In the annals of rock history, Wayne Kramer will forever have a two-inch dick. "Wayne quite literally got the shaft," says Cynthia Plaster Caster, who cast the MC5 guitarist's member, as well as that of drummer Dennis Thompson, in 1969. The world's second most famous groupie was still perfecting her gimmick. "He got the container that wasn't designed to mix alginates in," she says, "and if you mix it the wrong way it sets prematurely. It set before he could push his dick all the way into the mold--only the head got in." She says he wasn't upset: "Wayne is perfectly aware of what he's got. He doesn't have to prove anything to the world."
Since then Plaster Caster has added about 60 more penises--and in recent years a few breasts--to her collection. But though she's exhibited them once, she'd never sold any of what she refers to as her "sweet babies" until October 2, when her new Cynthia P Caster Foundation made its first $1,500 on a limited-edition plaster of paris reproduction of cast number 00004--Jimi Hendrix.
The mission of the foundation is to raise funds for struggling musicians and artists by selling reproductions. Twenty-five percent of a sale goes to the model, if he or she is still living, and everything else goes into the kitty. Some casts are available individually, but Plaster Caster also offers package deals--like the Guitarists Collection, where for $2,500 you get Kramer, Hendrix, and Dan Kroha, guitarist for the Gories and the Demolition Doll Rods. If you can't afford dick, you can still get a T-shirt ($20), an apron ($30), or a print of one of Plaster Caster's drawings--say, George Harrison from the neck up ($600, unframed).
"It stems," says Plaster Caster, "from when I worked at this miserable job years ago and I had a coworker who I thought was very talented, but she didn't realize it. She was a great singer. And I used to fantasize about rescuing her and myself from this boring job and finding a way that would enable us to do what we were meant to do and pursue our creative projects."
Graphic designer Jason Pickleman--a friend and one of the producers of Jessica Villines's 2001 documentary, Plaster Caster--suggested the foundation last winter, and over the spring and summer the pair met with lawyers, set up a board of directors, and designed a Web site, www.cynthiapcaster.org, from which to hawk their wares. There's no blue book for plaster casts of penises, so Plaster Caster and Pickleman looked around on eBay and in art galleries to figure out how to price them.
Since going on-line last month, she's sold only the Hendrix and a few T-shirts. "Sadly, we've gotten more applications for grants than we've had people buying stuff," she says. "We're aching--just yearning--to give out these grants. But we don't have any money yet." Still, "things are starting to evolve." Villines and the Hideout have posted links to her site from theirs, Plaster Caster and Pickleman were interviewed recently on WBEZ's Eight Forty-Eight, and--in a validating boost for groupies everywhere--Plaster Caster and Pamela Des Barres walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of The Banger Sisters last month.
"My plaster casts are my sweet babies, and this is my big baby," says Plaster Caster. "I'm able to do what I do now because of financiers and I want other people to be able to experience what I'm able to experience, which is being the real me....And besides, what I think this world needs right now is groovy music and art."
For more information visit the Web site, call 312-640-1999, or write to the Cynthia P Caster Foundation c/o JNL, 216 W. Chicago, Chicago, IL 60610.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Jim Newberry.