Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Extra Special Thank You!

Dear Fabulous Forms Of Identification Friends:


We want to extend a HUGE and HEARTFELT thank you to every single one of you for backing this project. We exceeded our fundraising goal by our deadline and are thrilled to report that we just submitted the work-in-progress version to our first festival!! With the support that you've provided we will be able to finish the film with panache!

For those of you who would like to receive a receipt for your charitable donation from our fiscal sponsor to use for tax purposes, please send us a message with your address and full name.

This successful campaign has added great joy to our holiday season and is expanding our vision for 2011. We couldn't have done it without you, and you will be in all of our year end celebrations.

In the spirit of art and creativity, we wish you all the best and will keep you posted with news about our upcoming screenings.

Kristin and Jessica

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Transform - Create - Inspire!

We have had such an amazing response of support for this project, especially from those who can relate to the struggle of loss brought on by a chronic illness.

Here is what some people are saying:

"I think there's something very magical about going beyond words to the more holistic realm - the truest images come to us almost like a dream - I believe I started the process [of imagery] by painting my feelings and getting the bleck down on paper - then began to search for a more positive image of myself and that's when the bird happened. I put it up on the wall of the room I was staying in - it was obvious to everyone it was like my totem image - that was in 1993 - it took 17 years before that bird could fly, so to speak."

"I am an artist whose Lyme, finally diagnosed in 2007, terminated the identity I had forged over 35 years of making and exhibiting my art. We are explorers of an unknown and unwelcome new existence in which there is no certainty, no prospects for a solution, no clear way of being, just like our lives before we were taken ill, but without the illusions... The only thing we know for sure is that the people we were before Lyme are now gone forever, just as much as our first date. The gift here is to lose all that we thought we were, leaving us as the naked observer, perhaps gaining greater access to the "God-flow" you reference in your writing."

"I just finished reading your story and am in tears. I too have had severe chronic Lyme symptoms for the last 6 years. I used to be an athlete, and have essentially gone through the exact same thing. Your words were touching. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. What you are doing is truly inspirational. Keep fighting. I hope your life gets easier."

"What a performance!! You are both dancer and poet. In my youth I did modern dance for a few years. It altered the way I see and feel the world forever. I wish my teacher, who was once a student of an Isadora Duncan protégé and who also taught English, were still alive to see your work. It is wonderful and a spectacular form through which to speak out for all of us. You have inspired me to start walking regularly as that is when I am most reminded not to feel my body as my enemy but as my vessel. Kinesthetically yours."

If you know of anyone else who may be inspired by the story and our film, please pass on the film and Kickstarter information to them. We have NINE MORE HOURS to continue receiving Kickstarter donations.


We are eternally grateful to all of you who have supported our efforts and this project so far – we literally couldn’t finish it and fulfill our dream without you.

Thanks again and we can’t wait to see you at our screening next year!

With warmth and gratitude,
Jessica and Kristin

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tibetan Buddhist Wisdom

Recently we've connected with a few other artists with Lyme as a result of our fundraising and consciousness raising efforts around our film. One man inflicted with Lyme sent us these wise words today which seem more than fitting for our project and I thought they belonged here on this blog.

What is our life but a dance of transient forms? Isn’t everything always changing? Doesn’t everything we have done in the past seem like a dream now? The friends we grew up with, the childhood haunts, those views and opinions we once held with such single-minded passion: We have left them all behind.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Updated Junkyard Scene

Thanks for following our filmmaking process! We've updated the whole film, including The Junkyard Scene with a few color and sound effects. By end of December 2010, our effects artist will have cleaned up the remaining scenes and our film will be COMPLETE.

Let us know what you think about this new clip.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Message from Co-Creator Jessica Ingersoll-Cope

Throughout the making of this film I have been reticent to talk much about my illness because I wanted the focus of the project to be about the life and identity altering effect of profound loss – any loss – something that everyone experiences at one point or another. But I’m realizing that my specific story about my specific illness is relevant and maybe even helpful. And people always ask about it anyway.

