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The Waitresses were a collaborative performance art group formed by artists who were also waitresses. These graduates of the Feminist Studio Workshop at The Woman’s Building humorously entertained audiences in restaurants, explored working conditions for women, and were precursors to later groups like The Guerrilla Girls.  The Waitresses thrived within the feminist art community in Los Angeles. In their working process, they drew upon their own experiences and incorporated research about working women.

Jerri Allyn and Anne Gauldin co-founded The Waitresses in 1977. They premiered “Ready to Order?” in April 1978 with an original group of artists including: Jerri Allyn, Leslie Belt, Anne Gauldin, Patti Nicklaus, Jamie Wildman, and Denise Yarfitz. Later members included Elizabeth Canelake, Anne Mavor, Anita Green, and Chutney Gunderson
Berry. With more than 14 years of waitressing between them, they collaborated to transform their experiences into images and voices that would speak for the waitress as she had never been heard from in a public format.

The artists discovered that the waitress is analogous to the position of many women worldwide.  They focused on four areas of interest: work, money, sexual harassment, and stereotypes of waitresses / women, such as mother, servant, and sex object.  Out of the gallery and into the streets and restaurants, The Waitresses trademark was their ability to adapt their art form to reach a broad public. They received national media coverage via an NBC news special about sexual harassment on the job; appeared in The Los Angeles
Times, MS Magazine, and numerous other publications; created and performed “The All American Waitress Radio Show” for Pacifica Radio; “The All City Waitress Marching
Band” in Pasadena’s DooDah Parade; and participated in numerous conferences. AFter they premiered "Ready to Order?" the group proved to be so popular that they were regularly invited to create performances for public sites and conferences, and design installations for galleries and museums from 1978 - 1985.

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