“My star is on the ascendant” (sketch portrait of Eva Tanguay)

Done over morning coffee in my “Smash Journal” with gel pens, marker, & a feather earring I found on the street pasted in as a headdress. (And a little bit of digital smudging.) This is my unreal-spring-colored interpretation of vaudeville actress Eva Tanguay, from a magazine clipping a friend had given us. She was an early-day diva from Quebec who’d performed this anthem back in the early 1900’s, which needless to say from a mad pride/feminist/generally anti-authoritarian standpoint I fell in love with:

Lyr. Add: I DON’T CARE
Words Jean Lenox, Music Harry O. Sutton, 1905

Verse 1.
They say I’m crazy, got no sense,
But I don’t care.
They may or may not mean offense,
But I don’t care;
You see I’m sort of independent,
Of a clever race descendant,
My star is on the ascendant,
That’s why I don’t care.

Chorus 1
I don’t care,
I don’t care,
What they may think of me.
I’m happy go lucky,
Men say I am plucky,
So jolly and care free.
I don’t care,
I don’t care,
If I do get the mean and stony stare.
If I’m never successful,
It won’t be distressful,
‘Cos I don’t care.

Verse 2.
Some people say I think I’m it,
But I don’t care,
They say they don’t like me a bit,
But I don’t care;
‘Cos my good nature effervescing,
Is one, there is no distressing,
My spirit there is no oppressing,
Just ‘cos I don’t care.

Chorus 2
I don’t care,
I don’t care,
If people don’t like me,
I’ll try to outlive it,
I know I’ll forgive it,
And live contentedly.
I don’t care,
I don’t care,
If people do not try to treat me fair.
There is naught can amaze me,
Dislike cannot daze me,
‘Cos I don’t care.

Verse 3.
If I call on a friend and she’s “not in,”
Why, I don’t care,
I simply discover I need some pins,
‘Cos I don’t care;
Her feeble slight does but amuse me,
Nothing like it could induce me,
Just ‘cos I don’t care.

Chorus 3
I don’t care,
I don’t care,
If she did mean to snub.
I’m feeling so jolly,
T’would be simple folly
To even feel the rub.
I don’t care,
I don’t care,
If I do call on her
And she’s not there.
If she can’t say “Hello,”
She’s not a good fellow,
And I don’t care.

Verse 4.
They say my hair’s in silly style,
But I don’t care,
They but amuse me all the while,
‘Cos I don’t care;
You see my hair with me’s a fixture,
And it’s color’s not a mixture,
When they call me living picture,
Surely I don’t care.

Chorus 4
I don’t care,
I don’t care,
If my hair is not dressed swell;
I’ve got no kick coming –
It’s vastly becoming,
And suits my face so well;
I don’t care,
I don’t care,
I know that style like mine
Is mighty rare.
So no one can “Phase” me,
By calling me “Crazy,”
‘Cos I don’t care.

Sung with increasing volume and rowdiness. 

In 1922, Eva recorded this song. Admittedly she was not the greatest singer, or perhaps she was trying too hard to sing in that Helen Kane-esque baby voice that was popular at the time, and it didn’t come naturally to her?

In later years more competent singers such as Judy Garland or Mitzi Gaynor (who played Eva Tanguay in a biopic). But I was morbidly curious to hear the original due to the magazine clipping, which gave a quote from Aleister Crowley, who had been a lover of hers, describing her performance and it’s effect on him:

“She is like the hashish dream of a hermit who is possessed by the devil. She cannot sing, as others sing; or dance as others dance. She simply keeps on vibrating, both limbs and vocal chords without rhythm, tone, melody, or purpose…I feel as if I were poisoned by strychnine…I jerk, I writhe, I twist, I find no ease…She is perpetual irritation without possibility of satisfaction, an Avatar of sex-somnia. Solitude of the Soul, the Worm that dieth not; ah, me!”

You know, I think that’s my ultimate aspiration as a performer. To be the hashish dream of a hermit who is possessed by the devil. It all makes sense now.

 

 

 

 

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