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Enter the Weird World of The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players!     

Imagine the strangest indie band you’ve ever encountered. Then cross it with the strangest comedy act you’ve ever encountered. Now you might be getting close to America’s unique Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, who are weirdness squared. But wonderful weirdness squared, destined for greatness and coming to The Sherman on Wednesday 12 October. Did we also mention that their catchy songs are inspired by slides they’ve unearthed in thrift stores and garage sales? Or that their drummer is 11-years-old?

From the Osmonds to the Osbournes there is a long tradition of families playing together, but this is a unique team effort. Jason Trachtenburg, 35, plays guitar and keyboards. Tina Pina Trachtenburg, 41, works the onstage slide projector and 11-year-old Rachel Trachtenburg plays drums. Described in their own words as “an indie-vaudeville-conceptual-art-rock-pop-band”, The Trachtenburgs were the ‘must see’ surprise hit of 2004’s Edinburgh Festival and are certainly like nothing you’ve ever seen before!
 
To find out more, come along to The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players at The Sherman Theatre on Wednesday 12 October at 7.30pm. Tickets are prices at £12.50 and are available from the Box Office on 029 2064 6900.


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The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players Syndicated Interview

BD: You have been described as ‘The Partridge Family on Acid’, but how would you describe yourselves?

Jason: “We are an indie-vaudeville-conceptual-art-rock-pop-band. Unlike other bands our real life is our band. With other bands it’s just a day job, we take entertainment to the highest possible level, breaking every rule that has ever been set by any other band. Our musical influences are the big three – The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. I love Bowie, Tina likes Yoko Ono, Rachel likes Led Zeppelin. One of my other favourites is They Might Be Giants, who also mix comedy and music.”

BD: Who writes the songs?

Jason: “I write the songs but the whole concept is collaborative. Tina does the slides and the costumes and without Rachel it wouldn’t be a family band. The songs are just a small piece. We are either the funniest musical act or the most musical comedy act, I’m not sure which one it is.”

BD: Explain the concept.

Jason: “All of our songs are based on slide collections from the fifties to the seventies. Our speciality is found slides of anonymous deceased strangers on family vacations. We also turn business presentations into mini-rock operas. Everything is done with an interpretative comical twist, commenting on corporate culture of America and the overabundance of consumerism. I wish that there were more comedians like us and not just like accountants. There are too many comedians who are more interested in the business part of show business, we are more interested in the show part. We try to make our shows entertaining, but also socially relevant, original, funny and musical. That’s pretty much it.”

BD: Do you have a favourite song?

Jason: “Look At Me is one of our favourites. It’s based on the lives of Jean and Kappy, two retired military nurses from Seattle who had very good photographic skills. It’s fun to work out the family relationships in the pictures, who are the uncles and who are the fathers. When we bought about a 1000 of their slides they were all meticulously organised in a special system. We filed them in our system which meant we put them in a big box.”

BD: How long have you been doing this?

Jason: “We’ve been doing this act for five years. We originally combined it with a dog-walking business for two years. We started out in Seattle and now live in the East Village in New York. Tina came up with the concept of adding slides. Our first song was Mountain Trip To Old Japan 1959, inspired by holiday pictures of a visit to graveyards, and we realised quickly we’d come up with something unique. Once you’ve taken the first step into strangeness the second step is pretty easy. We’d always included Rachel in everything we did so we thought of having Rachel, who was six at the time, on drums and it worked right away. It all came together within the first couple of weeks.”

Tina: “We entered a city-wide talent show about a month after we started and people totally loved us. At first I thought the idea of Rachel on drums was ridiculous but she picked it up so quickly. She’s kind of shy but she found it easy.”

BD: You’ve had a residency at the Edinburgh Festival twice and toured over here. What do you think of the UK?

Jason: “I love it. I think we are a little more understood over here. In America if you don’t sound like what’s been done before and you are not twenty-one and into Britney Spears it’s hard to be accepted. There’s a guy here called Neil who has been finding us slides and we are now writing a lot of material inspired by English slides. Because we are family it’s not like being on tour, it’s like a lifelong family vacation.”

Tina: “We are doing TV series here too. It’s a cross between a variety show and a reality TV show, mixing together everything we do. Rachel will talk about life on the road, Jason will do a segment about health issues. There will be a cooking part, plus special guests. It’s going to be called The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players Hour, although it’ll last thirty minutes.”

Do you want to stay alternative or would you like to be big stars?

Jason: “We would like to have hit records. The Beatles showed you can do it and still be original.

BD: Rachel, would you like to add anything?

Rachel: “Be very nice to animals and try to not eat meat. Please don’t step on the pigeons.”
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alice baynham
e-mail: mo1@shermantheatre.co.uk
Tuesday, October 04, 2005back

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