Kevin Allison to host “RISK!” live in Minneapolis

The not-quite-politically-correct podcast taping will feature storytellers from the Twin Cities.

Kevin Allison created the storytelling podcast in 2009 as a space for any kind of story.

Photo courtesy of Gene Silvers

Kevin Allison created the storytelling podcast in 2009 as a space for any kind of story.

Jackie Renzetti

Amid the political correctness of âÄúThis American LifeâÄù and âÄúThe Moth,âÄù Kevin Allison set out to create a space where people can tell any kind of story. Allison hosts the podcast âÄúRISK!,âÄù which consists of autobiographical stories from both prolific and everyday storytellers. Now in its sixth year, the show airs weekly with a different theme, and in addition to radio stories, âÄúRISK!âÄù also creates live shows. Allison regularly tours across the country, featuring storytellers in their respective cities. On Friday, he will hold a show themed âÄúShockâÄù in Minneapolis. âÄúThere are a lot of wonderful storytelling shows out there, but there is a tendency to want to keep things within the boundaries of very socially acceptable, very politically correct, very OK to listen to this story while youâÄôre driving your kids to soccer practice,âÄù Allison said. âÄúWhereas on âÄòRISK!,âÄô we make a very conscious effort to let everyone know that there is nothing off limits.âÄù At a previous show in Minneapolis, storyteller Amy Salloway performed a story titled âÄúVulnerable Adult.âÄù She also has contributed a radio story for the podcast. âÄúâÄòRISK!âÄô acknowledges all the different kinds of risk in the world; it acknowledges all the types of scary and provocative and daunting things that swing over peoplesâÄô heads,âÄù Salloway said. In the episode titled âÄúNancy Sullivan,âÄù the storyteller talks about how she had been molested as a child. Allison said about a week after the show aired, he heard again from Sullivan. âÄú[Sullivan said], âÄòNow that weâÄôve worked on the story together to put it out publicly and I know itâÄôs out there âĦ I feel like IâÄôve kind of owned it and stepped on top of it,âÄô and that was really super meaningful for me to hear,âÄù Allison said. âÄúWe get emails pretty much every day now saying, âÄòOh my gosh, this podcast saved my life.âÄôâÄù Salloway said she has heard from people after sharing stories and has written to thank people after hearing their pieces. âÄúThat is the best thing to hope for, [to have listeners] reflect on their own and say, âÄòIâÄôm not alone, IâÄôm not crazy, IâÄôm not isolated, other people have gone through this,âÄôâÄù Salloway said. When Salloway performed for a live taping in Minneapolis, the audience was empathetic and responsive, she said. âÄúKevin is such a warm host and said right at the top of the show, âÄòAfter the show, IâÄôm going to go hang out at the bar across the street, and if you want to come talk with us, do it.âÄô And we did. The audience totally did follow him across the street, and it was this totally diverse group of people who had never sat and talked. And I just thought that was so cool,âÄù Salloway said. Allison said he is looking to incorporate more stories from people who the public doesnâÄôt often hear from, specifically those who are homeless and people serving time in jail. Storytellers can submit pitches to Allison via email. âÄúI read those pitches, and then I start communicating with those people back and forth to find the stuff thatâÄôs most fascinating,âÄù Allison said. When preparing a podcast for a live recording, Allison meets with the storytellers for a coaching session. âÄúIâÄôll give them the recording so they can decide whether they want to do this. âĦ I always want to give support and courage; IâÄôll never put out a story until the person feels ready,âÄù Allison said. Salloway said AllisonâÄôs feedback left a permanent imprint on her storytelling. âÄú[Allison said], âÄòAt any given point, I would rather have you be honest than funny,âÄôâÄù Salloway said. âÄúFor the ending, he said, âÄòIâÄôd rather have it be true than easy.âÄô âĦ Everywhere else in the world you are told to wrap up a story beautifully and completely and with a perfect red bow. âĦ ThereâÄôs a kind of authenticity that you donâÄôt find other places,âÄù Salloway said. âÄúRISK!âÄù Live Show and Podcast Taping Where Brave New Workshop, 824 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis When 7:30 p.m. Friday Cost $22