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Performance duo Princess satirizes social media with one-minute songs

Princess performs "@1minworld" live accompanied by projected animations.
Princess performs "@1minworld" live accompanied by projected animations.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s more common — people using social media or people complaining about it.

And it’s not all about Twitter’s fate under Elon Musk. From op-ed writers to the guy on the next barstool, everybody’s got an opinion about how the likes of Facebook and Instagram have warped the culture.

So what’s different about “@1minworld,” the new show satirizing social media by performance duo Princess?

For one, its format: The show is composed of a series of original one-minute songs that Princess performs live, accompanied by humorous, candy-hued projected animations illustrating the foibles of social media. For another, Princess’ goal is to commiserate humorously about social media rather than scold people for using it.

“It’s not from an academic standpoint of ‘This is what’s wrong, and this is the effect it’s having on our brains,’” said Pittsburgh-based vocalist Alexis Gideon. “It’s more emotional and human. So, I think that’s what we’re bringing to it: that we can share this space in this moment and kind of look at these things together.”

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The show premieres with a performance Sat., May 20, as part of The Andy Warhol Museum’s Sound Series to launch a 12-city tour. Gideon and longtime, Brooklyn-based collaborator Michael O’Neill perform the show wearing pop-art-adorned mini-dresses. Gideon raps the lyrics to the electro-pop songs while O’Neill plays keyboards and provides backing vocals.

In those ways, the show broadly resembles 2019’s “Out There,” Princess’ “science-fiction feminist rock opera,” which also toured nationally.

In “@1minworld” — pronounced “One-Minute World” — the thematic focus is tighter. The duration of the one-minute songs was inspired by the old 60-second time limit on TikTok videos.

In one tune, the singer — alongside an animation of fetus in utero — pleads for attention for his feed: “Look at my kid, y’all, look at my kid / Look at this sandwich / You’re gonna need a lot of bandwidth …”

In another track, the insecure singer, desperate for likes, contemplates his fellow social-media users: “They’re all so cool it’s like I’m always in high school.”

In addition to things like shortened attention spans and social isolation, Gideon said “@1minworld” also addresses “things like surveillance capitalism and how our information is being sold and how we’re being surveilled at all times and how our information becomes a commodity. And how cheaply we sell it and how freely.”

The song cycle runs about 15 minutes, followed by another section of the show whose content Gideon prefers to keep a surprise.

Gideon said the duo’s self-imposed limits on song length was a fun experiment in itself: “When we were writing it, it was actually quite amazing to realize how much you could accomplish in one minute.”

The May 20 show also marks the releases of a limited-run vinyl pressing of “@1minworld.”

More information on the show is here.

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: