Jews and stuff! My name is Max Leibowitz. For the foreseeable future, I will be your Arts and Culture Columnist here at TC Jewfolk. Some of you may have read my recent feature on “Who the Folk?!,” and while that did offer some helpful insights, I wanted to officially introduce myself as your resident A&C C. In order to give you some insights into why I’ so excited for this job, I’m happy to share selected portions of my application letter:
I am Jewish. My last name should have helped you surmise this, unless you are super open-minded when it comes to last names.
I am an improv comedian / writer for the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theater, where I also teach classes and produce shows. I have a great many connections in the Twin Cities Comedy scene, as well as with other artists, actors, radio hosts, musicians, t-shirt designers, woodworkers, Parks Department employees, waitresses, Apple Store Geniuses, bus drivers, card dealers, and Scott Seekins.
I am originally from New York City, but I’ve been living in the Loring Park neighborhood of Minneapolis for six years. As a transplant from the Big to the Mini Apple, I have a unique perspective that I think lends itself to biting yet objective commentary, qualities I believe TC Jewfolk is looking for in this position.
I LOVE THE TWIN CITIES. We have one of the most cultured, fun, artistic, sarcastic, and marvelous communities in the world. Seriously. And this is coming from someone who grew up in “the greatest city in the world.” I love the food, the shows, the winters, the skyline, the beer, the lakes, and especially…
THE PEOPLE. We have some of the smartest, funniest, most interesting, most genuine people you’ll find anywhere, and it just so happens that I love to interview them, listen to them, and tell their stories.
I am not religious. But I do come from that most Jew-ey-est of cultural upbringings, New York City. Sure, I had a Bar Mitzvah and did Hannukah and Passover, but my voice comes from an upbringing colored by guilt-ridden mothers and grandmothers, awkward school dance experiences, and endless debates about just how chilly it has to be to necessitate wearing a light jacket. #mylife
Speaking of home, my mother ships me two dozen NYC bagels every three months, because there is a shared awareness that the supply here is a far cry from the real thing.
MY voice might be a little different than what TC regulars are used to. While I’ve been in MN for quite some time, I am still a New Yorker, and as such always a little bit an outsider. This is good to have in any community. I will observe with fresh, East Coast Eyes, and I promise to deliver honest opinions, suggestions, recommendations, and stories.
So there you have it. A quick little brief about me before we embark on this great journey together. Oh, and by the way, why am I called The Last Jew Standing? I don’t really know, but it became a self-ascribed social media handle a few years back. Maybe it was the feeling of being a stranger in a strange land, a transplant from far away, assimilating but trying to maintain an identity. In either case, that will be the name of this column, at least for right now. Maybe some awesome Jewish-related badass name will come about, and we’ll become better accepting change in our lives.
And PLEASE, readers, do us all a solid, and share these posts on social media. It’s pretty safe to say that your grandmother, at the very least, would enjoy most of my columns. Put it on The Googles for her! Make it your mitzvah for the day! And if you really like this stuff, definitely share it with your friends. Help this community grow!
That’s all for now, new friends! I’m going to start arts-and-culturing, and FAST! Like Juan Valdez said every morning, “Time to make the Arts and Culture!”
P.S. Most of the time, I have a good sense of stuff going on here in the TC. But if you, dear reader, want to let me know of any cool happenings that I maybe wouldn’t know about, let me know! I’m always looking to go to stuff, especially if it isn’t the traditional party, show, or restaurant. Send me on a Jewish-only rafting trip through Pequot Lakes! Or is that already a thing?