Fringe Benefits: Dominatrix Waitrix won't take orders | Calendar | Chicago Reader

Fringe Benefits: Dominatrix Waitrix won't take orders 

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One morning last summer, filmmaker Edith Edit brought her crew to the north side to shoot a scene for her new movie, Dominatrix Waitrix. It featured two actresses making out in front of a building just across the street from Zephyr restaurant. "Of course we were late," she says. "When we got there it was in the middle of brunch hour, and there were families across the street. Someone called the cops. Three or four cop cars showed up, and one cop pulled us aside and said, 'We heard there was some lewd behavior going on.' I guess they thought we were doing something very illegal, like naked people having sex.

"I got mad and said, 'Oh--two girls kissing is lewd?'" The cop backed off and asked what the project was for. "I said we're just art students."

By then the 30-year-old artist--who uses a pseudonym because "having an alias frees you up to take more risks in your work"--had already shot most of the footage for the hour-long digital video feature, which she describes as "a sci-fi musical queer sex romp." The tale of a sexually voracious, leather-clad human clone who takes over the bodies of overworked waiters and preys on their customers, Waitrix does have a few hard-core sex scenes, including one involving the two leads and a pepper grinder. But the opening musical number is a G-rated send-up of Busby Berkeley's "We're in the Money" sequence from Gold Diggers of 1933, featuring a chorus of robotic servers in wigs and scarlet hoop skirts waving silver trays and chanting, "Can I take your order, sir?"

Edit came to Chicago from Nashville in 1996 to shoot a documentary about protesters at the Democratic National Convention. When that was over, she decided to stay. For the next four years she waited tables at three different restaurants, which she declines to name. Frustrated with the daily grind, she started developing characters to play on the job, including a take-no-prisoners dominatrix. "I found out that when I was really firm with tables and picked on them and was sarcastic, they really liked it and I started making better tips."

She sees a parallel between S-M and the waiter-customer relationship: "The dominatrix controls whether you're going to eat or not and says, 'Oh no, we don't have any more of that' even if you do. The domme ultimately has control but is still dependent on the customer for tips and for money."

Edit quit the service industry when she entered the School of the Art Institute's MFA program in 2000 (she completed her degree in May). She finished the Waitrix screenplay that same year but sat on it until 2002, after she'd taken Barbara DeGenevieve's class in the critical analysis and production of pornography and gotten experience working on other student films. She began shooting last June.

She cast dominatrix and burlesque performer Mistress Minax and a fire twirler and former dominatrix named Sache in the lead roles. "BDSM works filmically because it has a narrative built into it," Edit says. "There are characters and a plot and a climax." Plus, "people in BDSM are the best to work with--especially masochists, who can go for long periods without eating or drinking or going to the bathroom. They have incredible control."

The cast and crew worked for free, but Edit still maxed out her credit card on the project. To raise additional funds to complete the sound mix and editing, she's holding a series of benefits this year. If that doesn't work, it's back to waiting tables. "I swore I would never do it again after I started school," she says, "but I may have to."

On Sunday, July 27, Edit will host the first of her benefits, a "Pleasure Play Party," at Big Wig. It'll include clips from the film edited and set to music by the DJ/VJ trio ITEL, as well as music by DJs MiniMart, Boywonder, PickUp, and Douggpound. The club's second floor will feature Ravenous Gorge and Tom Erge's Traveling Peep Show, whipping and kissing booths, tickle torture, and more. It starts at 9 PM at 1551 W. Division; there's a suggested donation of $5 to $10, and you must be 21 to attend. Call 773-235-9100 or see www.dominatrixwaitrix.com for more.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.

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