Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players “Off & On Broadway” DVD Review

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Hi, this is Jason Trachtenburg, he’s the dad in the band. He sings, plays keyboard, plays guitar and writes the songs. Hi, this is Tina Pina Trachtenburg, she’s the mom in the band. She sings, projects the slides, and keeps the family glued together. Hi, this is Rachel Trachtenburg. She is the daughter and the drummer for The Trachtenburg Slideshow Family Players. The band is an ensemble that manipulates a slideshow, giving the completely bland visuals a revived context in the expanded live setting, inducing a humorous tone from both Jason’s lyrics and the slides’ new meanings.

Regina Spektor, Nelly McKay, David Cross and Eugene Mirman portray the band as something genuine and real, which, by the end of the DVD is realized as a wholehearted truth. The Trachtenburgs, a family of outspoken republicans who are essentially an informed, modern version of The Partridge Family, family values in check, spin whimsical tails about tourists in Japan as well as corporate shadowing using both the group’s music and visuals for added effect. In using the corporate slide projections, Jason Trachtenburg mentions that he feels the family attempts to “dissect hidden meanings of business and consumerism in this country.”

“One of the things that appeal to me right away about the Trachtenburg family in general is to have an American New York family singing about McDonalds executives from the 70s with an 8 year old drumming, I mean that in contemporary life is as political as you can get,” mentions Time Out Magazine’s Jeff Ruttenberg.

Wading between cabaret ballads and up-tempo rock polkas, Jason’s daughter Rachel excite and drive a spectacular brand of live action found art into something that, unfortunately, the vast majority might not appreciate. The eccentric Jason Trachtenburg ends the DVD by mentioning that at the end of each performance he stresses the possible harms of cell-phone use. The long term effects, he notes, have not been tested and we, as a civilization are freely experimenting with one of the biggest unknown resources in human history. Likewise, the Slideshow Players are too, an experiment that should not be mistreated or misunderstood. Not for fear for humanity’s sake, but rather, because if you don’t investigate and observe The Trachtenburgs, guaranteed you’ll miss out on a fantastic, socially relevant, performance.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]