Theresa Duncan Dead

Horrible news.

[UPDATE: Pardon my laconic post. The news of these two deaths (Duncan and her boyfriend, Jeremy Blake) hit me as I was about to embark on a restful weekend. My immediate reaction was to beat myself up relentlessly on Friday night for not doing more or for not communicating enough to her that her zaniness was peachy keen. Theresa and I had exchanged quite a few emails after the two of us duked it out last December in an Elegant Variation thread, where I encouraged her to maintain her hearty enthusiasm for reporting breakfast. She responded that she was planning to extend her ebullience to lunch and dinner. Whatever her problems, what I do know is this: I observed in Theresa another giddy and idiosyncratic soul — someone who was good for the artistic community by way of her cockeyed perspective. And I’m very sorry that I never got the chance to meet her. If this horrible conclusion says anything, it is this: We must embrace those who are different.]

[For additional reading, see Kay Redfield Jamison’s Touched with Fire. And on the film front, watch Janet Frame and Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table.]


  1. a brilliant, multi-faceted mind– quick, searching, inventive. impossible to believe she would want to still it.

  2. If Theresa Duncan is dead, and Jeremy Blake is missing, shouldn’t I assume that Jeremy Blake is the one who murdered Theresa Duncan?

  3. Konya: I’m going to assume your comment is the result of an unhealthy obsession with Sid and Nancy.

    But if it’s not, please save your idiotic, insensitive comments for Perez Hilton. Some of us lost friends here.

  4. The whole thing is just *so* much like a story she would have posted a “paranoid” / arcane essay on…I’m still trying to bend my brain around this. Whether she was under spectacular stress or chronic emotional problems, dismissing her as a troubled person whose more extreme writings were symptomatic of the disturbance that finally killed her does her an injustice. It’s not an open-and-shut case because nothing ever is, and the least (and most, sadly) we can do for both of them at this point is tug our chins over this and do some thinking.

  5. Well, I’m not arguing that TD was terminated by sinister operatives (neither am I in a position to say that she wasn’t, and who is, honestly?).

    Ironically, my very last comment on TD’s blog (where it will await her approval until the end of time) was my observation that the poor woman featured in her last MK Ultra Conspiracy post seemed to be presenting an extremely naive narrative, name-checking the very famous people who had supposedly used her as a pre-programmed sex zombie during high-level bull sessions…highly reminiscent, I pointed out, of reincarnational memories in which the narrator is always Napoleon or some ancient Egyptian Queen…never some schlub from 1950s Pittsburgh. Why would Bop Hope and Ronald Reagan discuss global-domination while sodomizing underage midwestern abductees? Wouldn’t it be easier (more cost effective) to diddle “willing” sex slaves from Thailand who wouldn’t be able to finger either Reagan or Hope in a lineup?

    I think the same desperate need for filtration that applies to the Literary Internet applies to the Conspiracy Theory Internet as well…otherwise, the “best” material is tainted (damaged) by its proximity to the all-singing, all-dancing batshit material…some of which TD had an apparent weakness for. The cut-off point between valid and improbable theories, I think, has more to do with Occam’s Razor than with degrees of outrageousness or evil. What, after all, is “too far too go” if you’re the member of a quasi-masonic elite with an eye towards eternal planetary domination, in a world where half a million Iraqi deaths are seen by some as rather worth it? As William S. Burroughs once said, “A paranoid is one in possession of all the facts,” (one of several of his quotations on paranoia, before anyone fact-check-headbutts me) and TD struck me as being in possession of at least a few.

    My original point was this: it would be doubly tragic if we let her death explain away everything “kooky” about her. It’s too easy to absorb this as a tabloid tragedy and lapse again towards normative comforts. Whether or not there were others behind these two deaths (directly or indirectly), there’s plenty to do some serious thinking about here.

  6. I just spent the past two days reading her blog. I’m sad i didnt discover it sooner, but i’m glad it’s still there to be read because it’s interesting and thought provoking.

    My eyes popped a bit when she started posting about scientologists and the Cownie guy. It was like a-ha! But if that happens to be true (who can say, stranger things have happened) then that’s really scary.

    If not, then a part of me thinks it’s really quite beautiful that these two people who loved each other died together. Like he couldnt live without her. Yes that’s romanticising something that in reality is extreme pain, but still … that’s dedication and beautiful.

    Anyway. I’m no one, but i feel awfully sad for their friends and family and people who loved them. Suicide is a tragedy (but surely less horrible than murder.)

  7. I am a neighbor and friend of Theresa’s sister here in Michigan. Nothing can, and ever will, explain what was going through Theresa’s or Jeremy’s heads. There is no conspiracy here, no one lover killing the other. This is just a senseless and tragic event. Please keep their families in your hearts and prayers during this very sad time.

  8. A snippet of what Glenn O’Brien wrote on her site brings the only sense I can conceive of to this awful event:

    “All I do know, the hard way, is that the artists and writers who come up with extraordinary answers are often deeply and terribly haunted by the questions that prompt them, and you can never second guess what it is to be haunted by ideas, by angels or demons or history or visions, by reality or imagination.”

    This renews my own desire to fight my own hauntings and my own physical/emotional/spiritual pain all the harder. My light is not as bright as hers was but damned if anyone or anything is going to make it go out.

  9. Please,
    don’t make a documentary about Theresa.
    Theresa is better off in your imagination.
    You want a good idea of her …
    find her film the History of Glamour,track down her games.
    When you’ve watched her creations,you will get the best look at her.Wit of the Staircase,is 2 yrs worth of material to keep you busy,with 2 winks from beyond, you know all ghost stories are true.

    When you’ve seen her art you will get it! ,a documentary would do no good,it could not express her,or speak of her on the same wave length.

    the Staircase,is time frozen.The sight is a refrain,leading to a plateau.Let her own work be her own documentarie la vie.
    Is that right?,Sounds good to moi.
    It was hard to believe her personality lying down.Trying to hold down each day from getting away,not letting July end,wanting to stay as close to July 10,or to make it back to the 10th,tlo trade days back and forth.
    The voice gone,life, you get one.

    Wit ascending the Staircase,not to return.
    With me, she is ever present as always.

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