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Jerri Allyn, Leslie Belt, Anne Gauldin, Patti Nicklaus, Jamie Wildman, and Denise Yarfitz.

Women may feel like a million dollars when they look good, but they haven’t got a million dollars.  A woman bends down to pick up “big money.” She dresses to reveal herself
sexually as one of the rules is “the sexier the waitress, the bigger the tip.”  This vignette was one slice of many performed during a 7-day, site-oriented conceptual art work, conceived by Allyn. The week included humorous performance art tableaus developed by the entire group over ten months, which were performed during mealtimes in various Los
Angeles restaurants.

Daily workshops and panel discussions revolved around the history of working women in Los Angeles and job discrimination, class issues, sexual harassment and assertiveness training. Taking part were members of local groups such as Westside Community for Independent Living, Fat Underground, and the Asian Women’s Rap Group. Special guests included Maria Vandevier, Marcia Chan, Keiko Sasaki, secretary Dorothy Gilden, feminist
theoretician Martha Reed Herbert, and artists Vanalyne Green and Terry Wolverton.
The element of time was necessary for the conceptual artwork to unfold, and audience members became part of the “art/life” performance during that 7-day time frame.

Women and Money

The Waitresses created artwork about the reality of women’s financial situation. Numerous statistics reveal economic disadvantages women face daily. Even though
the law provides for minimum wage, many waitresses were paid $1 (or less) an hour in the 70's. While women made up 41% of the work force, they made between 43 to 59 cents to every dollar a man made (depending on what statistics one used). 
Black women made
a yearly average of $9,000 and Hispanic women $8,100. 
In 2007 women make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes; people of color make 71 cents - for the same job.
Nearly 7 out of 10 food service workers are women, yet male “chefs” and “waiters” continue to hold the most respect and top paying jobs.

The Waitresses performed vignettes with these facts in many places, most notably at: the Scottish Arts Council Gallery, Edinburgh and the Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, Scotland; Alternative Spaces Conference, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Arts (LAICA), downtown street front gallery; the Exploratorium Gallery and cafeteria simultaneously, California State Los Angeles; and restaurants where friends were
waitressing including Lafayette’s Cafe, Venice; Jett’s Café and Art Haus, Los Angeles; Natural Fudge Company, Hollywood; The Women’s Coffeehouse, Irvine; Ala Carte, Hollywood. Panels: Herself Health Clinic and The Woman’s Building, Los Angeles.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.