A little-known piece of trivia about L.A. party icon Sean de Lear is that he’s certified to dive to 50 feet below sea level in open water. He recently got himself an underwater camera.
“The ocean has never been photographed at night,” he explains. “For me it’s about night photography and caves.”
(Photo by Kevin Scanlon)Could Sean de Lear be on to something again? From underground to underwater? De Lear, known as Sean Dee among friends, is one of the enduring fixtures of the L.A. nightlife scene going back to the 1980s and 1990s. In those days, he worked at the Viper Room and partied with the city’s most storied punks, gays and celebrities. He was singer of the legendary band Glue.
“I had false eyelashes on from probably 1986 to 2000,” he recalls, “pretty much every night of the week.”
Now Sean Dee is 43. He and his pet Chihuahua, Mr. French, and Gabrielle, his terrier-Chihuahua mix, live in a warm and rickety old house on a hill above Echo Park. He travels frequently to Vienna, where his art group Gelitin is based. Mr. French often goes with him. But Sean Dee’s still seen around town, hitting up bars and parties, swapping air kisses with rockers, drag queens, artists, B- and C-level celebrities, and all of the city’s gay underground royalty, of which de Lear remains a prominent member. He seems to know everyone. And everyone, at least those who’ve been around and have paid their dues, seem to know him.
“I don’t need to be famous —I’m not one of those people,” Sean Dee says. “I was born here and I grew up here and I’d rather just be kind of happy. And if it means selling your soul to the cocksuckers, I’d rather not, and just have a good time, because how much money do you really need?”