Max the voice

Max the voice, blog speaking about standup comedy, was the first to recognise my talent of comedy, while we were giving our end of workshop performance, years ago, she predicted I'll do well. 

Back to her, I was invited to perform end of 2014. Here what she wrote now.

"It was just great to see the alumni from the Max Your Voice training programmes’ past – and enjoy their company and the entertainment on December 5th. A special thank you to the excellent stand up and inspirational coach Tim Dingle, the amazing singer/songwriter Andrea Black and the award winning stand up comedienne, Julie Kertesz.  Especially grateful to Julie for coming to entertain us while she’s still recovering from a fall 6 months ago.  It may have temporarily affected the use of her right leg but it has done nothing to affect her comedy timing which is as brilliant as before.  Julie Kertesz received the silver award for the best comedy newcomer when she was seventy seven. The many friendly faces and the fun we had meant a lot. " 

The only thing I changed is add 7 to the seventy she wrote. Indeed, I begun at 77 not at 70, and won the Award four month later.


So many stories to tell!

As our worries: seeming bigger then realitySo many stores to tell!

A shadow can tell you, inspire you a story.

This one inspired me also courage to go on, often. I was crushed. Felt destroyed. Mid 2013.

In the morning sun, suddenly I see this huge vase on the wall. So much bigger then the real one.

Ah! We make too much, we exaggerate our problems and worries, exactly like this does.

So what if I lost another teeth?

This year, I break my leg, had a cast, was in the hands of carers who helped and the same time made me feel in their power, treated me like I had no mind of my own. Well, it took some time, but I did take back my power and strength and even helped one of them to grow hers.


"Awesome old lady week : julie kertesz"

Awesome Old Lady of the Week: Julie Kertesz

Article by Joanne Lau

Julie Kertesz is 80-year-old grandmother of five, with a PhD in chemistry. She’s a professional storyteller, keeps an active blog and posts photos to her popular Flickr account everyday. Did we mention she’s also an award-winning stand-up comedian?  Joanne Lau spoke to this incredibly cool lady and learned it’s never too late for anything. 
julie with mic
What is your name?
Julie. My actual name’s Judith, but my mother called me Julika after an actress in Hungary she liked with a daughter of the same name.
Where were you born?
I was born in 1934 in Transylvania, a province in Romania surrounded by mountains. I liked growing up there. We lived in the biggest city, but it felt small and quiet. The Second World War was happening all round, but I didn’t know it. Then, suddenly, when I was 10, the war caught up with me. In 1944, we had to leave the city and flee the Nazis. We were a Hungarian-speaking Christian family, but of Jewish origin. We fled to Budapest. The SS were already waiting at the station, but using papers from another family, we managed to live in hiding for a year before having to flee again from the Russians. During that year I began to write a diary because my mother didn’t want me to speak to many people around me. I never stopped.
Where do you currently live?
I’ve been in London for about six years. Before that, I lived in and around Paris for 35 years. When I came to London, I felt very alone. I went to various photography meet-ups, but didn’t connect with anyone. About six months later I joined the Toastmasters clubs. I’d previously been involved with Toastmasters in America, but hadn’t continued when I went back to France. I joined two clubs in London and made a lot of connections and friends. It gave me the courage to go out and tell my stories. I’ve told my stories for Spark London at the Canal Café Theatre. I’ve spoken in front of 500 people in Manchester, where I told my story about how, when I was 10, the war couldn’t break me. The story is told in the voice of my 10-year-old self with no reference to any knowledge I have now.
What is/was your profession?
One story I tell is called Mistaken Identity. It’s about how I completely changed professions at 48 years old. I started as a research chemist. I studied chemistry in high school but wasn’t allowed to go to university under the Communist regime as my father was a director in a factory and thus bourgeois. It wasn’t until I began working that I was allowed to study. I worked as a technician and studied for my degree by correspondence at an open university. In a way, it was a big advantage because I learned to how learn without someone teaching me.
So, I was one week away from finishing my degree, when a woman walked into the laboratory and demanded I give her my desk. I didn’t know who she was so I refused. She became agitated and I dared to tell her: “Don’t be hysterical. I cannot give you my desk because my boss is not here to tell me if this is OK.” She turned out to be the wife of the Romanian dictator.
Within three minutes I’d lost my job, been thrown out of university without graduating and declared an enemy of the people of Communist Romania. The wife became the director of the institute almost immediately after she finished her degree. She then became an academic, though everyone else did her work and she just put her name on it. I couldn’t tell anyone for a long time. Not until after their deaths in 1989.
I was one week away from finishing my degree, when a woman walked into the laboratory and demanded I give her my desk. I didn’t know who she was so I refused. She turned out to be the wife of the Romanian dictator. Within three minutes I’d lost my job, been thrown out of university without graduating and declared an enemy of the people of Communist Romania.
I wanted to leave Romania, but couldn’t. It wasn’t till I was married and pregnant that I finally got my passport. We moved to France and I began work again as a chemist and when the opportunity arose, I restarted my studies. In 1977, I got my PhD. I was working by day in the research institute, had two children, and studied for my PhD on the side. One reason I wanted the diploma was to have closure. The other was I was having problems with my husband and if I didn’t get a job with enough money, I wouldn’t be able to keep my children.
After my PhD and my divorce, I moved to America with my children and worked there for three years as a research chemist. As a non-American citizen, they didn’t want us to prolong our stay after my contract was over, so I returned to France. Finding a research chemist position in France proved near impossible. They told me I was too old, that I was a woman, and that I was not born there. It was very difficult and I needed work because I had my children. At 47 years old, I had to switch careers. I’ve learned you can use the strengths you have from one profession to another. They don’t have to be used do the same thing. In fact, sometimes you discover you can do things you didn’t know you could do. I had an interest in computers and some experience with public speaking through my time with the Toastmasters clubs. When I couldn’t find a job, I began learning and teaching a bit of computer programming – literally learning at night, then teaching it the next day. Then I started a company that imported computer products from America and sold them in France.
I was 60 when I left that job. A friend told me to do something until I knew what to do, so I read my diaries from beginning to end for the first time in my life. I decided to put them on Macintosh to save them for my children, but I realised it could be interesting for others, so I decided to publish them. (http://julie2004.blogspot.co.uk/) That was how I discovered blogging.
My second marriage ended when I was 70 and at that age, I discovered I would rather speak about my life day-by-day without publishing my diaries anymore, so I started a blog called Il y a de la vie après 70 ans (There is Life After 70). I did it to prove to myself and others there is something to do after 70. I also discovered photography. I did documentary photography, joined Flickr, and began to share a collection of my photos around Paris. It became very popular.
Now I have 50-60,000 pictures published in albums and groups and I use them for my blogs. I still photograph and publish every day, and people from around the world look at my photos. I get 15,000-20,000 hits per day
Julie Shaving
What is your secret talent?
One time telling Mistaken Identity, people began to laugh. I decided to try to make them laugh when I wanted rather than by chance. I decided to try some comedy workshops. At the age of 77, I discovered I had funny bones. I got the Silver Comedy best newcomer award and went on to perform in 20 different comedy clubs – I didn’t even know 20 existed before! After 20 gigs, I decided I wanted to do at least 77 because I began at 77. Now I’m past 77 gigs and still going.
Most of the people at stand-up comedy clubs are young and I am like the grandmother talking about personal things. I think one of the reasons people like my act so much is that they realise I’m 80 and I’m not from here and I give them courage. If I can do it, they can too. I hope I inspire people to learn and discover new things.
The most important thing I gained from comedy was that I began to look at my life through a comedy eye. When something bad happens to me now, I look to see how I can make something funny from it. It makes things less heavy and difficult to bear. I laugh about me having to shave and I have a published photo with shaving cream. I can laugh about losing my teeth and breaking my leg.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
That’s hard because I’ve shared so much about myself in so many places! How about that I read erotic romance? I don’t like pornography. It needs to have an emotional story behind it. Books like 50 Shades of Grey are like fairy tales to me. Thank goodness for my Kindle so my grandchildren can’t see my book collection!
Would you like to be a young woman in the 21st century?
Yes! Young people have the web. It’s great to get to know people from other places. Everywhere I go I meet bloggers and photographers I met through the web and they show me their cities and I show them mine. I’ve met a lot of interesting people like that. You know what I do regret most about not being a young woman now? I had beautiful breasts – young women now can show them quite a lot and we never could in my day!
Julie with Judy Carter 2
What is your favourite indulgence?
I treated myself to some comedy workshops in Las Vegas and Los Angeles with Judy Carter. I like to tell stories, do comedy, take photos. Now I want to teach people how to tell their stories.
What are you most proud of?
My children and my five grandchildren. Three of my grandchildren are in America and two live here in London. They’re all wonderful.
What is your daily beauty regime?
Smile a lot. I have beautiful smiley wrinkles. That’s my idea of beauty.
What advice would you give your 30-year-old-self?
Laugh. Even if someone is not nice to you, you can begin again. I meet young people who tell me they’ve been hurt once and will never love again. You can have more than one love, more than one friend, more than one profession! It’s never too late for anything.
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    Joanne Lau is that tired-looking Chinese-Canadian girl on the tube scribbling in her notebook and staring into space a lot.


