July 10, 2003
The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players have been playing all over LA. “We take people's vintage slides that we purchase at estate and yard sales and turn them into pop rock exposes. A concept, that if applied correctly, will change the future of entertainment.”
Even David Cross loves them.
I saw them last night at Tangier, and it was a lot of fun. A six-part rock opera based on a set of internal McDonald's advertising strategy slides from the 70s (“Let's Not Have The Same Weight In 1978--Let's Have More”) sounds pretty awful, but it isn't. And it's not like the music is that great, but as a show, and as a family, the Trachtenburgs are very entertaining. My favorite bit might have been when nine year-old Rachel, the drummer, called for a do over of a song that started out badly. I also like the fact that even though Rachel consistently got the most applause, and hooting and hollering, after about 15 minutes into the show the only expression she ever had was one that went like “I'm bored now.”
In spite of myself I really liked the guy that opened for them, Lem Jay. He really played the shit out of his organ, and his songs were sappy and funny.
Posted by jjwiseman at July 10, 2003 08:14 PM
That look on Rachel's face isn't boredom. That is a projection of how cool and focused she is. Check out her tape from the Conan O'Brien show. You can access it by going to the TFSP homepage and clicking on the link to their publicity agent. It is on his TFSP publicity page. Rachel may be a cute little kid off stage but she has a stage persona that she almost never drops on stage. It isn't something planned or taught to her.
She has that same look when she is firing off one-liners at her father and there is no doubt that she is being playful. You never know what the kid is going to do or say within the context of the show. All you know is that it will take the show up another level. One night, without anyone knowing it was going to happen, she ended the performance with a 2 minute drum riff that had the audience howling. And, she introduced rhythms and combinations she had never played in public before. Another time, she turned to her father when he was getting a little wordy and said, "Can you hurry it up? I have to go to the bathroom." This was at an MTV private party where they were hired to be the entertainment. Boy did that one bring down the house. And, whether she plays to 100 people or a 1000, she maintains her cool and pulls surprises that leave everyone feeling like they just saw something that nobody ever saw before. It's true -- they haven't.
Jason also is a master at ad-libbing. The songs order is the only thing that is planned in advance. Who knows what he might say. Like Groucho, he is becoming a genius at playing off the moment. He will get into discussions with the audience and what happens, happens. It is unplanned, sometimes funny and sometimes it bombs. When it bombs, count on Rachel to save the day with a riposte. Sometimes, just by saying, "Let's move on," she can bring a funny end to a losing situation.
Hope I haven't rambled on too long. Thanx for your ear, er eye , er . . . whatever.
Lollipops and unicorns,