FOR RELEASE ON: Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Bob Hart, director, Lane
County Historical Society and Museum, AKA "Joe Meek" / (541) 682-4242
Al LePage, performing artist, Great Stories Alive!, AKA "Robert 'Doc' Newell" / 503-335-3876
740 W. 13th Ave.
Eugene, Oregon 97402
Rendezvous with two of Oregon's finest 150
after statehood in a
harmonica-blowing, myth-busting, fun-loving but serious living history special event
The Lane County Historical Museum will host a special
performance,"Joe Meek & Doc Newell Alive!", on Sunday, November
15th at 2 PM, at 740 W. 13th Avenue in Eugene.
Al LePage, appearing as "Doc Newell" and Bob Hart as "Joe Meek" have
up to create and offer this unique program about these men's lives and
through their life-long relationship the roles they played both in
early Western and later Oregon history. The performance
commemorate's Oregon's 150th birthday, the general public is welcome
and admission is free. The museum is located within the county
fairgrounds complex with free parking in the lot east of the Museum at
the corner of 13th and Jefferson. For more information about this
event or the
museum and its opportunities call 541-682-4242 or visit
"The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," states Al LePage, who co-created the performance and portrays Newell. "You see, when it comes right down to it history is someone's story, someone's interpretation of what happened. But, since people are human, since people are different, well their stories can be, too. And those who tell their stories first, or if some stories sound really good, or have really good storytellers, too, well, maybe they become the stories that stick, more than the actual reality. So the great thing about this presentation is that both Meek and Newell are dead, so they're finally free to tell it like it is, or rather was. So get ready for some myth-busting among other things."
Meek and Newell had a life long relationship, both personal and professional, first as fellow trappers eventually becoming brother-in-laws through marriage to Nez Perce Indian sisters. When Newell decided to head west to the Oregon Country with his wife and children, Meek joined him, and settled on the Tualatin Plains to farm. They soon became involved in other endeavors, the formation of the provisional government among them, both serving in government in various capacities during both the 1840's and 1850's. The presentation strives to tell about their lives, but also the often untold early story of Oregon, from before it was a territory and up to statehood, and in a way that only Meek and Newell can, based on the close friendship they shared for over 30 years.
"‘Ol Bob’ Newell’s ghost is still chagrined over so much being made of his storied friend,” begins Bob Hart, who portrays Joe Meek. "Joe's been immortalized. His stories live on in the pages of several books, beginning with "River of the West," which Joe himself was actually interviewed for by one of Oregon's first women’s historians. His moment of glory calling for a vote is captured in a bigger than life painting staring legislators in the face every time they vote in the house chambers of Oregon's State Capitol. Yes, that painting fits him, he would have loved it!"
Newell and Meek knew how to tell a good story, and have a good time,
and the presentation will constantly go back and forth, from the
to the comedic, from what could be called the "dead serious" to the
and well," and from the provocative to the playful. In fact, be
to play along, as this is not just a performance given by the two
it's interactive, too. The presentation is meant to bring history
alive in more ways than one, and audience members could become involved
in everything from dancing to dialogue. So, be prepared not just
to learn about history, but to live it too.
Al LePage ("Doc Newell") sometimes gets up close and personal with the audience
"The 150th anniversary of statehood is a good time for looking back,
taking stock, and moving forward," adds Hart. "The study of the
can help us better know who we are as Oregonians. Meek and Newell
represent early Oregonian attitudes towards Native Americans, African
government and statehood, among other things. Yes, they were
of their time, and certainly not perfect, but their lives and their
and tribulations can be instructive for us today."
Hart, director of the Lane County Historical Society and Museum, was
a former living history interpreter with the National Park Service and
began doing Joe Meek at the Newell House Museum in 2006, recently
as Meek himself on OPB's Oregon Experience's "Road to Statehood"
Since agreeing to collaborate and offer the current program, he's been
both deepening his knowledge of Meek through more extensive research of
his life and further enhancing his ability to become Meek in
He looks forward to the upcoming year in 2010, Joe Meek's 200th
with its potential to develop and offer another new living history
focusing on Meek's life.
IMAGES ON THIS RELEASE ARE
FOR FREE USE BY PRINT MEDIA
These high-resolution print
images may be
cropped and color balanced as needed.
Please credit "David Krapes, Photographer"