Host Gary Zabinski and his rotating guest co-hosts engage in the art of lively conversation from the vantage point of BOOTH ONE (formerly known as TalkSports).
In the heyday of the Pump Room at the Ambassador East Hotel here in Chicago, Booth One was the most sought after seat in the house, as the privileged celebrities and other luminaries (check out the amazing list here) who were seated there could be seen from the lobby, the bar and the rest of the room. A place to see and to be seen. The original Booth One from the ’40s is on display in a wonderful new exhibit at the Chicago History Museum called Secret Lives of Objects. And there is a colorful replica in the theater at the UP Club at Second City.
On our BOOTH ONE podcast, we attempt to revive that feeling of being in the best seat in the house by seeking out and describing our Booth One Experiences for our listeners. We talk about our recent Booth One brushes with famous guests, first class events, and behind-the-scenes encounters. We’ll also continue to have Booth One conversations covering a variety of topics, both current and esoteric. We’ll send our hosts to some of the more exotic places and events in this great metropolis and beyond, looking for Booth One-type experiences to share with you.
Anything is fair game on BOOTH ONE, reflective of the kinds of conversations that must have taken place in the legendary Pump Room’s first-class seating. Be a fly on the wall we attempt to recreate the magic, mystery and mischief of the BOOTH ONE experience for your amusement and edification!
Send us photos and descriptions of your Booth One experiences and we’ll share them with our listeners on the podcast. Your reservation to BOOTH ONE is waiting!
Gary’s career in the entertainment industry has spanned four decades, with credits from the 80s to the present. He has worked as a producer, director, venue manager and promoter in theatre, music, dance, opera, cabaret and comedy.
He has an Actors’ Equity card from his days as a professional stage manager and emergency performer on and off-Broadway and in the legendary Chicago theatre community.
His passions include golf, the American Musical Theatre, Stephen King, the US Supreme Court, cooking for friends, red wine, the Cubs, the Blackhawks, and a frosty half volka/half gin martini.
Gary is an advocate of a well-rounded education, preferably from an obscure Midwestern liberal arts college. And the school of hard knocks.
His friends refer to him as The Gangster.
Betsy Ingram (Producer):
Betsy has worked in Chicago theatre as a producer, director, actor, and general manager. She now works with the company that oversees production for concerts and events at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Past positions include founder and Artistic Director of the Thresholds Theatre Arts Project, General Manager for Chicago Shakespeare Company, Producing Director for New Crime Productions, and Executive Director of Blind Parrot Productions. She directed The Remembered City featuring Tony Fitzpatrick and Steve Earle, which was performed as part of the Traffic Series at Steppenwolf Theatre then selected to be presented at the Galway Arts Festival. She is the president of Booth One Productions, a non-profit that produces this podcast as well as theatre projects such as the world premiere of The Coast of Chicago.