also got annoyed at how often he kept referencing an honest mistake made by a participant in one trick, it kind of made him look like a jerk. I still think the lecture was worth watching and I'm excited to do four-sided triangle but like I said, it was good but not the best
8 of 9 magicians found this helpful.
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Designer Brands Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on November 23rd, 2014
(This review is for Max Maven LIVE)
I'm surprised by the 5 star rating. I love Max's material, and it was a pleasure to see him perform. I don't feel ripped off paying for this, not in the least. However, there's maybe one effect that I feel I would personally use. People are either riding a bandwagon or they haven't checked out his A+ material. Look into Multiplicity. It's much better.
6 of 7 magicians found this helpful.
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Four Sided Triangle Report this review
Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on May 11th, 2014
(This review is for Max Maven LIVE)
He makes you wait! The first effect he performs is not explained until the end of the lecture (sneaky). While some might say that Ghostwriter is not workable because it is not fully examinable, why would anyone want to examine the cards anyway? I think audience management is a big thing in this lecture. And it goes well with the multiple outs theory: aka have a backup plan to the backup plan.

I have Max's Four Sided Triangle from some of his previous work. After seeing his work on the classic force in the lecture, I realized that, in terms of cleanly forcing a card, I myself would use a one-way force deck (with presentation ideas found in Peter Turner's live lecture).

The book test presentation was very interesting and his subtleties and performance tips are priceless.

Bottom line, you will definitely find something in this lecture that you can perform TODAY. The best mentalism is simple and straightforward and Max Maven delivers. Highly recommended.
5 of 5 magicians found this helpful.
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Great Lecture Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on May 1st, 2014
(This review is for Max Maven LIVE)
That was one of the best Penguin Lectures. Max Maven is a true legend and he gave amazing advice, tips, effects and knowledge. The discussion was very valuable.
It was a lecture that despite the four hours of valuable information, when it finished i wanted even more!!
We need another Max Maven Live!!!

3 of 3 magicians found this helpful.
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Four Hours of Mind-Melting Bliss Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 30th, 2014
(This review is for Max Maven LIVE)
Max Maven lecturing and being interviewed by Michael Weber --- life is good. I've read certain negative comments in other reviews here and couldn't disagree more. To me, Penguin's lecture series is already one of the very best values in magic and mentalism...and in this one, Max has completely raised the bar. I defy you to watch this and not come away with some flat-out killer new material and critical insights that will positively impact your performances. This is a must-watch for professional mentalists, weekend hobbyists, aficionados of the art form and everything in between. Highly, highly recommended --- period.
3 of 5 magicians found this helpful.
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