Autographs? Forget autographs when you can get replicas of male genitalia from the biggest
rock stars in the world. Don't tell her mother, but Cynthia Plaster Caster [not her real name,
nudge, nudge] has been making her little plaster "babies" since Jimi Hendrix first took the
plunge. Here's a phoner with the groupie turned folk artist who is the subject of an upcoming
documentary feature and the obligatory book. Cold shower to follow.
[Ed.Note: We were unable to find any photographs of Cynthia that we could
use, other than the one in the title above. Therefore, we were forced to make due with
alternate sources. Please bear with us.]
John: Let's play "What's My Line". Cynthia, what's your, uh, special
Cynthia: I like to make plaster casts of rock stars' and other
John: A-hem. You've been at this for quite a while. Do you remember
your first cast, the date, the circumstance?
Cynthia: It would have been January or February of 1968. It was a
friend of mine on whom I was experimenting so I could do it properly for the arrival of the
Jimi Hendrix Experience, who I really wanted to capture for my collection.
John: And did you get the whole Experience?
Cynthia: No, I only got two-thirds, sadly.
John: Where did you get the idea of making plaster casts?
Cynthia: It was all because I was a shy, horny virgin in the 60s,
wanting to get laid, wondering if it was true that sex was for more than reproductive purposes.
My art teacher gave me a homework assignment to make a plaster cast of something solid. My
girlfriend and I were fledgling groupies trying to figure out a way to meet Paul Revere and the
Raiders. When I heard about the homework assignment my immediate reaction was "well, a penis is
something that gets hard, sometimes. Wouldn't it be funny if we asked them to help me with my
John: Ah, the old homework line. How did you score, er, what was your
grade on that assignment?
Cynthia: Oh probably a C. I wound up doing a zucchini. The important
thing is that I lost my virginity that weekend, and I realized that my friend and I should
become the plaster casters of Chicago.
John: Besides the zucchini, have you plaster cast anything other than
Cynthia: I've just started doing tits. I just did Suzie from L7 and
I'd like to collect more, more, more.
John: Equality reigns! You've had a recent exhibition (June 28th at
Thread Waxing Place, NYC) of your casts. How did that go over?
Cynthia: It was the coolest. I brought along thirty-five very sweet
bouncing babies, which were displayed on four drums, giving the illusion that they were
floating in a sea of milk. Also on display were the contents of my original casting kit, plus
the suitcase itself and some notes. I kept meticulous, technical journal notes of each episode.
John: How big is the kit and how easy is it to lug around?
Cynthia: Oh, it's big and hulky. It's actually an original roller
skating suitcase from the sixties. It's metal, heavy and cumbersome. I really don't carry it
around cuz it's fragile, being ancient. I keep my tools in a plastic bag and I normally do it
at home now.
John: So now people come to you?
Cynthia: Well, I don't like to be approached. I like to do the
John: Who has approached you?
Cynthia: Nashville Pussy. The girls wanted their tits casted.
John: Exactly how old were you when you started casting?
Cynthia: I was going on nineteen the weekend of my homework
assignment. I was probably twenty-one when I figured out how to do it properly. My partner and
I went around for two years, carrying the suitcase in hand, from hotel to hotel, trying to
interest bands, and wanting to experiment on them because we didn't know yet what to use for a
mold. That took two years. It's the same mold I use nowadays, called Alginates Dental Mold.
John: How did you approach your first star subject? Did you just blurt
Cynthia: Yeah, you're right, I did. My friend (Cynthia doesn't drive)
followed Jimi Hendrix's limo in our car. We all tumbled out respectively and I just blurted out
to Jimi who was standing there as big as life, "can we plaster cast your Hampton Lick?" which
was Cockney slang for dick, which he knew. He said "Yeah, I heard about you, c'mon up."
Normally we would present a calling card to the band - very official looking, like traveling
saleswomen. The more absurd it was the more we would have a good laugh out of it. Laughter was
an important component for me to get comfortable in the presence of one of my demi-gods.
John: Any problems from the other end, where, say, they couldn't do
Cynthia: You mean they couldn't live up to full capabilities?
John: Uh, yeah.
Cynthia: That has happened quite frequently. I try to make it clear to
everyone that sees the exhibit, that I normally don't capture full capability. And sometimes
John: Do you sell your casts?
Cynthia: No the originals are not for sale, though I'm thinking of
doing limited editions.
John: Like Robert Bateman prints: one of 500! Perfect for the
fireplace mantle. I imagine you've had offers for the Jimi Hendrix.
Cynthia: No I haven't, actually.
John: Are you still casting on a regular basis? Who have you done
Cynthia: Yeah I still do it, but it's irregular. Sometimes a year goes
by before I find the right candidate and all the circumstances are right - that being a
partner, wife or girlfriend, willing to help out. And I don't have to work the next day cuz
casting tends to take place about three or four in the morning. I'm still alive and casting! My
youngest "baby" is Ben from 5 Style. There's also Momus, Jello Biafra and Jon Langkford of The
John: Are you the only plaster caster around, or is there competition
Cynthia: I've heard rumours of plaster casters in Boston and Tokyo.
John: Have you ever been turned down by anybody?
Cynthia: Actually, Eddie Izzard, the English comedian turned me down.
I came on quite strong and he just recoiled.
John: So you don't just limit yourself to musicians?
Cynthia: Oh no. I've gone beyond musicians. I'm really interested in
superheroes: people that have made my life, or day, better. It could be a politician like
Reverend Jesse Jackson - the top of my hit list now.
John: Say, what do you think of Kiss' song "Plaster Caster"?
Cynthia: You know at the time I think Gene Simmons wrote it because he
wanted people to think he had been done, though he hadn't been. That kinda put me off for a
while, though I like it now. I think it's a very catchy pop tune.
John: Okay let's get down to it. Can you take me through the casting
Cynthia: Everybody is usually in my apartment. The partner and the
subject go into the living room and take care of the stimulation process. Plus it's the partner
- whom I call the plater, cuz plating is English slang for fellatio - it's the partner's job to
get the penis nice and purty looking, and also to lubricate the pubes (to avoid entrapment in
the mold, as encountered by Jimi Hendrix). Meanwhile I'm in the kitchen measuring ingredients:
the Alginates and water. When he's ready and I'm ready, we let each other know by knocking
signals on the door. They come into the kitchen. The mix is in a container, and I ask him to
dip into the mixture. I shove it over his crotch while he pushes down. He has to think hard for
about a minute with some direct stimulation from the partner. Then he falls outta the mold. The
plaster is then poured into the negative impression. I clean up the mess and get to keep the
souvenir, while the subject and partner get a souvenir t-shirt and go off to pick up where they
John: Whew. Thanks for being so frank, Cynthia. You seem to have very
hip taste in music. Who are you listening to these days?
Cynthia: A lot of Chicago bands naturally, also Le Tigre from New
York. That's the album of the year. Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire, 5 Style and Bobby Conn are on
John: I would think Bobby Conn would be a perfect plaster caster
Cynthia: I'm working on it hon.
John: Hon? Gee. Do you have any parting comments?
Cynthia: Stay hard, y'all.