I was not a member of The Plaster Casters. I was a free agent. Although—on the surface, at least—I did exactly what The Plaster Casters did. That is, we all made plaster casts of the penises of rock stars. But The Plaster Casters got all the glory, all the publicity. Even though I did it first.
The Plaster Casters, you see, did it for the power they thought it gave them—the power that would lead them to the fifteen minutes of fame they wanted so much. Which they got. Big deal. Fifteen minutes.
I wanted no glory, no money. I didn’t need fifteen minutes. I had a lifetime, and another—far greater—agenda. I never hired a publicist, never contacted a journalist to write up my exploits, or to take photos of me looking wacky and sexy, stirring up a vat of my plaster mixture with a come-hither look on my face, or sitting on Jimi’s lap, or cuddling up to Rod. I was as different from The Plaster Casters as Picasso from a greeting card illustrator.
I was an artist, with an eye trained to recognize natural beauty when I saw it. And rock stars were definitely objects of natural beauty, with their lean, hard bodies, their long hair flowing down their backs, their bejeweled ears, necks, and fingers. Rock stars were like Greek statues with attitude.
My ageless, creamy-skinned beauty—which has only been enhanced over time—is such that the rock stars would beg me to sleep with them.
And so I created homages to them. My sculptures were vehicles through which I rendered both them, and myself, immortal. I isolated their most beautiful, most artistic feature, and I re-created it, re-invented it. Like the poet said—art is about making it new, making it your own. And I certainly did that: when I was finished, after the rock stars had gone, I gave each plaster cast my signature. I painted my initials—the initials of my real name, my given name, the name everyone but me has long forgotten, since everyone else now knows me as Not The Plaster Casters. I used a shimmery, otherwordly silver, a shade of my own creation, a shade that nobody else can ever copy or match. And each initial looks exactly like the letter it is, and yet simultaneously, like a female body, as well, a sensual female with full breasts, slim waist, and perfectly balanced, rounded hips. My signature is the symbol for me, of course, for my own erotic beauty, again something those homely Plaster Casters with their chubby bodies and scraggly hair just didn’t have, couldn’t measure up to.
My ageless, creamy-skinned beauty—which has only been enhanced over time—is such that the rock stars would beg me to sleep with them, would grow keenly aroused as I patted the plaster firmly onto their members. But I never gave in. I never slept with a single one, and, believe me, there were times I desired one or another of them so much I could hardly breathe. But I had no choice: I had to be pure, objective. What if I had fallen in love? My art might have suffered, and that would have been intolerable. Besides, my body never went hungry. I had my ways.
Meanwhile, I was doing them all, all the greats: Jimi, Bobby, the two Keiths, David, Mick, Paul, and so many others, all colors, all sizes. Even Janis wanted in: “Can’t you do a boob this time?” she asked.
“For you, okay,” I agreed.
Her face lit up with her kooky, lopsided smile.
In fact, I ended up doing both her boobs, which turned out, surprisingly, to be small and delicate.
And Janis, Jimi, the two Keiths, and all the others—all of them—they understood the difference between me and The Plaster Casters. They knew The Plaster Casters were mere publicity seekers. But after all, they wanted publicity, too. So they let those clumsy girls paw them and poke them this way and that, but they never respected them or found them erotic, never thought of them as anything more than dumb groupies. With me, though, they were respectful, in awe. Together, we sought immortality, not just a write-up in Rolling Stone. After all, compared to immortality, an orgasm isn’t that big a deal.
Their desire to let me sculpt them came from a place deep inside, a place not sullied by commercialism and greed, the very place where their own art came from: Jimi’s wild guitar playing, Janis’ raw, untamed voice, David’s androgynous personnas, Bobby’s esoteric lyrics. And to this day, only they—these beautiful, fierce rock icons—are ever allowed to see my work. Dealers are banned from my studio; the public is never invited in. Only the rock stars themselves, so wide eyed and respectful as they follow me from sculpture to sculpture. And when, at the end of their tour, they ask me what the silver initials stand for, I tell them they’re not initials, just abstract, silvery shapes. And sometimes one might add, “Well, you know, those silver shapes also look a lot like a woman’s body—like your body, Not The Plaster Casters.” But I merely smile enigmatically.