In October of 2003 I was dancing hard and reveling in the fact that I was living my passion. I was excited about opportunity and life and felt strong, resilient, independent, empowered, agile, enduring, physically precise and enchanted. I couldn’t imagine it any other way - until it all collapsed suddenly. It started with severe panic attacks and then prolonged anxiety and profound fatigue. Life as I knew it and the single most important aspect of it stopped – no more dancing or exercise of any kind for over a year. Many doctors’ appointments and vaguely comforting (though inaccurate) “diagnosis” and antidepressants ensued. I got somewhat better and started taking dance classes again, but would still experience sudden collapses of energy – like my puppet strings were suddenly cut. Something was still very wrong. So much grief, consternation and confusion (“it is not just depression or delusion or a lack of will power”) that I wanted to scream “something is REALLY wrong!” Feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy and failure began creeping in and taking a stronghold where there was once confidence and calm.

But I maintained what looked like a normal, productive life for a while, still working full time. And then I got worse – a lot worse – and stopped working. I knew that I had to figure this thing out. Woozy spells, neuropathic pain and pressure in my face, mouth and throat, disabling headaches, “inner” trembling and weakness, circulation problems, continuing profound, deep fatigue and panic attacks that would take over my whole body. The worst part was the unpredictability of the symptomatic spells, making some days manageable and almost normal, and other days hell. I had always thought of myself as an extremely reliable person.

After a lot of researching and more doctors’ appointments, I finally found a diagnosis that seemed accurate: Lyme Disease. But what did that mean and what would happen next? Having an accurate diagnosis is a crucial first step, but it was only the beginning of what has been a very long and hard road. This discovery incited a whole new wave of some hope mixed with more loss and devastation. Was getting better really possible, or was I going to just limp along living a half life and die early? Was it possible to effectively treat a serious infection that had gone undiagnosed for two years? How would I be able to pay for any of the costly treatments? Would I ever be able to dance and move – an experience I considered a sacred savior - and soar like I had before? Would anybody love and want me now that I was so limited, damaged and unreliable? Would I be able to have spontaneous, carefree good ol’ fun or would I always have to be cautious and say “Sorry, I can’t do that?” Would I ever be able to work a normal job again, get a master’s degree, have kids, travel, be adventurous, be accomplished? The questions went on and on.

Lyme disease can be acute or chronic but the term “Chronic Lyme Disease” is extremely controversial and is refuted by much of mainstream medicine. Just another maddening political aspect to an already maddening experience of illness and self-doubt. However, those who have it know how impactful, real and complex it is. Once Lyme is chronic, it is no longer a single stealth bacterial infection, but a constellation of infections, hormonal imbalances, toxicities, autoimmune reactions, neurological problems, etc. Basically, your whole body goes out of whack, though it affects every person differently. It is so overwhelming that it can be hard to know what to treat first, and you often feel much worse before you feel any better. The process of treatment is truly like peeling away the layers of an onion and can take many years. It requires incredible persistence and patience and a strong network of loving supporters - something not everyone is lucky enough to have. Losing your faith entirely and only glimpsing the fleeting light of redemption is a cycle that is guaranteed. It requires that you be a warrior.

Here it is almost 2011 and I still supposedly have Lyme Disease and my life looks very different than it did eight years ago. I’ve been through many ups and downs, gains and losses, steps forward and steps backward. I have lost relationships and friendships. I had to move back in with my parents in order to afford my treatment. I have been through dozens of natural treatment protocols and 14 months of intravenous antibiotics. I have been in deep dark holes.

But now I am happy to say that I am doing relatively well. I live in my own apartment and am completing graduate school. I am working on creative projects like this film. I spend time with my loving friends and family. I am learning Argentine Tango and have become reacquainted with the joyful experience of God-flow that dance brings to me. And I feel gratitude for this difficult and wonderful life.

