BLOG Reno Uncategorized

Live story-telling highlights real RISKS!

March 12, 2014


Before I discovered RISK!, I can’t remember the last time I purposely drove the long way home. It was taking up my music listening time – no, not just taking it up, it was dominating it. I listened to RISK! for five hours the first day I tuned in. In the kitchen I laughed over stories of homosexual nudists adventures. I cringed as I listened to a woman speak about almost killing her mother at a young age. I sobbed in my car as I took that long way home, learning about the realities of miscarriage and adoption on all fronts.

I am a storyteller, and I have based my life around words and the power they hold if we give them weight. The concept of RISK! – a podcast of stories that people never thought they would dare tell in public – is the kind of thing that is the heartbeat behind humanity. These are the things that connect us and make us human – the telling of our lives and experiences. It’s easy to keep it bottled up inside, but comedian and RISK! creator Kevin Allison has produced a platform of storytelling that inspires people to want to keep telling.

Like the stories told on this podcast, its roots grew from Allison’s real life experience. After a friend commented on how he hoped Allison would start telling some of his own stories on stage, the element of risk involved with such full disclosure eventually turned into the now monthly event that takes place in both Los Angeles and New York City. Allison starred in the mid-90’s show The State on MTV, and since leaving to create RISK!, some prominent names in acting and comedy have been featured on his podcast, such as Sarah Silverman and Janeane Garofolo.

It seems to be what he noticed most about the success of this live story-telling was in the reactions of the audience. It’s not quite theater, and it’s not quite stand-up comedy. The stage offers a place for humans to talk about themselves and their relation to the world. What began to happen was an organic process – a purging, if you will. People feel like they can relate to a person more when they can look them in the eye. That relationship becomes stronger when they start to talk about things people can identify in themselves. It’s a safe place to feel vulnerable about something you probably would never divulge on such a public level.

This idea of live story-telling has done exactly, what I think, Allison’s intentions were: it’s helped people to see the value of the meaningful relationships they have with other people. It’s easy to believe that our lives are not paramount in comparison to what is falsely portrayed on TV and in the media, but this … this highlights the little moments in our lives that really do shape the people we are, the way we think, and why we take the risks we do.

Homeslice Productions, Fresh Bakin’ and “Welcome to Cincinnati, NV” are proud to present RISK! on April 4 at 9 p.m. at the National Automobile Museum. RISK! is a live storytelling show and podcast featuring Kevin Allison. The theme of the night will be “mixed emotions.” 18+ only, tickets are $15 in advance and $20 day of show. Doors to museum at 7 p.m., theater at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. Purchase tickets online through or at The Melting Pot World Emporium.

BLOG South Lake Tahoe Uncategorized

The Experience of the Emancipator Ensemble

March 5, 2014

Whether any of us want to admit it or not, stereotypes are a very real and existent thing in our society. Most of the time, it’s just a subconscious notion that gives meaning to it, almost without realization.

In the world of electronic music and musicians, there are A LOT of stereotypes that people either try to actively fill or avoid. Doug Appling, who is the driving force behind the Emancipator Ensemble, is now playing by a hallmark of today’s electronic music: that is, taking his experience from live instrumentation and incorporating it in. With the addition of now an entire band, it seems irrelevant what stereotypes are being fulfilled or avoided here.

For myself, listening to and researching the Emancipator Ensemble helped me realize that I do it the most with location. Natural as it might be to assume that the majority of electronic music artists either hail from the west coast, Denver, or the New York City area, it’s some of the most interesting that come from … Virginia? It explains quite a bit about Doug Appling’s work as an artist, and the Emancipator sound that he has built to stand out.

Imagine for a moment that Appling’s roots didn’t stem from Virginia, an area of the country  known for its vast rolling hills of green and quiet country.

Would his music then be so atmospheric?

Appling has been quoted many times as saying that nature has deeply influenced his music. Yeah, that’s easy to imagine – particularly when early promoters were comparing him to Bonobo in order to get his name out there in association with a sound. Like much of my favorite music, it has a very fluid sound to it, something that can easily be inspired by spending a lot of time in nature.

He’s played at festivals far and wide, which allow for a wide audience to hear his mood-inducing music. Like many artists before him, he started out with what we’ll call “real” instruments, which only adds to his success as an electronic artist.

What really sets the Emancipator Ensemble apart, though, is his right hand man, violinist Ilya Goldburg. The two met in Colorado a few years ago through a mutual friend and have been “chilling out, making music” ever since. Now Appling has taken his appreciation of music in its purest form one step further and is joined by a full band on his West Coast Tour. All members will combine both live instrumentation with electronic aspects to create the Emancipator Ensemble, which should make for one hell of an atmospheric, ambient time. As I’ve always talked about, I think it has become apparent in today’s electronic music world that in order to move forward, your success depends on going back to your roots, and Appling is doing that to further himself.

However, if you play a Pandora station based off of his music, things like Zero 7 and Beats Antique come up. This isn’t necessarily classifiable as electronic music, as it relies heavily on – once again – a natural sound. It’s rather an experience that has to be had in it totality, adding to the progression of this genre of music.

There isn’t a lot that I can find about the more personal workings of Appling’s life and inspiration, which is why I would like to meet him when he performs with Slow Magic and NYM in Montbleu this April. There is clearly an abundance of feeling and care that goes into the production of his music, which inspires fans like myself to want to know where he learned this ability to care or things such as music, and how else he channels both music and nature into his everyday life.


Fresh Bakin’ and Mindful Massive are proud to present the Emancipator Ensemble, Slow Magic and NYM at Montbleu in South Lake Tahoe on April 2. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 day of show. 21+, music at 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.