This years’ Broken Heel Festival will have a special meaning for June Marie Bennett OAM, with the star slated to be presented with a special portrait tomorrow evening in front of thousands of fans.
Ms Bennett played “Shirl” in the 1994 film Priscilla and will tomorrow night be performing at the Festival alongside Garry Reinikka, who features as Dame Liz Taylor.
A Brisbane-based drag queen, Mr Reinikka, will be playing Edie, and Ms Bennett will be playing Edith, in an act called Two Peas in a Pod.
Mr Reinikka is also a successful artist who focuses in the “classical realism style (of art), focusing on capturing the sitter’s personality,” according to the festival program.
He went on to tell the program that he is “delighted to be able to present this portrait of June Marie as a celebration of her life and her work and her wonderful personality.”
Mr Reinikka has taken great care to ensure the artwork represents June Marie, not “Shirl,” and has ensured she is wearing no glasses in the portrait, because he wanted to capture her eyes and her soul.
Ms Bennett hopes that the portrait, which will be presented after their show and prior to the screening of Priscilla, will be held by the Palace Hotel, with the intention of displaying the piece as part of their memorabilia.
Tomorrow’s presentation will be yet another achievement in a remarkable career of art and music for MS Bennett, who will also celebrate her ten-year anniversary of being awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her contribution to art and music in Broken Hill over a 50-year period.
Ms Bennett told the Truth that “I knew nothing about this until an official Government letter arrived, it was conjured between five separate people who wrote their own letters of recommendation (for the award).”
After being immortalised in a portrait, destined to overlook the fabulous array of memorabilia at the Palace Hotel for years to come, June Marie Bennett has truly etched her name into the history of a growing and flourishing festival.