FOR RELEASE ON: Monday, September 14th, 2009
Albany Regional Museum / 541-967-7122
Al LePage, performing artist, Great Stories Alive!, AKA "Robert 'Doc' Newell" / 503-335-3876
Bob Hart, director, Lane County Historical Society and Museum, AKA "Joe Meek" / (541) 682-4242
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 Albany Regional Museum will host a special event
performance,"Joe Meek & Doc Newell Alive!", during their Annual
Meeting which begins on Sunday, September 20th at 2 PM, located at 136
South in Albany.
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. For more information about this event or
museum and its opportunities call 541-967-7122 or visit
"The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," states Al
who co-created the performance and portrays Newell. "You see,
it comes right down to it history is someone's story, someone's
of what happened. But, since people are human, since people are
well their stories can be, too. And those who tell their stories
first, or if some stories sound really good, or have really good
too, well, maybe they become the stories that stick, more than the
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
or rather was. So get ready for some myth-busting among
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 dramatic to the comedic, from what could be called the "dead serious" to the "alive and well," and from the provocative to the playful. In fact, be ready to play along, as this is not just a performance given by the two characters, 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
The high-resolution print
images above are provided to the print media
with the permission and courtesy of the Robert Newell House Museum.
Crop and color balance these photos as needed.
Please credit "David Krapes, Photographer"