Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Melvyn's owner spills beans in new book

Melvyn's owner spills beans in new book

Judith Salkin • The Desert Sun • February 22, 2009

“Raconteur” is a good way to describe Mel Haber, owner of Melvyn's at the Ingleside Inn in Palm Springs for more than 30 years.


Haber has recorded his memories, with co-writer Marshall Terrill, in “Palm Springs รก la Carte: The Colorful World of the Caviar Crowd at Their Favorite Desert Hideaway.”

The book, published this month, is available at the Ingleside Inn. On Thursday, Haber is hosting a book-signing dinner followed by a Q&A at Melvyn's.

The first couple of chapters are devoted his early life in New York, before the Ingleside Inn changed his world.

The rest of the book focuses on Haber's singular ambition of returning the Ingleside Inn to its former glory, and in turn, a success for himself.

Haber admits that he's made “every mistake in the book” when it came to running the famous resort.

In the end, he also says, “If I can make it, anyone can.”

The book is full of anecdotes, like how he turned a scruffy Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw away when they pulled up for the grand opening on a motorcycle.

Or the story of Sir John, the ultimate con artist who ran his ponzi scheme on the Coachella Valley's elite from the Inn.

Haber talks about meeting stars such as John Travolta, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Sinatra, who he calls “Mr. S.”

But not all the memories are good. Haber recalls the still-unsolved murder of his son, Lonny, in 1981.

“It's a pain that never dulls or goes away,” Haber says in the book.

What: Dinner and booksigning with Mel Haber

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, February 26

Where: Melvyn's 200 W. Ramon Road, Palm Springs

Information: www.inglesideinn.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dinner and book signing with Mel Haber

Looking for something fun and interesting to do in Palm Springs? Why not have dinner with a legend?

Mel Haber, the owner and proprietor of Melvyn's Restaurant and The Ingleside Inn, is hosting a special dinner and book signing next week to promote the publication of his new memoir, Palm Springs a la Carte.

The two-hour event starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26 at Melvyns, 200 W. Ramon Road, Palm Springs. Haber, along with co-author Marshall Terrill, who has authored a dozen books and best-selling biographies on Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley and “Pistol” Pete Maravich. The two will discuss Haber's autobiography during a special three-course meal followed by a special question and answer session period. Autographed copies of the book available for purchase. Reservations for the $45 dinner (includes tax and tip) must be pre-paid.

Palm Springs a la Carte: The Colorful World of the Caviar Crowd at Their Favorite Desert Hideaway (Barricade Books, 2009) is a charming, often hilarious book describing the adventures of the novice restauranteur and hotelier, Melvyn Haber, an automotive accessory manufacturer from the bowels of New York City who is a legend in the sugar-frosted society of Palm Springs.

Haber admits he made every mistake in the book, which didn't preclude him from running one of the most successful restaurant's and hotels of all time. His two establishments have attracted a guest list that reads like a Who's Who of the world. Visitors have included Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Marlon Brando, Liberace, Liza Minnelli, President Gerald Ford, Lucille Ball, Dinah Shore, Rita Hayworth, Jerry Lewis and June Allyson.

Haber restored the historic inn and grounds, and built his own restaurant, Melvyn's. He learned the business the hard way and lived through a comedy of errors that would have bankrupted most investors in today's ultra-competitive hotel and restaurant markets. He managed not only to survive, but flourish, and became an example of the American dream in its fullest flower.

The book is filled with entertaining stories that offer a peek into the colorful world of celebrities, Hollywood elite, royalty, diplomats, mafioso and lovable con artists at their favorite desert hideaway.

What: Dinner with Mel Haber

When: Thursday, Feb. 26, 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: Melvyn's Restaurant, 200 W. Ramon Road, Palm Springs

Information: (760) 325-0046 or visit http://www.inglesideinn.com

The Last Mile makes final stop in Chandler


Diane Howell or Candee Lewis – 480.917.6859

Steve McQueen: The Last Mile, an exhibition of photographs taken by Barbara McQueen, will make its final stop in Chandler, Arizona next month.

The exhibition will be on display March 6-April 11, 2009 at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, Arizona. An opening reception for Barbara McQueen will take place on March 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. McQueen will be present along with special guest, Jeb Rosebrook, who wrote the screenplay for Junior Bonner, which was a 1972 McQueen movie filmed in Prescott, Arizona.

It’s the last stop for The Last Mile,” said Barbara McQueen, the actor’s widow. “The last two years have been a constant whirlwind of activity and I’m ready to return to a quieter lifestyle.” Since May 2007, McQueen has traveled with the exhibit to London, San Francisco, Carmel-By-The Sea, Ketchum, Idaho, Slater, Missouri, and Nashville, Tennessee.

Barbara McQueen’s photographs record a behind-the-scenes look at personal pleasures enjoyed near the end of the actor’s life: hitting the road in his vintage pick up trucks, driving 700 miles for a rare World War I motorcycle, flying antique planes in rural California and generally ducking out of Hollywood life. The pictures also capture McQueen on the sets of his last two films, Tom Horn and The Hunter.

The hundreds of photos taken by Barbara McQueen have been collected in a book, also titled Steve McQueen: The Last Mile, which was co-authored with Valley resident Marshall Terrill. The Chandler exhibit will include approximately 30 photographs from that collection, taken from the time the couple met in 1977 through the end of McQueen’s life in 1980, the same year they married.

Admission is free to this intimate portrayal of McQueen’s life. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, call (480) 917.6859 or visit www.chandlercenter.org.

Where: Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, Ariz.

What: Steve McQueen: The Last Mile, an exhibition of photographs by Barbara McQueen

When: March 6 - April 11, 2009, Opening Reception March 6, 7-9 p.m.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m
Saturdays, noon-4 p.m.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

McQueen tribute book set for fall release

Steve McQueen: A Tribute to the King of Cool

Marshall Terrill’s long-awaited tribute to the small-town rebel who continues to keep so many millions spellbound is coming to bookstores for the holiday season.

Steve McQueen: A Tribute to the King of Cool (Dalton Watson Fine Books), tells the actor’s story in chronological order through the eyes of those who knew him best: family, friends, co-stars, business associates, acquaintances and adoring fans from around the globe. Written in passage form, each person brings a different view to the man and legend, presenting him in an unsurpassed 360-degree perspective.

It’s very unique in its presentation because it reads like a biography, but it’s really a photo and tribute book,” Terrill said, who spent nearly three years compiling the information. “There’s really nothing else on the market quite like it. I know it will please McQueen fans.”

Accompanying the 200 passages are hundreds of photos taken of McQueen throughout his life and movie career, many seen here for the first time as well as personal items, documents and movie memorabilia.

The book will also include a foreword by Barbara McQueen, a family tree of Steve McQueen’s history and quotes by several Hollywood luminaries.

Steve McQueen: A Tribute to the King of Cool is slated for a fall 2009 release. For more information, visit www.daltonwatson.com.