You may have caught him spinning at the Griffin, in the Cosmopolitan’s Bond or at Vegas StrEATs, a monthly food-truck, arts and music festival of which he is one-fourth partner. With his witty personality, extensive musical knowledge and constant and quick ideas on how to get a party started, the Las Vegas-bred former hip-hop DJ-turned-party-rocker Alonzo Valencia is always hungry and makes sure to leave his crowds wanting more.
How did you hook up with Vegas StrEATS?
When StrEATS first started, Slider Truck approached me and Jordan (DJ Air Stegosaurus) to handle the music and bookings. We didn’t know what we were doing, but had to take rein of everything. It started with the music, and then we just got involved with everything else. It’s been great because it definitely helps [us] network. It used to be really tough to find Las Vegas talent, but now we get approached by hip-hop artists, indie bands and DJs.
StrEATS will host its one-year anniversary March 10. The event has garnered more than 4,600 Facebook “likes” and 3,000 Twitter followers. That’s quite the trajectory.
It was just going to be a food festival, but it’s turned into more than that. There have been people I don’t know who are like, “DJ ZO, what’s up?” and it’s a good feeling. The goal now is to make it wrap around Sixth Street and El Cortez, and [to] end right there so you can walk into Beauty Bar and into Insert Coin(s).
Any Year One highlights?
Halloween was really crazy; we had a huge inflatable Stay Puft [Marshmallow] Man as the stage drop. It was probably one of the most stressful things to do, and if anything was going to happen to that we were going to have to pay $10,000 for a Marshmallow Man. Once it all came to fruition it was a good feeling. We had a live Leatherface with a chainsaw running around scaring people, so that was hilarious.
How do you think StrEATS has boosted the local nightlife scene?
It helps a lot of not-so-well-known acts get exposed. I don’t wanna say we’re a big platform for artists, but after we book certain artists their exposure skyrockets. When we booked Rhyme N Rhythm, I wasn’t too familiar with them, and after that they were playing Insert Coin(s) and Snitch [at Ghostbar]. As far as changing nightlife, it really caters to the downtown scene: it’s hassle-free, no dress code, good drinks. You don’t have to worry about what kind of tennis shoes you’re wearing or spend $50 on a Long Island iced tea. You can have a good time at StrEATS for $20.
Who makes up the typical crowd?
The crowd is so diverse and it caters to everyone; they gel together and it’s a big melting pot. One thing I’ve noticed is if you’re from Vegas, it’s like a giant reunion. You see people you haven’t seen in years. Sometimes a homeless person or two; no one bothers them and they just dance. I’d rather have a homeless person dance than have five stuck-up chicks just kind of sittin’ there.
We’ve had comedians show up. [Pawn Stars’] Chumlee, we see him walking around taking pictures with people. We had George Maloof show up all drunk when [DJ] Justin Baulé was setting up and there were a few minutes of dead air, and he was like, “Play some fuckin’ music!” Our emcee was like, “We will play some music as soon as the turntables are set, Mr. Maloof.” Just seeing George Maloof at your event was pretty cool.