5. Melissa Etheridge dons fishnets in Teresa’s Tattoo.
They say true love means never having to say you’re sorry. I say true love is being willing to do femme drag and have it captured on film for all eternity. That’s exactly what Melissa Etheridge did in 1994 for her then-girlfriend, director Julie Cypher, in the film Teresa’s Tattoo. Click here for the trailer.
The film is a tangle of confusing plotlines about kidnappers and mistaken identities, but the real bafflement comes from seeing Melissa Etheridge cooling it at a police station in full-on femme wear. In the trailer, watch closely and you’ll see a brief clip of her sharing a cigarette with star Adrienne Shelly. (Melissa is the one on the right in the ghastly red pumps.)
If after all of these warnings you’re still willing to watch Teresa’s Tattoo, you’ll also see that k.d. lang makes a brief cameo as a religious zealot, which for some reason just doesn’t seem quite as embarrassing as Melissa’s femme drag thing. (Tattoo also stars Facts of Life alum and lesbian icon Nancy McKeon. I guess that’s something.)
The film tanked, and so did Etheridge’s relationship with Cypher (in 2001), but Etheridge escaped her dual fashion and romance disasters unscathed to become an even bigger rock star than she had been before. And she hasn’t been seen in fishnets since.
The moral of this story: You might not regret that ill-advised Tattoo after all.
6. Anne Heche hitches a ride to heaven.
Anne Heche was always a controversial figure in the lesbian community. Her grandiose declarations of love for girlfriend Ellen DeGeneres on Oprah in 1997 seemed to make even Ellen herself a little uncomfortable, and pop culture scholar/loudmouth Camille Paglia questioned Heche’s intentions, compared her to Yoko Ono (in a bad way) and called her the "Volcano Vulture" in an essay for Salon.com.
But none of the Heche naysaying in print or in private could have predicted the enormous crash and burn of the DeGeneres/Heche affair or Heche’s outrageous reaction to it.
In August 2000, on the heels of the breakup, Anne Heche needed to get out of town. Or, more accurately, out of this galaxy. She was found wandering around 40 miles outside of Fresno, Calif., where she had entered a stranger’s home, taken a shower and, according to a Fresno sheriff’s deputy, told everyone "she was God and was going to take everyone back to heaven with her in some sort of spaceship." She was hospitalized and later admitted that she had been tripping on ecstasy. And that she had an alter ego, Celestia, who was the daughter of God and half-sister of Jesus.
A year later, she married husband Coley Laffoon (they have since divorced) and penned her memoir, Call Me Crazy. And after that, pretty much everyone did.
The moral of this story: If you want to take a magic carpet ride, stay out of Fresno.