Photo By Gary Miller
Trachtenburg Family Slide Show PlayersLa Zona Rosa, Friday, March 14
The smoky, cavernous environs of La Zona Rosa are hardly the optimal venue for a family slide show, but this was no ordinary family slide show. The Trachtenburg family, guitarist/keyboardist/dad Jason, projectionist/mom Tina, and 9-year-old drummer/daughter Rachel, goes around buying old slides at estate sales and thrift stores. Then they put the slides together in a random narrative and write songs about them. Sure it's a schtick, but you'd have to be pretty darn curmudgeonly not to appreciate the zany, carefree nature of the concept. Because of a recent Conan O'Brien appearance, the family packed the house, and a film crew was shooting their set for a documentary. Despite the overwhelming swarm of activity and a poor sound mix, Jason and Rachel soldiered through haltingly but enthusiastically as mom ran the slides. Highlights included "Mountain Trip to Japan, 1959," in which a bucolic visit to the Land of the Rising Sun morphs into a tale about public execution, and "Look at Me," which chronicles the photogenic carousing of two retired military nurses from Seattle named Kathy and Jean. The latter wins bonus points for rhyming "drunk uncle" with "Garfunkel." Jason had the wild-eyed goofball intensity of a Montessori school music teacher who lets the kids sing songs about boogers, while Rachel did her level best to hold things down with strategic rim-shots and harmony vocals. You haven't really lived until you hear a 9-year-old girl drummer say, "I need more vocals in the monitors." The Trachtenburgs closed with a six-song "rock opera" based on slides from a McDonald's marketing seminar from the Seventies that revealed business-speak for the joke it really is without fundamentally altering the content. Between the Trachtenburg Family and Charles Phoenix's found-slide book, God Bless Americana
, the privately inclined among us may want to seriously consider burning their photos prior to death, lest they wind up grist for a riotous show like this.