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A DECADE OF SCOUT'S HONOR

- by Tito Bonito / AUGUST 1, 2024

 

 

 

           

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PHOTO BY IRIS RAY (2017)

Ten years ago, I decided to develop a routine that would become, arguably, my most well-known act.

 

It all came together in the summer of 2012, when Mr. Exotic World 2009, Hot Toddy was auditioning dancers to create his next “Stage Door Johnnies”. For those who do not know, the SDJ (mostly Bazuka Joe) was a big part of the blueprint that is Tito Bonito. I had to be a part of this. According to Toddy, no one promising auditioned outside of myself and he recommended me just doing my own thing since I had already been performing for two years at this point. He then gifted me the idea of a “boy scout” routine and that I’d be “pitching a tent,” so to speak and encouraged me to make it my own.

 

The idea I went with was to make a comedic yet political commentary on the Boy Scouts of America, who, at the time, were very anti-gay. I wanted to be a really gay scout.

 

Shortly after, I moved to Los Angeles and started building my life here. In 2013, I finally got the nerve to buy a secondhand scout uniform and put it on stage. As a “trial and error” artist, I tried a few different songs before finding the one that would inevitably become “the” music. At one point I performed to Spice Girls “Too Much” while eating a chocolate cake for a food-themed show. More than once, I used Kelis’ “Milkshake” while drinking a milkshake? For what reason? I’m still not sure.  A huge moment in the act, the “assels”, wasnt even a part of the routine until 2015 when I was inspired to start using them after watching Bunny Gee.

 

It wasn’t until August 2014, when I came back to Chicago for the first time since moving, when I was working at Hydrate Nightclub with Shea Coulee that I heard Nicki Minaj’s song "Anaconda." The minute it started I remember looking to Shea sharply and asking, “what mashup is this?!” Once I started performing to “Anaconda” the rest truly was history.

 

I finally upgraded my costume in 2017, in order to compete at Burlesque Hall of Fame. Thankful to Nikita Bitch Project, Indigo Blue, Varla VaVoom, and my mom, for helping me with my costume. Varla made the shorts, Nikita added snap to my shirt, Indigo Blue sent me a TON of patches from Troops past for good luck, and my mom sowed the patches to my sash. It is because this act won at BHOF that I was able to tour it across Japan in 2024 with TheAmericanBurlesque.com.

 

My top favorite moments with this act have been winning “Most Comedic” at BHOF and when I was FINALLY (after 5 years) able to make a duet version with @JessThndr (who convinced me to submit that act to BHOF instead of what I wanted to originally send). Although, I have absolutely had many incredible experiences traveling the world with this act; here’s a Top 10 Countdown of the ones who gave me the best videos. 😜 

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