Jason Forest Abrams

He has healing hands and a heart of gold. And yes, I usually call him by his full name.

Sometimes I don’t know how my body doesn’t just crumble under the pressure of my unrelenting (and mostly blind) ambition to document everything. Thank you, Jason, for taking care of me when I had a horrible tendency to neglect myself. Thanks for encouraging me to pay more attention to my body. And thanks for taking care of ALL the people that you do. You’re so good to us…

Much love,

Fresh

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Bare Bones Theatre Ensemble: DOG SEES GOD

DOG SEES GOD: CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE BLOCKHEAD, by Burt V. Royal, is the tale of the beloved PEANUTS characters as utterly screwed up teenagers, will be presented at McGrath’s Pub (202 Locust St. Harrisburg, PA) by Bare Bones Theatre Ensemble at 6:30 on Sunday April 19th, 26th & May 3rd. $15 Tickets will be sold at the door each night beginning at 5:30. 

Maybe it’s because I’m getting soft in my old age, but I cried during the dress rehearsal. This show is really good. I think you should go see it. It is my wish for you. And who doesn’t love a good palindrome and theatre in a bar? HA! Hope to see you there, darlings!

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Future City

Bright kids, bright future.

Future City is a national contest that challenges middle school students to create just that, a future simulated city. Young participants learn about zoning, urban farming, local government, water and sewer treatment, sustainability, business, and more. They use Sim City to execute their plan and then they build a model, write an essay, and do a presentation. This is the group of Future City students from Camp Curtin and they’re rad kids. Hopefully this project inspires them to carry the torch… to help make their own future Harrisburg a little better.

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Harrisburg Chefs

I love all the people who make delicious things.

You know, just a bunch of cool chefs hangin’ out here… It was awesome to meet and hang with Joe, Sean, and Michael, but of course, I was absurdly sentimental about photographing Qui Qui, Christian, and Emi because they are dear to my heart!

Qui Qui has the wildest spirit. She’s one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met and an incredibly strong woman. I could listen to her tell stories for hours… but she would never be able to sit still for that long. Her food is always extraordinary, but more recently, I am blown away by her hospitality and kindness. And it always happens when I’ve truly needed a little nurturing for my soul. Thank you for that, Qui.

Christian is super talented and Troeg’s, I am sure, feels very lucky to have him. The dude just gets it. “It,” being food, of course. I always eat the best cured meats and cheese and the best conundrum of flavors in my mouth at Troeg’s. He’s a wealth of knowledge and good vibes. And, not to mention, he’s a fucking sweetheart. Best dude.

And Emi is one of my favorite human beings, ever. I’m not exaggerating. She is a genuine, beautiful, joyful soul. This lady is an awesome chef and one of the easiest people to work with in a restaurant… and if you’ve ever worked at a restaurant, that shit is important. I value her friendship to the max and when I hang out with her, I laugh with my whole body. I appreciate you, Emi.

NOW GO EAT SOME DELICIOUS FOOD, DARLINGS.

Love,
Fresh

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Eric Moon//Salon Edjii

We grow in tandem. 

Eric Moon is a constant in my life. He may also have been the first person in my adult life to show me that life in Harrisburg can be a truly wonderful one. We could talk for forever about putting ourselves out there in this big, crazy world, loving the work that we do, traveling to dope places, the mentors that impress us, inspirations, all things that are delicious, our goals, our many loves, etc… but the one thing I want YOU to know about him is this: Over the last ten years, I have never doubted him. Not once. I trust his friendship. I trust his work. I trust his heart. I couldn’t be prouder of him for all the things he’s accomplished. And I am especially proud of him this year for opening Salon Edjii. Check him out, darlings.

http://salonedjii.com/

Congratulations, dude. Life is way good.

Thank you to theBURG for highlighting Eric in print this month. I think the world of him and I’m so glad to see other people think he’s pretty cool too.

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Here’s the salon:

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KOJI: Feed the hungry, change the system

I’m really digging the idea of asking the people I photograph write the blog to go along with their images… I’m photographing them because I value their voice. And more than that, positive people who work together can serve as a conduit for change. I am hopeful.

“Hunger is an issue that effects people on both a global and local scale. Addressing hunger in the United States is not just about turkeys at Christmas and Thanksgiving, but rather, a consistent effort to meet the needs of the hungry in our communities and also change the system that created this inequity. It was so awesome to partner with artists, promoters, and show-goers on these food drives during my 2014 holiday shows. 

