Q&A With Mayoral Candidate Cynthia Plaster Caster | Bleader

Q&A With Mayoral Candidate Cynthia Plaster Caster


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Frank Zappa was her patron. Her exploits have been chronicled in song by the likes of Kiss and Jim Croce. And now she wants to be the next mayor of Chicago. Cynthia Plaster Caster (nee Albritton), a self-described “recovering groupie,” is best known for making plaster casts of rock stars’ penises, from Jimi Hendrix to Jon Langford. She announced her candidacy two weeks ago, declaring herself the nominee of the Hard Party.

The interview after the jump.

Tell a little bit about why you want to run for mayor. Was there a specific moment that inspired you to run, or was was this something you’ve thought about doing for years?

The truth is I never really thought about being involved in the political scene. I don’t like politics. But I absolutely abhor the way I feel about the current state of our wonderful city. I realized that the only way to make any difference was to become involved in the process. I’m just an ordinary person that is sick and tired of seeing the problems of our city escalate, and I believe we ALL need to participate in helping to make our city the best it can be. When I saw Daley was stepping down, I knew NOW was the best time to to take a risk. NOW is the time for ALL the people of Chicago to stand up and become a part of the process. Together We Can Make a Difference!

At ChicagoforCynthia.com you write: “As your next mayor I WILL put the needs of the people above the need to be politically correct.” What are some specific examples and issues where Chicago politicians are allowing political correctness to supersede the needs of the people?

I’m not here to point the finger at individuals who make choices based on which party they belong to, or how much money their constituents will make if a vote goes for a particular cause or contract. I am here to STOP the business of Politics as Usual. It’s not working in Chicago. But if you must have an example, look at Daley’s stance about raising pay for police officers. These men and women put their lives on the line EVERY DAY. They deserve to be paid what is reasonable and fair. There should be no argument over that. To hear the mayor not take responsibility for being part of the process by saying, “I ask all the police officials, all their families, ‘Don’t blame me. . . . It was your union officials that decided that,’” it’s ridiculous!

When I first heard of your candidacy, I thought this would be a satirical run in the tradition of, say, Jello Biafra’s mayoral run in San Francisco in 1979, Hunter Thompson’s campaign for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, in 1970, or Dick Gregory’s run for the presidency in 1968. You’re gathering the 12,500 signatures needed to be on the ballot, and you have a campaign manager and a publicist—but you’re also selling merchandise that’s all about penis-related puns. With this mix of the serious and the playful, do you see yourself as in the tradition of the aforementioned candidates?

It’s true, I know who I am and what my life is all about. It’s easy to compare me to your examples. . . . But there is nothing easy about stepping up for the people in the city of Chicago (and all of the “Dicks” in politics) to show that one person can make a difference. I’m doing this because I don’t see anybody else who seems to really give a shit about how the everyday person in Chicago feels. And my hope is that I can inspire everyone who lives within the city to step up and get involved. I can’t do this without the people of Chicago.

How would you rate Mayor Daley’s performance in the two decades he has been in office?

Machine politics works more for the politicians than it does for the people. If you throw enough shit at a canvas, somebody will call it art.

If the opportunity arose, would you ever consider casting Mayor Daley’s, um, little wooden gavel?

It’s made of wood? He and George Washington should hang out! But seriously . . . if it’s made of wood, probably not. . . . It doesn’t really qualify as a “ROCK” star.

The Reader has extensively covered the city’s parking-meter privatization, a fiasco that has as much to do with Daley’s tanked approval ratings as anything. How would you address the problem of higher meter rates keeping customers away from small businesses at a time when they desperately need the help?

That’s not an easy fix, because my understanding is that the parking rights were sold to a private company and they get to make all the decisions about how the meters are run. According to everything I’ve read in the FAQs on the Chicago Parking Meters LLC site, the best way to change where meters are in effect is by making the alderman of that district remove the meters in places where small business are suffering. Tell your alderman to remove those meters. I would like to encourage the people of Chicago to get involved. The squeaky wheel gets the oil!

What are your thoughts on the CTA?

Any change would be an improvement. When I get in office, we’ll start working on the CTA. For one thing, we need to figure out how to avoid more service cuts while not raising the fares. I for one am adversely affected by the elimination of owl service on certain routes that I need to take home from the concerts.

How would you improve Chicago Public Schools?

All schools are required to offer arts and music courses. Develop curricula that teach students how to smell a rat and differentiate an honest person from a liar. This would help them be more qualified to know how to vote.

Some of Chicago’s neighborhoods seem to have become basically playgrounds for yuppies in North Face jackets with doublewide strollers. How will you keep Chicago a vibrant, diverse, and vital city, as much a home for artists, the working class, and minorities as it is for those who are basically just building equity on their condos until they move their babies to the suburbs?

Limit the number of yahoos that can inhabit a square mile. We would measure and enforce this by requiring them to be licensed. If they fail to obtain or keep their license up to date or yell and scream over the new legal volume limit they would be fined, which of course would be a new source of revenue for the city. If they accumulate more than five fines, they either have their mouths booted or are sent to Schaumburg.

I have a proposal for you. How about moving the Cubs to Schaumburg and turning Wrigley Field into an upscale mall with fancy bars? That way the trixies who go there to drink and feign interest in baseball won’t have to pretend anymore—and I’m sure there would also be a decline in general douchebaggery in the summer months in and around Wrigleyville.

Wrigley Field is a key landmark and a very important part of the spirit of Chicago. I don’t want these trixies and jocks taking over our beautiful city any more than they already have, with their loud crappy music parties, obnoxious big mouths, entitlement, and bad manners. Let’s move them to Schaumburg (sorry, Schaumburg).

Out of all the rock stars you’ve casted, which one do you think would’ve made a good politician and why?

I’d have to say . . . Jello Biafra or Peaches. The dream candidate would have been Frank Zappa, but although he was my patron, discovered me as an artist, and was a very dear friend, I did not cast him. He would have been the ultimate dream politician.

What bands will you have play your inaugural party?

Ezra Furman & the Harpoons, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Belle & Sebastian, Mekons, the 1900s, Bobby Conn & the Glass Gypsies.