Thursday, July 28, 2011

Woeful Spotlight: Denise Robichau

One of your stories in Mug of Woe is about your Mom.  Tell us a funny story about your Mom.
A funny story about my mother:  Hmm.  So many half-baked stories in my head.  Here's a quick snapshot of a time she stood apart from the other mothers in our neighborhood.  Way back in the 70s, our neighborhood decided to have a block party.  Someone dragged a big TV out onto the street with mega-extension cords to play movies and cartoons.  There was potluck food from everyone on our street.  Games, contests, all of the cliches like potato sack and three-legged races.  On our street, two moms were named "Pat," mine and Mrs. McKeon.  For some reason that became a source of competition, who was the Alpha Pat.  At least that's how I imagine it in my look back on childhood.  One of the prizes kids were given out during the contests were paddle balls -- the wooden paddle with a rubber string and small rubber ball hanging from it. My mom was pretty good with it, having just the right wrist action.  For some reason, smack talk arose and the gauntlet was thrown down to the other Pat for a paddle ball contest.  My normally shy, school teacher mom, girded her loins for battle.  It was epic.  I remember her as a paddle ball warrior who totally dominated psychologically and physically, paddling for a hushed crowd into the hundreds.  She wiped the mat with the other Pat and declared herself town paddle ball champion.  For weeks, she'd pick one up around the house and bat it around a bit, feeling the weight of the rubber ball and the pull of the string, and then go back to her usual chores.
A theme park wants to build a ride based on you. What type of ride would it be, and what would it be called?
 Theme park:  I think my theme park ride would be kind of a fun house, where you get lured by a seemingly normal facade up onto a boring porch and then through the door into something different.  Part of the effect would be both entering the crazy turns and unexpected things a usual funhouse has, combined with folks outside watching through a two-way mirror or something the reactions of the people inside.  The people-watching is actually more interesting to me.  I created that situation kind of accidentally on purpose at work.  I had to plan a "team-building" event and brought 30 people to my friend's studio, where he makes artisanal birdhouses, to play with power tools.  Only it's a tiny garage with makeshift everything in a tiny yard, and I led everyone through to his single file maze of birdhouses on shelves until they realized that they couldn't turn around and had to shimmy past each other to squeeze back out from whence they came.  The reactions to all of it were amazing, it was so out of everyone's expectation zone.
You are required to move to a deserted island for one year.  You are allowed to take five items.  What do you take?
Ahhh, the old desert island question:  My iPad, my iPod Touch, a solar generator to keep them charged, juggling balls or clubs and I guess my boyfriend would be a nice round up for the five.
 Pimp yourself --- what are you working on right now and where can our readers find your work? 
 I wish I had something to pimp hard.  I plan on reawakening my 'blog (at and my stand up comedy any minute now.  In fact this week, I've lost someone close to me, and it's a wake up call to make something happen creatively since I get a lot of encouragement in my life.  Ultimately, I'm hoping that I'll finish the memoir I started about myself, my mom and stand up comedy, "Burying My Mom in Leopard Print Undies."  The very first time I ever got on stage to do comedy, my mother's house burnt down to the ground.  Seriously.  I think there's something there.

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