I am still somewhat fragile and operate at about 70%. If I get less than seven hours of sleep I cannot function properly. My threshold for over-stimulating environments, stress and crisis is much lower. Anxiety is never too far away. I don’t have the energy or stamina to go hiking or take long bike rides. For exercise, I go for short walks, short bike rides, and jump on my mini-trampoline instead. I still get bad headaches. Escalators, elevators and airplanes make me feel woozy. I can’t tolerate alcohol or other mood altering substances. I have food allergies and digestive ails. I still get waves of profound unable-to-walk–up-the-stairs fatigue. I feel neuropathic tingles in my mouth and pressure in my face. Despite all this, I easily pass as perfectly healthy. I am far from symptom free, but I am beginning to trust myself and my body again.

Although I sometimes introduce myself as a “former” dancer, I still feel attached to my archetypal identity of A Dancer. Will I ever be OK with NOT labeling myself with that title at all? Is being a kinesthetically aware mover part of my very essence, inseparable from my very basic identity? I’m not sure, but more importantly, I have truly come to know myself – my authentic, deeply inward self – better than I ever have. I can feel a quiet surrendering in the places that have been wounded and have gained back some confidence in my self-worth and ability. Crisis and loss often do just that – force us to grow in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise. That is what this film, Forms of Identification, is about - facing crisis and losing everything outward that we comfortably grasp onto, compelling us to plunge deep into the mystery, mayhem and majesty of our genuine, pure self.

- by Dancer/Choreographer Jessica Ingersoll-Cope

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Only $1,095 to go and 13 more days!

We are feeling and loving the momentum of our Kickstarter funding campaign! Many thanks to our new and continued supporters:

John Rogers
Michael Fogelman
Stephani Regalia
Greg Haldan
Amy Stock
Brooke Grabrian
Laura Didier
Jim Martinez
Sheila McCann
Diana Ingersoll-Cope

It's so amazing to have the support of our community, friends and family who believe in the transformative powers of art and creativity!

We are on track to finishing and by the end of December, our fundraising efforts will not only be complete, but validated with the completion of our film and entering it into our first film festivals.

Please stay tuned for details about a private screening party held at a venue here in San Francisco for all our supporters.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Forms of Identification Thanks YOU

Today is Thanksgiving and I'm reminded how far we've come with our fundraising campaign. Because of your support and your contributions so far, we have met our first fundraising goal and have hired our effects artist! We are on schedule to finish the film by the end of the year as planned! It has been a long haul in many ways but we can officially say that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it looks really beautiful! Thanks to all of you for your contributions thus far, we have crossed that first milestone!

Some of you already know about and have made a generous contribution to our Kickstarter campaign.


Once we finish the film, we need to get it on the big screen! That means designing and producing DVDs, entering the film into festivals, creating marketing materials. We still need to raise $1,540 by December 15. If we don't raise that specific amount, we have to give back all donations made through Kickstarter thus far. Thanks to Lisa, Lynn, Lars, Jane, Joe, Sam, Uncle John, Eduardo, Claudia, Julie and Uncle Kevin who have made a pledge. You can pledge as little or as much as you feel comfortable.

We have a short video explaining our film and the funding drive, as well as other information on our Kickstarter page.


We are eternally grateful for the support we've already received from the community - Empowerment Works, Numi Tea, Millennium Restaurant, Mariposa Bakery, La Boulange, Blossom Bluff Orchards, Tom Tieche, Mission Workshop, Pedal Panties, Magnolia Brewery & Pub, The Animal House, Vima Dance Studio, Weird Fish, Taco Bike Timmy, Bike Basket Pies, Magnanimus Wine Group, Aaron Delachaux, Maya Hara, Megan Martin, Ryan Lendt and all our volunteers! It's great to live in a city like San Francisco that bolsters the arts!

