Jada Yuan cornered the normally press-shy Simon Hammerstein at City Opera’s spring gala, and among other things he revealed that during his birthday party at his club the Box, he was dragged onstage to have his clothes ripped off (and you thought a shirtless Anthony Bourdain was bad…). What we really love, though, are his musings about what a reporter from the Times of London once called his “Jesus beard.”
What's your singing ability on a scale of 1 to 10?
Oh, minus 100. I'm tone-deaf. I got asked not to sing in the school choir. A teacher came over and asked, "Simon, would you mind not singing with everyone else … for the next four or five years?"
What happens if you get roped into a karaoke party?
I get asked not to participate. I don't even try anymore.
Do you ever sing?
Yeah, I'd like to learn some Johnny Cash songs. I sing to myself in the car, but never in public.
Ever gone onstage at the Box?
I got dragged onstage for my birthday not too long ago. They ripped my clothes off, put me in a bathtub, and covered me in Champagne.
Did you enjoy it?
Yeah. I was expecting something like that. They didn't catch me off guard. It was one of those surprise birthday parties where you have to act like you were surprised.
You're friends with Rufus Albermarle. Do you ever compare beards?
All the time. Mine has more color. His has more gray. Mine's more Jewish and curly. His is more regal and straight.
Do you ever feel each other's beards?
Every morning. His tickles my face when we kiss each other in the morning. Oh, it tickles! It's a love affair.
Ever think of entering the Williamsburg mustache-growing contest?
I think that might ruin my street cred.
What's the most operatic thing you've done today?
I cried this morning when I woke up and discovered Hillary Clinton had won Texas. Jesus. That's some serious shit right there.
Great Bears [Times of London]