FOR RELEASE ON: Monday, March 23rd, 2009
Dr. Peter MacMillan Booth,
executive director, Mission Mill Museum / 503-585-7012 /
Al LePage, performing artist, 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 Mission Mill Museum will host a special event performance,"Joe Meek & Doc Newell Alive!", during their 17th Annual Heritage Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 16th, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Redhawk Winery, 2995 Michigan City Rd NW in Salem. Al LePage, appearing as "Doc Newell" and Bob Hart as "Joe Meek" have teamed 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 and the program not only includes the heritage awards ceremony, but also hors d’oeuvres, wine and dessert. The entire evening costs $25 per person, $200 for a table of eight, reservations are required, and seating is limited. To make reservations or for more information about this event or sponsorship opportunities contact the museum at 503-585-7012 or visit www.missionmill.org. This event is made possible through the support of Crowell Ing LLP, Redhawk Winery, Café Today, Croissant & Company, Loustic Catering, Mill Creek Station and Mission Mill Café.
"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.
Al LePage ("Doc Newell") up close and personal,
will also take the long view of history from "Eternity"
"‘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.
"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."
Bob Hart ("Joe Meek") takes on the challenge of becoming one of
Oregon history's most outrageous larger-than-life storytellers!
LePage was involved in living history programs as characters from the past for over 8 years, first with the National Park Service and other historic sites and museums from Oregon to British Columbia. He's developed and given presentations, and written and performed one-man shows, all in character, specializing in early Pacific Northwest history from Lewis & Clark to the beginning of Oregon statehood. He's also appeared on the PBS History Detectives series, addressed the Oregon House of Representatives as "Robert Newell," most recently appearing on OPB's Oregon Experience's Road to Statehood episode as a bearded French Canadian. He continues to live in the past each year during December with dramatic readings of "A Christmas Carol" to benefit charity in the guise of a Victorian Englishman, giving them in the same manner as Dickens actually did, historic script and all.
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"