It was an unusually chilly Tuesday in New York City, and in the dimly lit lobby of the Ace Hotel, an equally unusual crowd gathered: a strange juxtaposition of queer Brooklynites Voguing to a Yo-Yo Ma remix and be-suited midtown professionals. They were gathered there for one thing: to watch the world-record holding hot-dog eating champion Takeru Kobayashi eat ramen noodles with the artist and drag queen West Dakota.
The event, called “Supper,” was masterminded by Maggie James, who is the cultural engineer of the Ace Hotel and who was floating through the space in a flowing, sheer red dress. Still, no one knew what to expect as they waited for their hosts to emerge. But in the middle of the warm space, a long dinner table was set for two people on the opposite ends with a bowl, a spoon, golden chopsticks, five glasses of water, and napkins decorated with a single fresh lipstick stain.
Out of nowhere, hotel servers brought out rows and rows of Cup Noodles. The abrupt violins of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 filled the hall, and the bright lights above the supper table flickered on. An alien green West Dakota emerged in an elegant black gown, followed by a tuxedo-clad purple Kobayashi — both very stern in their otherworldliness as they sat in their opposite places. And then cult nail artist @nailsbymei, wearing an absurdly long chain of nails on each finger, served them their Cup Noodles.
In sync, the two began to eat their noodles into microphones. A new mukbang opus echoed through the Ace: the sounds of slurps and lip-smacks over Beethoven’s concerto. Like passionate love-making, the slow burn escalated as Kobayashi downed each bowl of noodles faster and faster, finishing almost ten bowls in minutes. Before anyone could fully decipher what was happening, the pair got up from the table and left. Not yet comprehending the ASMR artistry they had just witnessed, the hungry audience snatched the leftover cups of noodles and walked away into the night.