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The Fabulous Rusty Waters

rusty waters

Go with the Flow – Rusty Waters Is Your Reigning Club Queen

By Kevin Perry

Pop culture has experienced a marvelous makeover in the past decade. A RUnaissance, if you will. Gender is bending, twisting and sashaying in fabulous new directions, and Rusty Waters leads the march.

She is the emcee of OMG, the hostess with the moistest, and the desert diva presiding over many of the drag shows at Hunters and throughout Palm Springs.

“I can’t believe there’s this magical Disneyland for gay men and women out here in Palm Springs. How awesome is that?”

Rusty plants her rainbow flag in unexpected places (ouch!), transforming the mundane midweek into an intoxicating journey that rivals the best of reality TV.

rusty waters

Wednesday has become like our must-see day at Hunters in Palm Springs

“One of the biggest, most fun things that I produce is our Spotlight Drag Competition, which takes place for an eight week run. And then we usually turn it into a feature on local talent in between rounds of competition on Wednesday nights after bingo at 8:30 pm. It’s all the things you love about Drag Race, but amped up to a 10.”

risque drag review

“Insane, crazy challenges, a whole lot of performers from all different levels of experience, from brand new baby queens to pageant girls that have been doing it for years, enter this competition. And they just turn out these amazing, creative performances and looks in the confines to these challenges. And it’s one of the hottest tickets in town. I mean, everybody, for a Wednesday night show, it’s packed. Everybody. It’s like a Friday night. Everyone wants to see what these girls are going to do.”

But the fun doesn’t end on Wednesday.

drag me to bingo

Ms. Waters rages joyously throughout the week.

In addition to the aforementioned bingo shenanigans, she hosts a delicious drag brunch at Hunters every Saturday and keeps the attitude flowing into Sunday nights with the Risqué Revue.

Oh, she serves realness, honey, and her diligence pays dividends for the entire LGBTQ’mmunity. “Hunters contributes quite a bit to different charities all year round and they do so quietly,” explains Rusty. “They’re not really looking for a lot of fame and fortune out of it. They just kind of do it and don’t really say much about it, which I think speaks volumes to them. They’re not just doing it for recognition, they’re doing it for the right reasons and I love that. I try to kind of do the same thing. We do a lot of fundraising and charity work here and there throughout the year. I certainly donate my time to a lot of events.”

Staying Strong

“Unfortunately during the pandemic, we were all, as performers, kind of out of work for that period of time. And I took the opportunity to start up a drag jewelry business and do live jewelry auctions every Monday at 5:00 pm on the Touch of Elegance jewelry page on Facebook.

rusty waters touch of elegance

And I work with a select group of jewelers that I really respect. They have also taken a lot of time to show me some tips and tricks and improve my abilities in my workmanship along the way. And we all got together and decided that even though we’re all over the country, it’d be great if we all worked together to kind of raise money for our own individual, local charities.

We all decided to take our weekly option and donate a set, and whatever funds we could get from that set to our own individual charities. I chose the Desert Rose Playhouse, as I’d worked with them for quite some time and done some shows with them.  They are LGBTQ-owned and operated, focusing on gay stories. And I thought that’s really important to have that representation, especially in a town like Palm Springs. So it’s great to kind of give back to them and help them continue giving back to the community. And I was able, in one set of jewelry, to raise $1,000 to send their way.”

desert rose theater

Palm Springs Magic

What is eternally refreshing about Queen Waters is how she blends bravado with aw-shucks earnestness. Rusty regards Palm Springs as a rare discovery, like one of the gems in her bespoke collection.

Progress should never be taken for granted. As an ambassador of inclusion, Rusty works hard to keep her queendom moving ever forward.

“I think we all have to worry about outside influences and people still, even in this day and age, looking down on you or potentially causing harm if you were openly gay in the street or in the middle of the night or what have you. Palm Springs is one of those few places we have to worry about that a little less. And people are really embraced and welcomed to be themselves and be who they are, and that’s such a huge part of what the Palm Springs magic is, that we have to continue pushing that forward and continue making sure that it stays that way as Palm Springs grows and is attracting more and more people of all different walks of life, that all of those people are welcome. And we want Palm Springs to grow, but we also wanted to remain this gay haven for people to be who they are.”

dusty rose

Pulling back the royal curtain, Rusty changes the subject to editorial etiquette. “Let me ask this, just to be frank. Is the word bitches acceptable or no?”

With that bit of politeness out of the way, she winds up for her big finale.

“It’s kind of a sign off that I do at the end of every show. It’s kind of my Walter Cronkite moment that I always thank everybody for being there and giving love and support and energy to all of our performers in Palm Springs. Not just at my shows, but everywhere. Because without local entertainers, we would lose a huge part of the magic that is Palm Springs. So as I always say at the end of every show, until next time, bye bitches!”

Hunters Nightclub & Bar – 302 E Arenas Road

(760) 323-0700

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