- by Tito Bonito / december 4, 2018
Everything has a beginning and an end.
It is a simple fact that has helped me deal with the loss of a very special job for me. Late in 2017, I was cast in the only Cuban cabaret in Miami, El Tucan. An illustrious venue heavily inspired by Cuban nightclubs such as the world-renowned Tropicana; which also boasts entertainment from that very Habana club. In the six months I spent working for El Tucan I grew as both an artist and closer to my family. For that, I am eternally grateful.
I first heard of El Tucan around early 2016, I was scrolling through Instagram searching for new opportunities. I reached out but didn't really follow through on trying to reach out after my first audition. It wasn't until Donna Hood (of Tease If You Please) started performing in the venue. She bragged about me to the club and when Miami legend Karla Croqueta took over casting and producing the entertainment, the stars aligned for me to shine. I got booked in late November 2017 and I was ready.
One of my favorite memories from my time at El Tucan was the first time I performed. I was just performing and hadn't emceed yet, so I was dressed in my Cuban immigrant outfit. Floaties. Rhinestones. The Works. Remember, this venue hired many Cuban immigrants as well as the headlining talents were from Cuba. Everyone in the kitchen and backstage was looking at me like I was crazy, which in a way, I am. I had a woman turn the corner and literally say "what the...?" I shook it off and just before my music begins, I walk over to the side entrance and there are the owners and managers. I nervously dropped my maraca while fumbling with my one too many props, which shattered on the floor; in front of them. They looked at me and one of them said, "what are you going to do now?" as I was picking up the pieces off the ground. I threw the broken maraca away and grabbed another one from my pocket and said, "that's why you always have a Plan B." The music had just started so I opened the doors and rafted my way into the hearts of everyone at El Tucan.
Throughout the early part of 2018, I was a regular emcee and performer at the club. I worked several weekends there including celebrating the New Year. I gained an abundance of love, laughs, friendships, and victories which have been instrumental to my recent successes. The most cherished thing that came out of my time at El Tucan was my family being able to watch me in my best element. It was the perfect way to properly introduce them to the world of burlesque and neo-vaudeville. Besides my mother, the rest of my family had not seen me host a proper show nor had they seen me perform in years. I had honed in on my craft, polished my performances, and I was ready.
The final weekend was a little rough for me emotionally. Luckily, through art I have learned how to deal with loss in a positive way. Life goes on and the theatre never dies because you keep creating it. The public cabaret on the weekends stopped running for now and the nightclub is flourishing. I never get mad anymore when things come to an end because life always has a way of taking care of those who love fiercely. I have no regrets and I took full advantage of my time and living my dream in my hometown; even if it was just for a moment. But who knows? The future holds many wondrous surprises.