Thanks for supporting our film!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

From "The Moon By Whale Light," by Diane Ackerman

I'm reading this book that I happened to come across at the $1 book sale at the SF Public Library. It's an incredible book of non-fiction. I'm realizing that I can learn more about human nature by studying the way animals communicate with each other - the echolocation of bats, the dance of a crocodile and especially the singing of the Humpback whales. Here's an thought-provoking passage that I feel worth revisiting again and again:

"... mind is such an odd predicament for matter to get into. I often marvel how something like hydrogen, the simplest atom, forged in some early chaos of the universe, could lead to us and the gorgeous fever we call consciousness. If a mind is just a few pounds of blood, dream, and electric, how does it manage to contemplate itself, worry about its soul, do time-and-motion studies, admire the shy hooves of a goat, know that it will die, enjoy all the grand and lesser mayhems of the heart? What is mind, that one can be out of one's? How can a neuron feel compassion? What is a self? Why did automatic hand-me-down mammals like our ancestors somehow evolve brains with the ability to consider, imagine, project, compare, abstract, think of the future? If our experience of mind is really just the simmering of an easily alterable chemical stew, then what does it mean to know something, to want something, to be? How do you begin with hydrogen and end up with prom dresses, jealousy, chamber music? What is music that it can satisfy a mind, and even perhaps function as language?"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's it all about?

This short video will explain why we're fundraising!

And please visit our Kickstarter page - visit often!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Daniel Chimowitz photographs Gypsy Cabaret


Amazing fashion photographer Daniel Chimowitz was on hand at our event to capture some of the great and not so great moments of the evening!

Take a look at some of the pics and what fun we had at our very SUCCESSFUL event! Thanks to all who attended and contributed!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More updates for tonight's event!

Gypsy Cabaret Party Oct. 14 @ Mission Workshop

We are expecting a great crowd tonight, so please come on by Mission Workshop for an amazing evening that benefits our film!

DJ Delachaux spins Burlectro
Meg Martin performs solo belly dance
Taco Bike Timmy cooks up made-to-order tacos
Bike Basket Pies serves seasonal sweet and savory pies
Fashion photographer Daniel Chimowitz in the house!

Beverages from:
Magnanimus Wine Group wines
Numi Iced Tea

Raffle prizes include:
Mission Workshop Messenger Bag
Pedal Panties
Vima Dance Studio private dance lesson for 2
Magnolia Pub & Brewery gift card
Weird Fish gift card
The Animal House gift card

And a sneak preview of our film!

Can't wait to see you all and have fun tonight!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gypsy Cabaret - Updates

GYPSY CABARET is shaping up and coming up very soon - THIS COMING THURSDAY,

Thanks to all of you who have donated, purchased your tickets and informed
me that you were coming! We appreciate your support and assure you that this
is going to be a very fun event!


Buying tickets early helps us out a lot, but tickets will also be sold at
the door. Please let us know that you'll be attending!

A few exciting details to remind you to pen the dates and times into your

A unique selection of wines from Magnanimus Wine Group and
refreshing iced tea from Numi Tea will be available for additional drink donations!

Megan Martin will perform a solo belly dance performance

Bike Basket Pies will be around selling her yummy sweet and savory pies

And our list of raffle prizes should intrigue you as well - Mission Workshop messenger bag
Stylish Pedal Panties
Vima Dance Studio private dance lesson for two... and more!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Announcing GYPSY CABARET - a Benefit for Forms of Identification

Gypsy Cabaret Party Oct. 14 @ Mission Workshop

Jessica and I are so close to making our first fundraising goal so we can finish our film. We have partnered this time with several local SF businesses and artists to put together a fun-filled evening for you in exchange for a modest tax-deductible donation. If we get 75 people to attend our event, we can meet and even exceed our first fundraising goal of $2,500! A short distance to go, but we can't make it there without your help! Plus, it's going to be an amazing night filled with great music, dance and raffle prizes!

Please invite friends and family & spread the word!!!!

Empowerment Works! is the (501)c3 fiscal sponsor of the film and all donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Additional donations can be made via Eventbrite:

a benefit for Forms of Identification

Thurs. Oct 14, 6 pm to 10 pm

Mission Workshop
40 Rondel Place (16th & Mission)
San Francisco, CA 94103

Gypsy Cabaret is the second fundraiser planned to help producers Tieche and Ingersoll-Cope put the post-production finishing touches on the film to prepare it for a premiere screening and entry into national and international film festivals. Raised funds will also help with the marketing and promotion of the finished film.