I’m always distancing myself—planning the next one I’ll be doing, for instance, even as I’m casting the member of another. After all, my work is never done. Not by a long shot. There are new ones to conquer, new ones all the time, new ones whenever I blink. And believe me, I know how to separate the real ones from the wannabes, the pretenders, the flashes in the pans. Next week, for instance, I’m doing Michael. The week after, Bono. And the week after that, there’s Axl on Wednesday, and Slash on Thursday. Madonna—like Janis—also wants to pose. “I’m bigger than Janis,” she bragged over the phone. I didn’t deign to reply; my art is not about size or competition. And Bruce and Rod and Billy all want to come back, to do it a second time, to “relive the high,” they say.
“You look so young,” they always say, when I first greet them at the door.
They all call me. They know where to find me. I’m never cruel, but I’m always honest. Sometimes I just have to say: “I’m sorry, but you don’t have it, that star quality, that beauty, that thing that I, as an artist, require.” I had to tell that to Michael’s brothers, for instance. Some accept my refusal with dignity. Others weep and beg. Others hang up abruptly, stunned and ashamed. It saddens me to hurt them, but there’s no room in art for pity.
The ones I say yes to, though, are euphoric. They grow overeager. “When? Tonight? Tomorrow?”
“Whoa,” I tell them. “Slow down.”
And then, on the given date—sometimes I make them wait weeks, or even months—they fly in from L.A. or London or Seattle, and they arrive at my private studio, way up here, far away from any big city, high in the mountains, where I can best maintain my distance, my anonymity, my purity.
“You look so young,” they always say, when I first greet them at the door.
I smile modestly, and then I show them around, giving them the tour. They grow silent, too much in awe to speak, as I lead them from sculpture to sculpture. Sometimes one might whisper under his breath, “Wow, that Jimi, man,” or, “Those Plaster Casters had nothin’ on you,” or one might even sniffle and shed a tear or two, but other than that, they’re as quiet as if in church.
Then, when we’ve finished the tour, I show them where to stand, where to hang their flannel shirts and baseball caps, their lycra biking shorts and headbands.
They begin to strip—some slowly, some hurriedly, some with bravado, some with a sheepish grin.
Meanwhile, I stir up the plaster, watching them all the while, assessing their size, their shape.
“Really, you look as young as I do,” the baby-faced ones from Seattle always say, as I mold the plaster onto their flesh, firmly yet delicately, with my special touch.
“It’s the art,” I tell them. “It keeps me young.”
Then, as I stroke the plaster gently, smoothing it down, I add, “It’s you. You keep me young.”
Of course, they want to sleep with me, just as their rock forefathers did. They grow aroused and needy. “I want you,” they all say. “you’re so sensual, so ripe.”
I thank them, and then I explain that for art’s sake, I can’t.
“I understand,” they sigh. “Your art is bigger than we are.”
Again, I smile enigmatically. And when it’s time for them to leave, I allow them one kiss goodbye, but no more than that, even when my body craves much, much more.
“Goodbye, Not The Plaster Casters,” they wave, when I finally send them on their way.
“Goodbye,” I wave back, standing at my doorway, watching them walk down the long, winding mountain path.
“Goodbye,” I wave a second time, when they turn around for one final look, hoping to preserve me—Not The Plaster Casters—forever in their memories. And I don’t begrudge them that final look. After all, I already have them with me forever, here in my studio, hardened and perfectly formed—to do with what I will. And that—like my silver initials—is my secret, the part of my artistic process I keep all to myself, the part that really keeps me so beautiful, so eternally young, so eternally ripe.