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DVD Review: "The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players: Off & On Broadway"

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I was lucky to catch a performance of of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players almost exactly 3 years ago in a small museum's theater north of New York city. It was a winter performance, one that the family patriarch, Jason Trachtenburg, decided to bill as "The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players: On Ice!" The "On Ice" part was performed by the family pretending to skate on and off stage and it's that kind of brazen corniness and fun that are at the core of the Trachtenburg experience.

A quick overview: Jason (the Dad) plays guitar/keyboard/sings; Rachel (the Daughter) plays drums and sings; Tina Pina (the Mom) shows the slides, sews the costumes, and otherwise conceptualizes. The Family has a collection of several thousand slides that they have bought at garage sales - they then put together a pseudo-narrative with the slides and write a song that plays off of it. Jason was a part of the "anti-folk" movement in Seattle but since there is such obvious affection between all band members one doesn't know where the irony ends.

This DVD less of a collection of video performances, and more of a documentary with snippets of performance in between interviews with the Family and their fans as well as walking around (off and on Broadway, NYC, as well as other cities) with the Trachtenburg family.

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The primary commentator is Jay Ruttenberg, a staff writer for magazine 'Time Out New York' and he provides a bit of background history of the Family including their move from Seattle to NYC in 2002 and their rapid assimilation into the East Village.