It felt weird not posting a blog entry last Sunday, November 8th! But I’m back! So let’s get right into it.
I have a confession to make.
Are you ready?
It’s something I’ve never admitted before. Not even to my lover James Franco. Not even to my second mother, Madonna.
I HAVE ARTISTIC TOURETTES!
No, seriously. I have artistic tourettes.
Before I get into the WHY I have it, let’s get into the WHAT. According to the official website, tourette.org:
“Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (Tourette Syndrome or TS) is a neurological disorder which becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence. The first symptoms usually are involuntary movements (tics) of the face, arms, limbs or trunk. These tics are frequent, repetitive and rapid.”
This paragraph below really resonated with me:
“Many persons report what are described as premonitory urges – the urge to perform a motor activity. Other symptoms such as touching, repetitive thoughts and movements and compulsions can occur.”
That’s it! That’s exactly what I have! I have the URGE TO PERFORM A MOTOR ACTIVITY on a daily basis. COMPULSIONS. In other words, I have a compulsion to be an artist 24/7. And this compulsion to be an artist expresses itself in the form of motor activities. Okay, who’s still with me on this one? Have I lost you yet? Have I lost the plot? Or do you FEEL what I’m saying and you’re yelling “AMEN!” right now?!
And whenever I’m in public, the compulsion is at its highest. I mean, come on, it’s a free audience waiting to receive your brilliance. For example, I’m currently experiencing the “joys” of public transportation here in Los Angeles. Yes, Los Angeles has a public transportation system. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe since it feels like everyone drives. Now, is the LA public transportation system as extensive as the one in NYC? No, but Los Angeles DOES have a public transportation system. Anyway, I’m on public transportation because my “Tesla” is currently at Express Auto Shop. Sam and his crew are simply THE BEST. Here’s their address and tell them George Ortiz sent you: 8927 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035.
Anyway, taking public transportation and being forced to interact with people has been an interesting learning experience. We spend so much time in our cars that we start losing touch with human connection. We start forgetting how to interact with people and how to handle and manage energy. Taking the train and bus has been a great way for me to observe people and life. As actors, we sometimes say, “The character would never do that” or “That’s too big/bold of a choice to make”. Um, stop for a second and take a look at LIFE and you’ll see the bold, crazy, daring, evaluated choices that people make on a daily basis. They are committed to their choices, they are moment to moment and they let their scene have a beginning, middle and end LOL.
Anyway, when I stand on the subway platform or I’m walking down the streets to the train station, and I have my headphones on for example, I can’t help but perform. The streets, the subway platform, the bus stop feels like a stage and it seems like such a waste to not take advantage of it. I’ll be walking down the street and then all of sudden, all of a sudden, all of a sudden, WOO HOO! I’ll start dance-walking. I’ll be in the zone with my music. I’m moment to moment with the music and my body becomes the vessel for which divine inspiration flows through. I don’t fight it. I can’t fight it.
I’ll be standing on the subway platform and then all of a sudden, all of a sudden, all of a sudden, WOO HOO! I’ll start performing a monologue to myself. Or I’ll recite lines from an audition I’m working on or from a film (The confrontation scene between Woody Allen and Kirstie Alley in “Deconstructing Harry” has been my go to scene lately)
I’ll be on the bus heading home and then all of a sudden, all of a sudden, all of a sudden, WOO HOO! I’ll start writing dialogue for a script I’m working on. Or I’ll start singing. Or I’ll be re-inspired with creative ideas for my career administration.
At the supermarket, WOO HOO! HERE WE GO AGAIN! GET DOWN! Dancing down the aisles. My body becomes a vessel and Bob Fosse enters. Madonna enters. Jerome Robbins enters. Michael Bennett enters. Prince enters. Whichever musical act I’m listening to enters. But they filter through my interpretation and my experience.
I can’t help it. I HAVE to perform. I HAVE to create. When the MUSE, when the COMPULSION comes, I have to express it. I can’t NOT perform and create and express. I don’t want to be a regular, normal human being. It bores me to tears. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I want to stand out. I want to shock myself. It’s almost like I’m creating performance art in the public eye.
I come home and I see the courtyard in my building and it looks like a large arena with a raised stage and everything. And then all of sudden, all of a sudden, all of a sudden, WOO HOO! GIVE IT TO ME! I’m on that stage and launching myself into an hour and a half dance extravaganza with a beginning, middle and end. During that time, I go on the classic hero’s journey from Orphan to Wanderer to Warrior to Martyr–Read “My Story Can Beat Up Your Story” by Jeffrey Alan Schechter if you don’t know what I’m talking about 🙂 🙂 🙂
And look, I know some people look at me like I’m weird cause it’s more “important” to be cool. To be unaffected. To be glib. Fuck that. They don’t pay my bills. I do. So they are of no significance to me. If anything, I’m hopefully inspiring them to chill out, to relax, to get out of their middle-class thinking and behavior, to stop being so uptight, to have fun. FUN. FUN. FUN. My God, when did we stop having fun? Who said that being an adult meant that you stop having fun? That you’re supposed to be dead on the outside and the inside? Being around the public, I truly see how unhappy a lot of people are. And how people don’t like seeing other people happy. That only makes me, that only makes me, that only makes me, GOD DAMMIT! WOO HOO! GIVE IT TO ME! It only makes me want to perform bigger and harder (wait, am I still talking about art or am I talking about sex? Then again, I’ve experienced incredible art that was the equivalent to experiencing amazing sex. No lie.) And I’m sure there are videos of me on Youtube, but whatever, I don’t care. I don’t want to be normal. I am extraordinary and it needs to come out. If it doesn’t, I become miserable. I become restless. I go crazy. I need to stay sharp with my creativity.
I smile when I see other artists performing in public without apology, without fear, without self-consciousness. These two male dancers got on the train recently and did their thing. I loved it. And of course, the stanky, snooty, middle-class thinking people sneered and snickered. Why???? They weren’t bothering anyone or harming anyone. What makes you better than these dancers? Why are you bothered by their artistry? Why are you not smiling? Are you secretly jealous and upset that you can’t be that free? I’m inclined to believe that the last question has incredible validity as I remember a former teacher saying, “We criticize the things that we ourselves cannot become.” I applauded the two dancers on their bravery and their artistry.
On the other hand, I’ve also made many people smile because of my artistic compulsions. They’ll clap for me. They’ll cheer me on. They’ll ask what I’m on and if they can have some of it. I remember seeing the fireworks this past July 4th with a buddy of mine. Afterwards, we went back to his car and waited for the crowds to disperse from the parking lot. We were listening to music, talking, killing time. Before we knew it, the parking lot was almost empty. A great, infectious song came on and I told him to turn on his headlights. He was confused by my request, but eventually complied. I got out and started dancing in front of his headlights to the song. I felt like Nicole Kidman in that iconic dancing scene from “To Die For”. I got such a rush. This guy walked by and said, “I’ll have whatever you’re on.” I said, “I’m on life, baby, life!”
I remember jogging through Barnsdall Park in Los Feliz and I stopped by this secluded, quiet area. I put on a mini-concert to about three songs. When I was done, I turned around and realized I was dancing in front of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. I looked up and saw a young kid looking at me through the window. He waved and had the biggest smile on his face. I don’t know if he was a patient or not, but I became his hero and brought joy and happiness into his life. Can you imagine if I held back my compulsion to create?! What a crime that would have been! I smiled, waved back and continued on my jog.
I guess the point of this blog, the bottom line, is that we are artists. How BLESSED are we to be artists?! To know that any given moment, we can create and express in so many ways and in so many places?! To move, inspire, heal people in some way. I am an artist and I have to share and express it.
I HAVE ARTISTIC TOURETTES!
According to tourette.org:
There is no cure for Tourettes.
THANK GOD FOR THAT. I NEVER WANT MY CREATIVE COMPULSIONS TO STOP.