Stevie Jay returns after three years
Heeeeee's baaaaack! After a nearly three-year absence touring all over the U.S. and the U.K., Charlottesville-based performance artist Stevie Jay and his one-man show, Life, Love, Sex, Death and Other Works in Progress, returns to Gravity Lounge this week for a two-night stand.
"Walking around Charlottesville, people stop me everyday and ask, 'When are you doing the show again?'" he says. "I've been doing this show nine years. I've seen people walk in with skateboards and walkers in the same audience, and people still walk up to me and quote lines they heard way back then."
Using humor to tackle complex issues of everyday life, Stevie Jay says his "multi-chakra extravaganza" was born out of a disturbing trend he noticed almost a decade ago.
"People just stopped caring. Whether you're talking about global warming or war, the first thing you have to do is make people care," he says. "The catch-22 is how do you get people to care about not caring?"
To that end, Stevie Jay says he eschews big political and social issues and focuses on more tangible interpersonal conflicts.
"People lose track of what matters," he says, "and then a tragedy happens, and then they remember to pick up the phone and say, 'I love you.' What I hope to do is make people laugh, but also open the door to have those discussions."
The content of the show hasn't changed markedly since its debut, though Stevie Jay notes that audience reactions to certain sections have evolved dramatically.
"There's a line at the beginning of the show, 'How do you like the news?'" he says, "and people used to chuckle, 'ha-ha, the news sucks.' But ever since 9/11, I say that line, and there's a thud in the room."
On the other hand, Stevie Jay says it seems people's minds are more open to laugh about previously taboo topics.
"Sex is much more blatantly and publicly discussed," he says. "So when I start to talk about it, it's already more in people's minds, and they're more comfortable with it."
Those hoping to catch the sometimes bawdy show had better do so now, as Stevie Jay is working up a new production called "Falling Through the Cracks," which will premiere in the spring. However, much as he's looking forward to trying out new material, he says that he's content with his fans always identifying Life, Love, Sex, Death as "the show."
"This is about being able to stand there without any labels, stripping down to the soul, and saying 'I am a human being.' And to do that together with a couple hundred people is powerful," he says. "It's the source of the deepest pain, but also the deepest joy."
Tickets for Life, Love, Sex, Death, and Other Works in Progress are available in advance through Gravity Lounge's website or at the door when it opens at 6:30pm on Dec. 19 and 21. Showtime is 8pm.