My Journey to BHOF (Part 2)
by Tito Bonito
Fernando Guerrero and Psyko Boys
The dynamic of “boylesque” has always had its place in the revival of vaudeville. Although, women are more likely to be seen dancing in shows than their counterparts, respectable men are equally invited to tease along. Over the past few decades, some incredible male talents have graced stages across the globe such as Tigger!, the Stage Door Johnnies, Waxie Moon, Jacques Patriaque, and Mod Carousel, to name a very small few. This year, I am honored to be one of five artists competing for the coveted title of the Burlesque Hall of Fame’s “Best Boylesque” 2017.
Now, the pressure of any performance is something I, lovingly, struggle with every time I’m about to go in front of an audience. As a mostly self-taught entertainer, I have overcome many battles with stage fright over the past six years, and in doing so, I have made my peace with it. Yay, trial and error! Perhaps that is why I am feeling confident. I have done this act [“Scout’s Honor”] so many times and in so many different types of spaces and venues. I am probably most comfortable performing it and I know this routine like the back of my hand.
The first time I heard Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” was with Shea Couleé (who is currently up for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”) at her show in Chicago, 2014. Immediately I spoke to Chi-town burlesque icon Po’ Chop about adapting the song into my Boy Scout routine and it all came together. The changes helped further my comedic commentary on femininity within a masculine social construct. A narrative that just so happens to have changed since I first started doing this act. Originally, the Boy Scouts of America had unfavorable opinions on LGBT members. Thankfully, in the past few years, that has begun to change and I know that I had nothing to do with that. 😉
I do know that one reason I am feeling assured this time around is the tremendous support I have received from my community. Everyone whom I have come in contact with recently (both at shows and online) have been extremely congratulatory. I tell everyone, every time, that I truly am honored to be showcasing at all. I mean it’s the Hall of Fame! I am just ready to have the time of my life. Yet I know the real ‘butterflies’ won’t kick in until June 3!
There is only one month left until this year’s BHoF and the biggest challenge I have to face is my costuming. Previously I called my costuming “notoriously underwhelming” and this is something I am changing. My biggest motivation is my drive to always outdo myself and to make this performance better than any other time that I have done it in the past. As I have said before, whether I “win” or “lose”, I have already won. I have never performed in more than two festivals in a year and this year (so far) I will be headlining EIGHT *(a list of this year’s festivals attached below). I made a career doing something that I truly love and I’m proud to say there is so much more to come.
Emerald City Comicon (Seattle – March 2017)
Seattle Boylesque Festival (Seattle – April 2017)
Toronto Burlesque Festival (Canada – May 2017)
Hollywood Burlesque Festival (Los Angeles – May 2017)
Burlesque Hall of Fame (Las Vegas – June 2017)
Oklahoma Burlesque Festival (June 2017)
FIERCE! Burlesque Festival (Pittsburgh – July 2017)
Calgary Burlesque Festival (Canada – October 2017)