In Harrisburg, we were able to donate 199 lbs. of food to the Central PA Food Bank. Most of the first shows I put on in the central PA area included food drives and it felt very good to get people engaged with this issue once more. I’m looking forward to continuing this work on hunger in 2015.” (KOJI)

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Perserverance & Passion: Harrisburg Hip-Hop and R&B

Maybe a year or two ago, I was coaxed into going to karaoke. A few songs in, the DJ broke up the requests and announced Nova… A young, handsome dude in a bow tie. What an incredible voice, what an awesome presence. This dude is from Harrisburg? HELL YEAH! Harrisburg rules.

When Harrisburg Magazine asked me to photograph the Harrisburg hip-hop and R&B artists, I wasn’t surprised that Nova was one of them. We’re so lucky to have talented people like him, E.P.O.C., Alonda Rich, Saint, and Young Swerve hailing from our city. They were just the best people to photograph… they were excited and engaged. It made my process so easy and a ton of fucking fun.

I’m really trying to not be too hard on myself for not getting around to blogs until much later than I’d like… being busy is a blessing. I’m very lucky. But the thing that was truly weighing on me is that I didn’t get to thank them. So:

THANK YOU to all the artists. You guys are literally the best. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re an inspiration and an asset to Harrisburg. I appreciate you so much.

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Black Lives Matter

One of the hundreds of articles that resonated with me over the last few months was written by a woman named Brittany Cooper, titled, “I am utterly undone: My struggle with black rage and fear after Ferguson.” She begins by saying, “If I have to begin by convincing you that Black Lives Matter, we have all already lost, haven’t we? So let’s not begin there. Let’s begin at the end. At the end there is only Michael Brown Jr.’s dead body, no justice, and weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Be still, my heart. Black America is speaking right now, and we should be listening…

So, this is Georgi.

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And this is what she has to say:

On Saturday I attended a Die-in for Mike Brown and other victims of police brutality. I was pleased that people of all ages, races and walks of life were willing to brave the cold in support of change. Though police brutality is an issue that has historically plagued the black community at higher rates than other ethnic groups, it is not a black issue. It is an American issue. We shout that Black Lives Matter not because any other life is less important, but because it is not something that is often said. The message that we are sent when we see images of black bodies laying dead and exposed is that black lives are expendable. We are here to correct that narrative. We, as Americans, must stand against the idea that any of us should be allowed to be treated this way. We must have the courage to have open, difficult discussions about our collective history. We must actively work to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones. We must learn to love, forgive and trust again. The conversations will be messy at first, sometimes we will disagree but if we cannot find the courage to begin the dialogue, nothing will ever change. The Harrisburg police department did an excellent job of offering us support as we peacefully protested and made our voices heard, and we would like to invite them to join the dialogue. Together we can build a brighter future, for Harrisburg and beyond. (Georgianna Hicks)

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Please, Be Well, Babes: A Four Diamonds Story

If I accomplish anything in my lifetime, may it be that my images help others. 

The Four Diamonds Fund has always held my heart. Well, I guess you could say that it’s the kids that have always held my heart. I am so flattered and grateful that Four Diamonds asked me to do work for them. As much as I would like to just hug those kids and love them and squeeze the cancer out of them, that’s not possible. So, I created images that will hopefully inspire people to help them…

Please, be well, babes. Dani Fresh wants to see you grow up to be big and strong.

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Bare Bones Theatre Ensemble: Blind Pig Creep Joint

I was perched in a corner of McGrath’s, maniacally processing photos of the Blind Pig Creep Joint cast when Caitlin was peering over my shoulder, watching me work. She laughed to herself and dramatically quipped, “Man, it’s such a shame we don’t have any friends doing cool stuff!”  She was, of course, dripping with sarcasm and beaming with pride. She’s right, friends. There are so many things going on in this city. There are so many absolutely awesome people here and I’m not afraid to admit that I’m proud to know them… I’m proud to know YOU. We’re doin’ alright here in Harrisburg. We’re doin’ alright.

The Blind Pig Creep Joint is an immersive 1920s theatre experience and musical revue taking place at McGrath’s Pub on Sunday, November 9th, 16th, and 23rd. It’s directed by Caitlin Graci Tran, Joseph Chubb, and Sally Bowman Keaveney of the Bare Bones Theatre Ensemble. It includes original poetry by Jeremy Ritch and a cast of dear friends…

Okay, how about I just say that everyone involved is awesome and you should go. Cool? Cool. See you there!

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