This charming, uninhibited host of Playpen at the Cock and Otter Box at Macri Park might be leaving us pretty soon to fulfill his clarinet dreams, but he’s still giving us a lot to rock out with our cocks out to this summer. It’ll be a shame to maybe lose Shameless, so let’s enjoy him while we can!
Thotyssey: Hi Shameless! How’s it going tonight?
Shameless: Alright, thank you.
How long have people been calling you Shameless?
Since I picked the name “Shameless McGreedy” for the one time I did a boylesque number at Meaner Harder Leather about five years ago. I incorporated Irish dance into the number, “Lucky,“ and that name was fun and Irish-sounding.
And on Facebook, you’re Seamus O’Grady. Did any of the three or four people who saw Charlie’s Angels 2 tell you that that was the name of Justin Theroux’s villain from that movie?
They haven’t, and that’s actually my fake “real name” from when Facebook decided to police people’s identities. My legal name I’ll leave to your imagination. I dropped the “McGreedy” and just go by Shameless.
So, where are you from originally?
I’m from upstate New York, near Albany. I came here for school via Massachusetts and Texas.
What did you go to school for?
Clarinet performance. I’ve got three degrees in it now.
That’s cool, so you’re a classically trained musician! Have you ever incorporated the clarinet into a burlesque performance?
Nope, I only did boylesque that one time. However, i played the clarinet in a jockstrap in a friend’s show at Upright Citizen’s Brigade a few years back.
So your a Jack of All Entertaining Trades. When did you break into the bar scene?
What motivated you to try go-go dancing?
I lost 35 pounds after I moved here from Texas, and was just exploring my newfound self-confidence in my body and as a gay man.
I’ve been there, once upon a time! Okay, so… the Cock! Everyone who has been inside the Cock for five minutes, at any point in history, has Mad Stories. I’ll just say there’s a lot of playful interaction between consenting adults that happens there.
Well surprisingly, there are some tame hours at The Cock, for those who are more timid. A couple years ago, we started happy hour. We open at 9pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, and 6pm all the other days. Any time before 10pm, drinks are 2 for 1! Come after midnight any given night, and you’re liable to find someone down for a titillating time.
To actually work there and do your job, I guess you must either have to be very interested in what’s going on… or very divorced from it.
I’ve definitely grown over the course of my time there. I definitely threw myself into it head(s) first when I first started, and now I’ve sort of compartmentalized it. So, I’m simultaneously interested and divorced, if you know what I mean.
Totally. I had great experiences there in my swinging single years, and some terrible ones too. But I kept coming back! What do you think the allure of the Cock is?
Everyone knows about it, and everyone goes, whether they admit it or not. You can really find people from all walks of life there at any given time. I like working at The Cock because once you’re there, everyone is equal. You’re all at the fucking Cock, looking for the same thing. It’s what life was like before apps, and it’s usually more interesting.
Now mind you, that thing doesn’t have to be sex. Plenty of people go there to just have a drink with friends. It’s a pretty unassuming, no-attitude place.
Has the overall vibe or crowd changed since the newest location opened?
Well, we basically carried over all of the same parties. Now the venue has two floors. You’ll be upstairs for happy hour and most weeknights, and downstairs on the weekend nights (Fri-Sun). Friday and Saturday have both floors open so you can experience two different vibes. The basement is cool because it’s sort of dungeon-like and such a different aesthetic. The upstairs is very neighborhoody, but still dark and a bit kitschy, in a good way. We kept most things the same as Lit Lounge, the bar that was previously there.
That said, the upstairs on the weeknights is still a great time. It’s more spacious than the old location, and for Playpen Mondays I’ve done everything I can to keep the vibe the same.
I’m curious, what do the staff and patrons feel about women being there? Obviously not during happy hours or tamer nights; I mean, when you want to hook up and there’s a flock of bachelorettes there taking selfies? Or does that not really happen?
We have a door staff after 11pm, just like any other club. Obviously we don’t discriminate, but we definitely let them know what kind of bar it is and likely won’t let a bachelorette party in. I think that’s kind of a universal thing–a door person knows what kind of patron might cause more problems than fun inside. We also have a hard and fast rule about no photography.
You mentioned apps earlier… Do you think a generation of guys “raised” on these get the appeal of a cruisy environment like the Cock or the Eagle?
I’ve certainly tried to show them! I like to think I have had some success in it, too. Like I said, it’s not always cruisy either. Any experience is what you make of it. If you want your time at a bar to be fun, bring your idea of fun with you and act on it! That’s what is hard for some people to understand. You as the patron are as important to the experience as the bar and party staff. Don’t go to a club and expect everything to be handed to you; it’s about your attitude, and what you bring as well.
As far as the apps are concerned, I think everyone has a love-hate relationship with them. As I’ve gone from my early to late 20s, I definitely find that I get more sick of them than not. On an app, you’re going to find more of the same, and in a bar you’re more likely to have a unique experience each time. And that’s the thing. Going out is an experience. Scrolling through profiles and photos is a boring time waster that you can do anywhere. The affirming or negative results of electronic interactions are easier to handle, but the thrill of in-person interaction is incomparable when, they get the guts to do it.
