Runtime: 6 Episodes
Creators: Johnnie Ingram, Steve Warren
Stars: Eureka: David Huggard, Shangela: D.J.Pierce, Bob the Drag Queen: Caldwell Tidicue
By Peggy Marie
Found this gem almost by accident on HBO and immediately fell head over heels for it. “We’re Here” is about real-life stories with 3 drag queens – Eureka (David Huggard), Shangela (D.J. Pierce) and Bob the Drag Queen (Caldwell Tidicue) who traverse small-town America where they have residents from each town participate in a one night only drag show.
Honestly, not being someone who watches reality TV in general, not knowing what to expect as I started watching “We’re Here” was a given. But what a fantastic surprise this was as what you get could maybe be best described as ‘trans-formative’ and in more ways than just gender identification.
This show is about not only just about empowerment – but the stories behind this empowerment – and that is what makes it important. These three gorgeous gay drag queens who headline the show travel to a different town each episode – from Spartanburg, WE, Ruston, LA, to Farmington, NM, Branson, MO, Twin Falls, ID, and finally Gettysburg, PA – all the while spreading the drag gospel to the unenlightened by introducing them to the world of drag. Some people are resistant to these “drag evangelists,” but the townspeople who participate in or attend the drag show display a sense of excitement and joy similar to what some might experience in watching a concert, play or even an opera – something that moves you to your deepest core.
“This show is about not only just about empowerment – but the stories behind this empowerment – and that is what makes it important.”
It is amazing to see how performing in drag unleashes the power in some people who have been repressed and/or suppressed by society in whichever manner it has been. From whether it being the small-town mentality of whether you can be gay and religious or coming upon a gay, indigenous photographer who wants to showcase his Native American background or the mother who shunned her daughter and now does a drag show to try and tell her that she was wrong and loves her no matter who she is.
When common folk, too often looked down upon by the community for their sexual orientation, can unabashedly display a cross-gender identity and proudly expose their inner selves, it truly becomes an amazing moment and event for everyone. Be warned – the language while not profane in the slightest, is raw and uncensored, but otherwise, this is entertainment for the whole family. It has the humour, charm, beauty, wisdom and emotion we all need now, during this time of crisis that is keeping us isolated, sometimes angry and down spirited, even more than usual.
Just know that I laughed. I cheered. I cringed. I cried. All happy tears! Entertainment proper, yes this is. Most of all it’s the storytelling behind each person and town that will have you in tears at the end of every episode even the final one which had to go unfinished due to Covid-19 and production being halted, but they delve into their own experiences of coming into drag and being in the national spotlight like this.
It’s a much-needed watch for the close-minded among us.