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#17-23 Waitress Audio Art  … American Dining: A Working Woman’s Moment

The American Dining audio project started with The Waitresses, a collaborative performance art group founded in Los Angeles in 1977 by Jerri Allyn and Anne Gauldin. In 1986, an art museum hosted Allyn to perform American Dining in the museum and a site-specific installation with audio stories played in faux jukeboxes in a nearby restaurant. Allyn toured the artwork for 3 years. In 1989, Helen Thorington commissioned this version for New American Radio, describing it like this:  “Drawing from her own experience as a waitress, Allyn creates song-narratives that offer fascinating insights into a world usually unnoticed by customers – the bizarre and very human world of the overworked waitress. It’s a world of men showing off their improvisational genius for sexual word play; of ambiguous relationships to the union; a world where an old and forgotten lady, who once introduced American radio audiences to broccoli, is rediscovered. Combining perceptive writing with a skillful delivery, a folksy sound score by Bob Davis of Earwax Productions, and a delightful sense of down-home humor, this work will change your image of American diners and their waitresses forever.