DJ Delachaux spins Burlectro
Live Dance Performance
Bike food carts
Raffle for various prizes including Mission Workshop messenger bag, Pedal Panties & Private dance lesson for two at Vima Dance Studio.

$15 - $25 sliding scale tax-deductible donation includes one beverage

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Event - Big Success!

Our first fundraising event was a huge success! Wonderful turnout. Impeccable location. Delicious food. It was the right synergy to put us over the edge and meet our funding expectations for the event!

Special shout outs to all our sponsors/partners:

Numi Tea
Millennium Restaurant
Mariposa Bakery
Blossom Bluff Orchards
La Boulange
Tom Tieche, Sr.

And many many thanks to our talent:

Ryan Lendt

Maya Hara

Huge thanks to all our guests who attended and to all who donated!

And SAVE THE DATE! October 14th will be our next fundraising event: Gypsy Cabaret at Mission Workshop!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Announcing Line-Up, added menu items, AND limited number of DISCOUNTED tickets

We are getting very excited about our upcoming event: High Tea Benefit for Forms of Identification at Numi Tea Garden on August 22nd.

Ryan Lendt will be performing an acoustic set:

Maya Hara will perform a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

Millennium Restaurant is providing delicious vegan pastries.
La Boulange is providing delicious French pastries.
Blossom Bluff Orchards is providing seasonal fresh fruit.

We are looking forward to seeing you all there. Thank you to all the guests who have verbally confirmed their attendance with me. Please help us out by purchasing tickets in advance through this link:


ALSO we are offering a limited number of tickets at a REDUCED RATE for buying in advance and buying in pairs!

Please buy tickets early to help us make this a very special event for you.

Thank you very much and see you on August 22nd!

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's Tea Time!

Forms of Identification High Tea at Numi Tea Garden

As the finish line of our short dance film adventure is coming into sight, we (Jessica and Kristin) are excited to share it with all of you. But first, we need a little help to run that last mile. Please join us at what should be a fun, social and spirited afternoon of tea, treats, entertainment and champagne to toast to our creative endeavor (and hopefully raise a little money). Attached is an invitation in which we cordially invite you (and as many friends as you can convince to come!) to this unique event. To register and contribute before hand, here is our PayPal option:

High Tea w/ Champagne

You will also be able to contribute by check at the door.

Friday, May 7, 2010


When I Googled "identity crisis" this is the site I found to have the most succinct definition: http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/identitycrisis.htm. It summarizes Erik Erikson's theory or personality development. He believed that an identity crisis was an integral part of human development and maturation. We ALL face identity confusion and crisis at some point or multiple times during our lives.

What I found most interesting in this link was the statement "...the balance between identity and confusion lies in making a commitment to an identity." Meaning, it is important to actually decide on one, whether we choose it consciously or not. Some people move into their core identity more easily it seems, while others struggle and fight to find it. But the act of committing to one is, I believe, an essential step toward finding contentment and confidence in yourself.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Amazing Anna Halprin

Last night Kristin, Mona and I went to see Breath Made Visible, a new documentary about the life of California, Marin county dance legend Anna Halprin (http://www.breathmadevisible.com/). She is 90 years old and still going strong, and the history of her career is impressive and inspiring. Her work in the 1950s and 1960s was very avant-garde and experimental - everything from social protest to nudity - but it went through a transformation when, in her 40s, she was diagnosed with cancer. In the movie she describes how she knew that something was wrong when she drew a self portrait of her body with a large dark spot under her belly button.

As a reaction to her diagnosis, she created a solo piece that demonstrated both her dark side, with her back to the audience, and her light side, with her front facing forward. In her "dark side" dance, she howls and shakes her fists and shudders, almost as if the illness is moving through her body and out in an intense form of catharsis. I'm reflecting now about how powerful our inner experiences are, and how, if we keep our emotions and perceptions stuffed inside and don't EXPRESS them, they get stuck in our body like poison.

