I was delighted to discover that adding the element of musical accompaniment to Ivan Coyote's storytelling schtick only made it stronger. The words lend themselves particularly well to the additional rhythms and beats which become a sort of supporting character.
Tomboy Survival Guide is a new piece for Coyote and I found it generally thoughtful and coherent. And while it treads much usual territory for Coyote, this show offered a fresh take and nothing felt old or recycled. Coyote praises the butches and tough broads who first taught them how a person might create their own unique identity and find a comfortable way to live. From fastball players who take no prisoners to beautiful Nanaimo girls who don't care what the boys think, tomboys are shown in all their glory. Particularly poignant were stories about Coyote's family relationships and details like deals made to wear pants to kindergarten only every other day.
For the most part the show was thoroughly entertaining and not didactic, with perhaps the exception being the quite long foray into the perils of public bathrooms. As poignant as it was, it lacked that slight bit of perspective and distance which allows Coyote to bring such impact and humour to most of the stories. However, the woman next to me called out "I hear ya!" many times during this piece, so it is obviously a subject which resonates strongly for many people. I like that Coyote is honest and personal but rarely panders to fashion, offering few easy answers about what makes a man or a woman or a queer or a butch.
The show took place at Club Push. While the festival is now over, look out for Tomboy Survival Guide, as I would be surprised if it doesn't play again.