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Cool As Hell Theatre

April 27, 2007

When I first heard Michael Rice's Cool As Hell Theatre podcast a few years ago, I thought it was kind of weird. Here was this twenty-something guy spouting like an MC about "pimps and hustlers of the theatre world..." or something like that. Every episode, which featured an interview with an actor, director, producer or other performing arts person (he even talked to critics -- me included) about their work and their view on the state of theatre in the Bay Area and beyond, would finish with "the stupid ass question segment." In this segment, Rice would rip through a battered paperback full of idiotic questions. The time he interviewed me, I was asked if I'd rather mud wrestle in a bikini or slam beer cans against my head. I chose the former.

There's something so fresh and fun about Rice's approach. It's so far removed from the typical stuffy theatre commentaries you find. He's always laughing with his guests and getting them to lighten up. It's great. But it's not all fluff: He asks serious questions and gets people to talk about the art and their work in an engaging way. Issues are covered. Debates unfold.

So I was extremely happy to hear that Rice's podcast has now been picked up by KQED. I gather from Rice's announcement, which popped into my in-box last night, that the producers are going to let him do his shtick just the way he's always done it. I just subscribed to the podcast via iTunes. Hopefully he'll turn more pimps and hustlers on to theatre.

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