On my ‘About Page’, I had once mentioned a book entitled Boundless Potential, by Mark S. Walton. In it, he talks about people who for whatever the reason, have come to the end of a job or a career. However, it turns out these individuals are not done with their lives. They need to continue working in order to feed and house themselves and their families or they simply have so much to offer their communities that they must keep building, creating, and doing well into their eighties and even beyond.
I’m one of those individuals working on this process of reinvention. For myself, my efforts at reinvention have always involved the visual arts. I’ve gone from traditional painting and drawing to computer graphics, from 2D to 3D, from static images to animation. I now work towards establishing a good reputation as a competent and talented photographer.
There is a man I know of who seemingly has not had to reinvent himself. He is still doing at age 78 what he did as a young man. He is a contemporary of Elvis, James Brown, Johnny Cash, Little Richard, Ricky Nelson, etc. Yet few people remember him or have even heard of him. His name is Jimmy Angel.
As a young man, Jimmy’s striking resemblance to Elvis and Ricky Nelson got him the attention of record producers, financial backers, etc. He had what looked to be a promising career, but then life as it so often does stepped in and derailed that trajectory to stardom. Jimmy had to leave the country and take up residence in a foreign land where his looks and blossoming talent as a musical performer were greatly appreciated. After more than thirty years, he’s back and still performing, now at small local venues in Southern California. To hear him say it, “I’m just an old Rocker trying to survive.”
My wife and I have seen Jimmy perform twice now at the historic Smoke House restaurant just across the street from Warner Bros. Studios. He’s 18 years my senior and I find him to be an inspiration for me, and I’ll bet for others as well. His voice and stage presence belie his age. Like the electrifying performance by Little Richard that we saw quite a few years ago at the Universal Amphitheater, Jimmy Angel could carry that venue with ease. His performances are simply remarkable.
I wish him all the best, good health, a lucky break or two, and a decent living. When you see the response of the audience to this man, you know he deserves no less.
- David Behar