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Seth Sikes on beach massages, Judy and Liza, and his upcoming show at Club Café

We caught up with the Paris, Texas, native, who lives in New York City, to talk about all things travel.

Seth Sikes at Fire Island Pines, N.Y.Victor G. Jeffries

Ever since he was a young boy, Seth Sikes was “obsessed” with Judy Garland. “While other kids would be singing, you know, Mariah Carey and other pop music singers’ songs, I would run around the playground singing ‘I got rhythm, I got music …’ [from Judy Garland’s rendition of the George and Ira Gershwin song “I Got Rhythm”]. It’s been in my blood forever,” Sikes said on a recent phone call from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he is performing and vacationing. “I got off lucky as a kid in Texas who liked Judy Garland. I think other kids thought I was weird, but I wasn’t bullied, thank God.” Sikes, 37, is bringing his affinity for Garland and other “musical theater divas” including Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand, to a one-night performance — his Boston debut — at Club Café on Jan. 29. “The difference in what I do and what other people do is that I don’t do any sort of impersonation. It’s a loving tribute to my obsession with these people that I’ve had since I was a little boy,” said Sikes of his show, “Seth Sikes Sings Judy and Liza and Barbra, etc.” He added: “What you get to hear is old songs from a youngish guy with a modern twist.” In addition to playing at New York City piano bars and other musical venues (including some in Provincetown), Sikes has worked as a production assistant and assistant director on several Broadway shows, including, most recently, the Tony Award-winning “The Band’s Visit,” for which he was an assistant director. We caught up with the Paris, Texas, native, who lives in New York City, to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation destination?


It’s a toss up between Fire Island Pines [on New York’s Long Island] and my new favorite getaway, which is Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Last year I went down [to Puerto Vallarta] for three weeks and stayed for four months. That seems to be a common trend among its visitors. There are so many shows to see every night — performers like myself, as well as concerts and drag shows. Great restaurants. You can rent a chair on the beach and people will bring you drinks all day and stop by to offer outdoor massages. Most importantly, it’s amazingly cheap. They basically pay you to eat the food, which is often very good.

Favorite food or drink while vacationing?


Margaritas — especially at the beach. I could drink them all day, but in order to function properly, I usually stick with white wine. And when in Europe, it’s great to drink carafes of local wines, which are, again, insanely cheap and often delicious. For food … I’m from Texas, so I grew up loving Tex-Mex food — which is different than Mexican food. It’s all about the hot sauce.

Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?

Israel. I’m not religious, but I’d like to visit all of the holy sites and see the splendor of the Western Wall. Also, I’ve heard the parties are great in the Holy Land.

One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?

A book. As the quote goes: A book is a loyal companion always. Actually, I take several books. I’m an avid reader of fiction, and I don’t like e-books. I’m terrified of being stuck somewhere without a novel, so I always bring several books, which make my luggage heavier … but it’s so worth it.


Aisle or window?

Window, because it’s easier to sleep, although it’s not usually very good sleep. Those little neck pillows, of which I’ve bought probably 20 over the years, do absolutely nothing. In fact, I’ve decided that they make matters worse — and yet I still bring one with me.

Favorite childhood travel memory?

We never went very far, but when we did, we’d always drive. I remember long road trips when my parents would fold down the seats of the SUV to make a big play area in the back for me and my brother with lots of toys and snacks. I remember being in the car more than the time we spent in, say, Branson, Mo. But now that I recall my brother and I rolling around in the back of the car, it seems incredibly dangerous, doesn’t it? It was a different time.

Guilty pleasure when traveling?

Aforementioned cheap beach massage.

Best travel tip?

Pack half of what you think you need. I’ve never been anywhere where you couldn’t drop off your laundry to be done overnight. And if you forget something, you can always buy something when you get there. But that’s easier said than done. I should follow my own advice: I just got to Puerto Vallarta and my bag was so full I had to sit on it to close it and then pay extra because it was so heavy.