Originally appeared on Grimy Goods.
Queer culture has its own vocabulary. In the ballroom scene, the term “legendary” is not meant as an exaggeration—it is reserved for veterans who dominate the runway every time they grace it. RuPaul has taught straight, white audiences terms like “read” and “shade.” Then there are celebrities who earn their own qualifier: it takes a certain personality and stage presence to become a “gay icon.”
LA’s up-and-coming disco diva Leo Paparella knows a little something about being iconic. He leads a trio of self-described “retro pop lunatics,” who don makeup and sequins at every opportunity. (When I asked how his straight bandmates felt about this, Paparella gushed about their maturity and respect: “They are beautiful, secure men.”) They perform neo-disco, their style of the genre that flourished in the ‘70s, using every facet of the music to honor those who made it as iconic as it was. And they call themselves Iconique.