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OU's Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art to host performance of sci-fi feminist rock opera 'Out There'

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Alexis Gideon Michael O'Neill

Performance art duo Princess, comprised of Alexis Gideon and Michael O'Neill, will perform from 6–8 p.m. Oct. 23 in Meacham Auditorium in the Oklahoma Memorial Union.

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art will bring a performance art band to Norman on Oct. 23 as part of a grant from the Norman Arts Council.

Princess, a multi-disciplinary art performance duo, will perform the sci-fi feminist rock opera “Out There.”

The show is part-live musical performance and part-video art installation. The show explores the themes of “toxic masculinity and the role men ought to be playing during the current cultural reckoning of misogyny,” according to the band’s website

The duo will perform in the Oklahoma Memorial Union on Oct. 23 through a Sudden Opportunity Support, or SOS, grant from the Norman Arts Council provided to the museum to bring the band to campus. 

The SOS grant is provided for projects that either fall outside of the council’s yearly grant cycle or require funding less than a year in advance, according to the Norman Art Council’s website

Lesha Maag, museum director of audience development, applied for the grant to bring the duo to campus. Maag said she was fascinated by Princess’ work. 

Princess is a duo comprised of Michael O'Neill and Alexis Gideon, two people “unified in their bond of not quite fitting in,” according to their bio. The duo’s work centers around masculinity and gender. 

O’Neill and Gideon premiered “Out There” at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in March 2019 and have since toured across the United States at various art spaces, galleries and universities. Their tour continues through November. 

“I thought immediately of the student body, and then the larger community of Norman,” Maag said. 

Bringing a diverse perspective on issues like gender is something she feels is crucial to empathy and understanding, Maag said.

“Some people in the audience will relate immediately. They will have shared life experiences that they share with the duo, and then some people ... it may be the first time they've ever heard it,” Maag said.

Maag said the collaborative effort of “Out There” struck a chord with her because the show incorporates so many artistic mediums, utilizing visual art, music and stop-motion film. She said she felt it would relate to students in various departments across campus. 

While the museum has featured performance art through various events such as poetry readings and dance performances, this is the first time it will bring something so comprehensive and multi-faceted, Maag said. 

Princess will perform “Out There” from 6–8 p.m. Oct. 23 in Meacham Auditorium in the Oklahoma Memorial Union. The performance will be followed by a Q&A with the band.

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