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  • Writer's pictureStoddard Blackall

Busking in Brooklyn

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

James Manzello and I busked at Grand Army Plaza, right at the entrance of Prospect Park. It was so freeing. I played my keytar and he played drums. With James, I can be my weirdest, spontaneous self at the keys. Or anywhere, really.

We had a lot of people gathering around us to listen at certain points. One woman thanked us for saving her "from the brink", with an improvised song about embracing uncertainty. A construction man stopped to dance in place, jutting his arms out to the music like he was pumping some invisible force of appreciation our way. James even gave a boy a "drum lesson" (he was probably 7 or 8), while I jammed with them both. That kid had an experience he'll probably never forget. He was really good at rhythm! Two men raved about our music in Spanish, and the way they were singing and bursting with joy, told us that we moved them to a great degree. What an amazing experience, especially since AOFine has been on a hiatus for a good while now.

It's important for me to have multiple music projects, as it keeps me lose, free-flowing and inspired.

The next Hiccups single I'm releasing will actually be "Pop, the Dress!", which is essentially Liza expressing her excitement for all the dresses she will be able to create out of thin air, now that she's moved into a new place with Shiloh. Simultaneously, Shiloh is thrilled to have a studio with more space and promise, that will give him the ability to let his music soar. Little do they know that the invisible foe of Shiloh's OCD, the ego-dystonic ghost within, will do everything it can to tear them down and spoil their dreams.

Speaking of other projects, I will also be releasing a song called "Sunny with a Chance of Bubbles" with my children's music business, Sunny Songsters, that coincidently, also ends with Trista Olivas singing "POP!". This was not my intention in the least. Two literal pop songs! I thought, in retrospect, this could be a good marketing tactic. "Slanted" will be next!

Since it is a late, I'm exhausted, and my single release solo show at Spit&Vigor's Tiny Baby Blackbox Theater in Brooklyn is quickly approaching, I will end this post with a quick little piece of positivity. This goes out to anyone who has faced severe chronic anxiety, especially when it comes to relationships, but obviously these words are aimed at the general population of intense, spiraling worriers:

ROCD is a terrible affliction, but if you face it, day by day, little by little, with intentional, healthy, exposure response prevention techniques, you can actually develop a kind of super power against adversity. Your skin will know how to thicken when facing uncomfortable uncertainty in a way that the so-called "normal", neurotypical folk aren't forced to learn how to do. Keep that in the back of your hiccuping mind.

Stay safe out there and remember you are NOT ALONE.


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