Jason Trachtenburg is a bit of a spaz, a musical nutty professor running on all cylinders, plus an extra two or three thrown in for good measure. He floats somewhere between mad genius and science-fair dork, inventive and zany, an unlikely counterculture icon for the modern age.
Papa Trachtenburg’s band, Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, play a bit like a warped Partridge Family. Tina Piña (Mama) Trachtenburg is the overzealous projectionist and stylist, partial to gold lamé and dual ponytails. Prepubescent Rachel (Daughter) Trachtenburg is the drummer and crowd-pleaser with a wit to rival her father’s. And Papa (on guitar, vocals, and histrionics) provides not only the politically-provoking lyrics, but also the nonsequiturs and nervous twitches.
The family likes to poke around estate sales and such, and on one fine day, they discovered a gem in a discarded slide collection. Already a notable player in NYC’s anti-folk circuit, Papa T started penning slightly subversive lyrics to sing alongside the Trachtenburgs’ yard sale finds, heavy on ’80s corporate training videos and forgotten holiday road trip nostalgia, sprinkled with anti-government rhetoric.
JT is a rare specimen, and whether on stage throwing a 10-minute hissy fit or on the phone talking about vegetarianism and cellphone radiation, it’s hard to tell where the line is drawn between performer and neurotic basketcase — if there is even a line at all.
Jason Trachtenburg On…
Anagrams and Old Guys:
“Do you know Baby Gramps? [Yells something at a family member] Oh! Palindromes! Like ‘Ronald Wilson Reagan’ – ‘Insane Anglo Warlord.’ Okay, so anyway, on your own time, Google Baby Gramps. He’s this 65-year old folk/blues legend. We just toured with him for a couple of weeks.”
Selling no-brainer homemade crafts at shows:
“For people who keep burning themselves, it’s time to get a potholder! We always make bookmarks – if you keep reading the same page over and over, folks, it’s time for a bookmark!”
Coming back to Charleston … on Ice:
“We can talk in the article specifically about the fact that Charlottesville … Charlottesville, right? [No, Charleston] Oh. You know what else I can’t get straight is stage left and stage right. But Charleston, S.C. is a progressive, very artistically open-minded town. We did this Piccolo Fellatio – what’s it called? – to very positive response and feedback, and this show is going to be different. Why? It’s our holiday presentation! The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players on Ice!”
“When we first lived in NY in the late ’80s, me and Tina were a lot younger, obviously. If we could turn back time, we would be wearing tight thong pants with our butts exposed. That’s a Cher joke.”
The differences between Bono and Christ:
“Dylan’s like the closest thing we have to a Shakespeare or a Christ … well, maybe just a Shakespeare. Like, Bono thinks he’s Christ, he really does. Look, Christ didn’t wear sunglasses. Christ didn’t use a digital delay panel ad nauseam.” — Shawnté Salabert
The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players perform with Ching Chong Song at 9 p.m. on Tues. Dec. 12 at the Village Tavern (1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., 884-6311). Cover is $12. See www.village-tavern.com and www.slideshowplayers.com for more.
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