Call it kitsch for the new decade or our world through cat-eye glasses, but the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players are now, officially, Bushwick-based.
Some 20 years ago, Jason and Tina Trachtenburg locked eyes across a Greenwich Village open-mic. Four years later, two became three, and six years after that, the trio became a band, with the littlest Trachtenburg, Rachel, on drums.
Their act — a thrift store-dressed show and tell of found vintage slides and Burt Bacharach-inflected musical narration — travelled the world before settling on Manhattan’s Lower East Side five years ago.
But last year, the band achieved its greatest success, moving to Bushwick. A few months later, the Knitting Factory did the same thing — and on Jan. 21, the two former Manhattan institutions will join forces again.
And the now–16-year-old Rachel’s teengirl pop trio, Supercute!, is slated to open that night.
“When I perform with my parents, my dad does all the songwriting and I keep the drums pretty simple,” said Rachel. “He loves Frank Sinatra and the Bee Gees, that kind of stuff. In my group, we do ukulele covers of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and write our own bubblegum indie stuff.”
The Slideshow Players’ set will include two new songs from a forthcoming album. New slides were bestowed upon the Trachtenburgs by an audience member who also housed and fed them one night during their most recent tour.
And that’s not unusual. Wherever they go, the family inspires warm, fuzzy feelings.
“I’ve seen them a few times and you always feel as if you’re in someone’s basement looking at pictures from their trip around the world,” said Chris Diaz, talent buyer for the Knitting Factory. “It’s great family fun.”
Maybe that’s because, for the Trachtenburgs, the sunny, nomadic Partridge Family is more than just a musical influence. The Players have created their own — albeit quirky and crafty — version of the archetypal show-biz family.
Father, guitarist and piano player Jason shuns e-mail and cellphones, occupying himself with a macrobiotic diet and his other band, The Pendulum Swings.
“It’s a swing band and Jason is the horned, Sinatraesque frontman,” said matriarch Tina, who is in charge of buying up Goodwill items and then reworking them into costumes.
Rachel is the most creative of the bunch.
“I like to play the ukulele while hula-hooping. I think I invented that,” she said.
Because mother, father and daughter are as kooky as a sitcom characters, it’s logical that they’ve made a pilot episode for a TV Show.
The kids program, to be called “Rachel Trachtenburg’s Homemade World,” is set in the family kitchen and its first plotline was inspired by real events. When a mouse finds its way into Jason’s spirulina, it turns green. The family fears that, hopped up on supplements, it will live forever. Since all three are vegetarians, they don’t want to kill it. Famed drag king Murray Hill plays the band’s manager.
Colorful, alternative fun ensues.
The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players and Supercute! at the Knitting Factory [361 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, (347) 529-6696)]. Jan. 21 at 10 pm. Tickets are $10.
©2010 Community News Group
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