Hang in there, we'll get you back up and running, even if it means replacing some parts.
First, when you say nothing works anymore, did you try going back to connecting one at a time? I'd recommend double checking the connections between the Arduino pins and the pins on the actual MAX7221s, just to make sure the ribbon cable isn't messed up. The acrylic can get a little bit in the way, but since all but one of the signals go to both chips, you can check the outside of one chip and the outside of the other and be reasonably sure everything is right.
Grab a multimeter and set it to resistance so you can see if there's a connection between two points (0 ohms). Be sure to leave the power off.
Take a look at the pinout for the MAX7221 in its spec sheet
Double check that:
-Max7221.pin1 <--> Arduino.pin11
-Max7221.pin4 and Max7221.pin9 <--> Arduino.ground
-Max7221.pin12 <--> Arduino.pin2
-Max7221.pin13 <--> Arduino.pin13
-Max7221.pin19 <--> Arduino.5V
Assuming all those check out, turn the power on and check to make sure Max7221.pin18 is close to 5V. It it's less than 4.6 or so and no LEDs are on, chances are something is shorted or burnt.
Also, when everything is on (again only with one Stribe1), check the voltage on the analog pin on the Arduino... make sure that matches what the software is reading. You might also check continuity between the center pin of the SoftPot touch strip and the analog pin on the Arduino.
Just to be sure, it might not be a bad idea to disconnect all the wires from the Stribe1 and just run the Arduino with the software. You should see the analog values wiggle around when you get your finger close to the analog pins.
Last question for now, did you buy fully assembled or kits?