rhymes with 'peace rally'
January 22, 2016 11:22 PM   Subscribe

Up until his passing last June at 93, Reese Palley, "a flamboyant entrepreneur, art impresario, adventurer, promoter of eccentric business enterprises around the globe, and public scold on matters as diverse as nuclear energy and how to revive Atlantic City", influential in the San Francisco art scene, seller of Boehm birds and Dali prints, sailor extraordinare, rescuer of communities and torahs ... well, Reese was a hell of a guy, settled in Key West and built a home out of the greatest material ever devised. posted by the man of twists and turns (6 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I grew up visiting the fading Atlantic City of the 60s. We usually stayed at the astonishing, rambling Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel, and Reese Palley had a shop at the hotel's boardwalk entrance. On a cold, bleak winter day Palley's shop was a bright spot with its Boehm birds and other extremely breakable merchandise. I learned not to touch things in Palley's shop.

Thanks for this post... Really brought back memories of pre-casino Atlantic City, which was haunting and lovely in its own unusual way.
posted by kinnakeet at 1:40 AM on January 23, 2016

Indeed he did.
posted by mwhybark at 8:14 AM on January 23, 2016

My parents were on the Paris trip and I am looking at the "Dali" litho they brought back with them as I type this: the jack of hearts. (The original offer was just for the jokers, BTW, as there are only two in a deck vs. four jacks, queens, or kings. When the jokers sold out, Palley chartered the second jet and started selling the other cards.) They had a great time on that trip. There's also another "Dali" from Palley, a portrait of a younger Picasso, itself signed w/ a small self portrait of Dali. The Picasso litho is very striking.

(Why do I put "Dali" in quotes? Because I've never been able to authenticate either of these lithographs. Sadly, because Dali flooded his own market as he got older, he made it easy for fakes and forgeries to come on the market. One has to wonder if Palley was himself a knowing player in that game.)
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 9:05 AM on January 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wow, I never knew about this person. Thanks for sharing.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:20 AM on January 23, 2016

Sad to hear about Palley passing away. He's the reason I built a freaking boat in the first place. In There Be No Dragons, he advises that if you want to learn to sail, you should build your own boat. So I did. The joke I always roll out when people ask about it, is "If I ever get my hands on that guy..."

Now I'll never have that chance.

Reese was an amazing story teller. My favorites are his sailing up the Suez canal, and needing a flag that wouldn't attract heat from the locals, he settled on the Confederate flag. Because no one in the middle east had any idea what the Confederate flag was or stood for. Genius.

Another story about that time, is the gentleman who gifts Palley an assault rifle with the condition that he must find a peaceful use for it. Sure enough, during a storm, the Unlikely's lines foul and Reese grabs the machine gun and goes on deck to blast the masthead to smithereens, allowing them to drop the mainsail. Again, pure genius.

Unlikely Passages, Unlikely People and There Be No Dragons are required reading for anyone who dreams of living aboard, or anyone who just want to do a little armchair navigating. All the oceans of the world are a little smaller without Reese.
posted by valkane at 12:39 PM on January 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:55 PM on January 23, 2016

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