You don’t have to name names, but have you ever seen any celebs playing around in the Cock?
Of course! They don’t usually do anything too “incriminating,” but on the right night you might catch them drinking a gin and tonic or Maker’s Mark.
It was actually my third Monday night party that I decided to bring back after we ended Snarky when One-Half NelSon moved to LA. The Cock is unique in that it’s usually the bartender who also plans the party, so I’ve brought in various DJs, go-gos, and occasionally hosts.
Playpen was my idea when I decided specifically to target a younger crowd. This time around, I brought Bobby on specifically for that purpose. I give free shots to boys who check their clothes, so it’s a nice thing for boys on a budget..
As far as people you book for that night, Honey Davenport is there a lot at Playpen. Is that a gig for her, or is she just there to be slutty? (Just kidding, I love her!)
She’s one of my DJs, and sometimes duos with DJ Neverland. Honey is one of the hardest-working queens I know! She has made it her life, and is constantly doing something.
I also kept Matty Glitterati from Snarky, and brought back Rico Alexis from the previous incarnation of Playpen. My roommate Aric Wolff does clothes check, and also runs Tuesday nights there. He was one of my first go-go dancers.
Vinny Vega’s gonna go-go dance this week! Aside from extreme hotness, why do you think he’s so popular? There’s a lot of hot go-go boys out there!
Yes, Vinny will be debuting at The Cock this Monday. I think part of his popularity is that he goes out and makes friends so easily. He’s such a nice guy. A talented photographer too!
There are indeed a lot of hot go-gos, and I definitely try to make sure that I keep a decent variety of “hot” at Playpen, especially those who are friendly! Nikco Fume, Jeremy Ward [who is also appearing this Monday], Hans Berlin and Alex Killborn are some of my other regularly appearing boys that you might know.
All gorgeous, and nice guys too. So Playpen is good for a younger crowd, are there better nights for older guys that you know of?
Any, really. Everyone is always welcome. The older one gets, the more likely one is to have a day job, so that makes Friday and Saturday a pretty good mix. It’s never exclusively just one thing.
We started it in January 2015 at The Flat. Macri Park is its third home.
It’s a very popular night. What’s the attraction?
It’s a boys’ night in Williamsburg. We occasionally throw in a short performance from a boylesquer, singer, dancer, or drag queen, but the emphasis is on dancing and conversation, geared toward scruffy Brooklyn boys. Our gogo boy most nights at Otter Box is RED. People love him! Youy’ll have to show up to find out who he is.
Recently we’ve added porn on the screens and a go-go, so that definitely helps set the sexy vibe. It’s not a cruising night per se, but I’ve definitely gone home with a boy once or twice afterward!
I’m not sure what your relationship status is, but can you pretty much get any guy you want to at any of these events? And if so, does that mojo extend to other venues, or the world at large?
Oh my! What a question. I’d say there is definitely a bit of a power play as a promoter. Also as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that I give off a bit of a daddy vibe (even though I’m not yet 30), so that helps too. Especially since I’ve started to embrace it rather than try to be thin, I have a sort of confidence now that I didn’t before.
That said, I’m certainly not everyone’s type. And at Otter Box, not every patron knows I’m hosting, so the power dynamic is sometimes removed.
I’m not currently in a relationship, and I don’t plan on getting into one either, as I’m moving to Miami in August for school. I’ve had a few boyfriends while in nightlife, but it’s difficult to sustain.
What field are you getting your degree in, by the way?
Clarinet performance. Yes, you can get degrees in it through the doctorate.
Congrats and good luck! Do you think you’re leaving New York and nightlife behind when you’re done with school?
Well, this is going to be my terminal degree before I enter the professional world, so I’m going to try and make more of my income in my artistic fields. I’ve toyed with the idea of remaining involved, and some of my more experienced nightlife friends told me it never leaves you. I have a definite life plan, but I’ve also learned recently to be open to any opportunity as it comes. It’s hard to say no to money!
As far as returning to NYC goes, it depends on my work life in Miami, or afterwards, if I get a job up here. In my field, I have to go where the job takes me.
What’s your Pride schedule?
Thursday night [June 23rd, I’ll be] bartending the Underwear Party at the West End with Bobby and Justin Luke. On Friday, catch me playing clarinet in a chamber music concert at the West End at 8pm. Then, Bathhouse with Brandon Voss. Saturday, I’m bringing my boys and bartending to the Cock. And Sunday is a special Pride edition of Otter Box.
Okay so, last question: when you’re finally retired and ready to write your memoirs, what will the title be?
I’ll hopefully be too busy playing clarinet and teaching Irish dance to write a memoir (I love those things and hope to do them my whole life). I guess a cute title could be The Road to Shamelessness.
I’ll be reading it someday. Thanks Shameless, and good luck with everything!
Shameless hosts Playpen Mondays at the Cock, and bartends there several other nights during the week. He also co-produces and hosts Otter Box at Macri Park on Sunday nights. On June 23rd, he’ll bartend the Pride Underwear Party at the West End. He’ll return to the West End on Friday, June 24th to play the clarinet in a chamber music section (8pm), and later that night he’ll appear at Bathhouse at XL. Shameless can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.