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She’s Got It! : Eureka O’Hara Makes Provincetown Debut at Town Hall

by Steve Desroches

The last time Provincetown saw Eureka O’Hara she was running through the cemetery being chased by freakish, talentless, humanoid zombie vampires. This was of course part of her guest spot on American Horror Story: Double Feature, in which she played the ultimately-doomed local drag queen Crystal DeCanter. Though O’Hara is already part of Provincetown’s psyche and lore, she’s never even been here, as her scenes were shot in Studio City, California.

O’Hara laughs when she thinks about her character’s campy demise and then sputters a slight cough. The air is dry in Las Vegas. It’s a far cry from Provincetown, which, on this particular July day, is on a continual pattern of rain and thunderstorms. O’Hara, one of the breakout stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is a southern girl by birth but now makes Sin City her home. And the desert air has her parched. But no worries; nothing keeps Eureka down, and nothing—absolutely nothing—can silence her. She is known for her big-girl body positivity, scene-stealing performance chops, and for returning to Drag Race following a knee injury in the previous season and nearly winning the crown.

Since her star-turning appearances on the pop culture phenomenon, O’Hara has been everywhere, and not just in the usual spots drag queens might traditionally appear. But these aren’t normal times, both good and bad. On the positive side, there are more opportunities for drag than ever before and that has led to O’Hara not only being in American Horror Story, but also the star of the hit HBO show We’re Here, where she, Bob the Drag Queen, and Shangela Too-Wong-Foo-it across America, going to small towns to organize a community drag show as well as tour the country with her own show, including taking to the stage at Town Hall this Thursday in her Provincetown debut. The downside to these times and the increasing popularity of drag in the mainstream is the ongoing conservative backlash that has labeled the beloved fixtures of the LGBTQ community as “groomers” and a threat to children, making this a frightening time for the drag community.

“The climate is terrible, but at the same time there’s more drag than ever,” says O’Hara. “I actually blame all this legislation targeting drag. This is what started all this anti-drag backlash. It’s never been like this and now suddenly drag is a problem. It’s all manufactured and just trying to make people afraid. It’s that fear factor that’s used to control how people think, to basically brainwash them into thinking they’re in danger. It makes them afraid. But what are they afraid about? Drag queens don’t hurt anybody. We’re not out to hurt anyone. We just want to make sure nobody hurts us!”

O’Hara’s success and visibility, as well as her ability to communicate what drag is and means, has landed her on everything from the PBS Newshour to National Public Radio addressing the myths, lies, and bigotry continually being thrown at the LGBTQ community, and especially at transgender people and drag queens, of which O’Hara is both. In addition, O’Hara grew up in a small town in East Tennessee and knows what it’s like to feel like an outsider and the pain of living in a town that acts like it doesn’t want you there. But O’Hara triumphed, and continues to do so, taking all the challenges in as fuel to continue to celebrate the LGBTQ community and those pushed to the fringes of society.

The show We’re Here has in and of itself become a drag phenomenon. As the trio of drag superstars travel the country to put on one-night-only drag shows starring the residents of towns like Selma, Alabama, Watertown, South Dakota, and Twin Falls, Idaho, the show brings the art form to people who might not have access to live drag. And in turn, it shows the nation that rural, red-state America is more complicated than our severely bifurcated culture shows. Sadly, the production has had to significantly increase security around the show as it hops from town to town, due to increasing threats. However, as We’re Here’s popularity attests, there is a growing audience for this kind of narrative and it’s being rewarded with multiple Emmy Award nominations as well as winning a prestigious Peabody Award, presented by the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communication, for excellence in broadcasting. It’s been a fulfilling and emotional experience for O’Hara.

“I don’t think I’ve so much learned anything new, but more I’ve remembered,” says O’Hara. “I grew up in a small town and it was rough. What I have learned is that much of the world isn’t ready for the whole truth. I have an opportunity to share my experiences. It’s an opportunity to show queer people exist. And it’s an opportunity to show that drag is an expression of that existence. It’s also an opportunity to let queer people out there in these small towns know that they are loved.”

For all of O’Hara’s work, advocacy, and activism, it should be noted that she is hilarious, and an O’Hara drag show brings down the house wherever she performs. And as she continues to conquer the world, she’s thrilled to add Provincetown to her drag merit badges of places she’s performed, especially with this town’s unrivaled drag legacy. And as she thinks of taking to the stage at Town Hall, her voice lifts and begins to sparkle. It’s time to drop the defenses and go on the offense by celebrating drag, embracing joy, rejecting fear, and having a good time.

“Oh honey, it’s going to be big,” says O’Hara. “I’m six-foot-four out of heels; I can’t help but be big. Big hair, funny and vulgar jokes, and fierce clothes. We’re talking big-girl realness. I got some stories, some tea. We’re all just gonna have a good time, honey, I promise you that.”

Eureka O’Hara performs at Provincetown Town Hall, 260 Commercial St., Thursday, July 13 at 8:30 p.m. Produced by the Provincetown Business Guild tickets ($45-$155) are available at and at the door if not sold out. O’Hara will also appear at the Bear Week Weiner Roast and Pool Party on Friday, July 14 at the Brass Key Guesthouse, 67 Bradford St. Tickets ($55-$99) are also available at For more information call 508.487.2313.

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Graphic Artist

Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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