    Learning how to tell a story...

    Bill Jersay, demonstrates with his short films the power of storytelling.

    "I am interested in helping someone tell their story, and tell them well." he begins.
    Telling a good story is crucial. A story beats arguments.

    It can be an individual story, how we realised some goals, how we got in trouble, how we got out of it: we all have stories to tell.

    Ask yourself "what is my story?"

    You have all a story worth telling! It can be a "big" story or a story about a small event: interesting, giving insight and interpreting information.


    The nature is always there for us

    Sunrise, with a true story of this morning 11 pictures from this morning with a true story

    The sky is always there for us! 

    10 minutes before 8 am, in London.

    This morning, I walked up my legs hurting and had to take, again, my two crutches to go to the kitchen. Six month already passed since I fractured a leg, three month since I strained the other leg knee, and I already believed I can walk with nothing!

    I am 80, true. But will I always walk only with crutches from now on? Is my life finished? My father died, at 80. I have still so much intern energy!

    I put the water to boil, make myself a coffee, then looked out of the window. Almost eight and the sun still rising, in December, the sunrise arrives late. Summertime, I catch it often around five.

    What a beautiful sunrise!

    I have to take it, show it, remember. There is always a joy, even when I remain home.

    Fast, before the sun is all up! I went to my room without crutches, fast and took my camera. Do  not even remember how I come back, went nearer the kitchen window to take these pictures. A few as it was then with zoom to show better the clouds reddened by the rising sun.

    Suddenly my eyes fall on the top of the garages visible from that window. All white, frozen. Well, not a weather for me to go out yet. At least, not in the morning. But after noon, it will be dry again and no more slippery.

    Yes, I will go out, walk to the bus instead of taking a taxi to the hospital appointment.

    There is always the sky & another sunrise or sundown for us!

    I remembered suddenly another day, when I was very down, half lifetime ago.

    Coming home from market, suddenly seeing the beautiful clouds coloured by the sun going down. They gave me back my courage that there is still something in life for me.

    Please, take this 12 images and most importantly, remember: the sky, clouds and the nature are always there for us, even the times when we feel all else failed. The sky is always there for us.