Understandably, she went through quite a life altering process after being faced with her own mortality. The identity of her art (and her self I'm sure) was thrust into stark re-evaluation. In the movie she says, "Before I had cancer my life was about making dance and after I had cancer my dance was about making life." Her dancing life thus evolved into a healing ritual that she has shared with thousands of people, many who have been or are ill. She has even written a book on the subject: Dance as a Healing Art: Returning to Health Through Movement and Imagery. This is now on my "must read" list.

Because of this movie, I've been thinking again about the difference between art being one's ambition versus it being one's savior. It is easy to get wrapped up in the merit and success of your art "product" but if your ability to make your art as you have is compromised, the fear that it and you will wither up and suffer as a result can be strong. But what if we can transform the process of art-making to be less about gaining recognition and more about connecting to yourself and others in a visceral, honest and healing way. Hopefully this is partly what we've explored in Forms of Identification, and what we can continue to discuss as a community.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

new clip from Forms of Identification

This is a clip from the film that we like to refer to as the 360 degree scene. Enjoy. Your comments are welcome.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Define Yourself!

Here I am, back with a little comic relief.

If your life seems to lack definition, you can find meaning at urbandicitionary.com!

Take a look at what my name means: Kristin

I especially like this definition:

Wonderful in millions of ways. There are no words that describe the sheer radiance of this beautiful creature. Wise beyond her years she can tap into nature and reveal all of its secrets with nothing more than a smile. An angel in disguise she is free-spirited and fun loving. Recognized as one of the most sensual and erotic lovers. One could only wish to tame this wild temptress. Graced by god.
"ohhhhh Kristin.... OOOOhhhhhhh Kristin!!!!!!"

And let's not forget Jessica!

Oh, Jessica!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Monster Inside

In March of 2001 I participated in a community performance project at Colorado State University, called “No Roles Barred,” with the David Dorfman Dance company. It involved about 30 individuals, from all walks of life – both dancers and pedestrians. As part of the piece, we were to come up with a character that represented an aspect of our personality. The character I remember most was created by the director of the dance program - The Hat Lady was her name, a woman of too many roles who wore about half a dozen different shaped and sized hats at one time and had to tip toe down the stage so they didn’t topple off her head. I, on the other hand, became the Referee Task Master, complete with a black and white collared polyester shirt, a whistle, and a large cloth scroll that unrolled to reveal the words “TO DO” at the top. Sometimes when we distill ourselves down into a caricature it’s funny and simplistic, but also spot on.

I also remember some of the discussions we had a group as we went through the process of constructing the piece. At one rehearsal a participant’s confession struck me and I’ll never forget what she said. She said that as she was contemplating her character, looking at herself from the outside in, she had encountered this deep sense of dread that she’d find herself to be unappealing and un-interesting – that what she would find inside was a monster. I wonder how many of us have had moments of feeling this way.

This past weekend I participated in a meditation workshop in Berkeley. It provoked and inspired much thought and reflection. In one of the several talks that the teacher gave, he spoke of those people in our lives who really “see” us and that in meditating we can try to do that for ourselves – to really see our core self and observe her and all her chaotic thoughts and story lines without judgment. And as for chaos, there is plenty. The exercise of really examining oneself, like the woman I mentioned above discovered, can make you confront your inner monsters, which is not such a pleasant experience. At times this weekend I found myself going over all those reasons why I’m not doing or being enough of something while simultaneously feeling the negative emotions associated with those thoughts. But this really is just a story and it’s fictitious. If you’re able to sit with yourself for long enough and allow all that mental noise to sift out, I think it is possible to have moments where you settle into a sense of acceptance for exactly who you are and where you are right here and right now. And the monsters fade away, or transform to light, even if only for the briefest of moments.

It’s at these moments of self criticism and discontent that I also think of a quote by Marianne Williamson which turns the idea of what we’re afraid of and why on its head. It begins: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us." So maybe the monster in us that we’re afraid to face is not a monster after all, but really that light, or a friend who, if we just sit with long enough and learn to trust, will guide us toward our basic goodness.