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  Progressive Mondays | Lucas Taratus Perks Up to the Coffee House Rave
by Lucas Taratus
Photos by Low Tek

Dan and Ronnie behind the turntables - and a mocha latte.So you're an aspiring DJ, but you don't know how to break into the scene. Well, you have to perfect your technique, make a mix-tape and give it away to whomever will listen. Then you'll need to start going to all the right parties and clubs, meeting the DJs and networking with the promoters, handing out your card, while the whole time incessantly checking your email hoping like hell something will happen. But all this shameless self-promotion and effort won't even guarantee you a shot. Sometimes the best you can hope for is a gig writing about the music you wish you were playing.

Or you can do what Ronnie Rask and Dan Mizrahi did, and start your own scene. Better known as DJ Raskal and Beautiful Dan, Ronnie and Dan are the brains and heart behind Progressive Mondays, a free weekly event that takes place every Monday night at Joe Muggs Newsstand in Buckhead.

Ordinarily, Joe Muggs is a quite spot in Buckhead where you can go to read this week's Time Magazine and sip on over-caffeinated coffee drinks, but that all changes every Monday when Dan and Ronnie host something like a rave in a living room. Imagine combining the intimacy and stimulation of your favorite coffeehouse, with the news and information of your local newsstand, and placing it all to the throbbing beat of a four-on-the-floor kick drum. That's Progressive Mondays. A place where you can go after an exhausting weekend, or a stressful day back at the office, get together with your best friends, chill out, and listen to the latest underground techno records.

Progressive Mondays was born from a simple, but important, need that every wannabe DJ has — the need to be heard. Both Ronnie and Dan had caught the DJing bug, and they were getting good, but aside from playing a few house parties they had no place to showcase their burgeoning talents. Ron was eager to take time off from the grind of his career as a professional in-line skater, and Dan was looking for a much needed break from his studies of sonoluminescence, the conversion of sound energy to light energy. Still, the two didn't know how to bring their music to the public.

That's when Dan, then an employee of Joe Muggs, got the idea to ask his manager if he and Ronnie could bring their equipment some night and play on the shop's patio. It was a perfect idea, but at first the management held back on giving the boys permission to go ahead with their project. It wasn't until Dan quit some months later that the manager suggested to Dan and Ronnie that they bring their decks the following Monday to give their idea a spin. It worked.

The first Mondays took place on July 19, 1999, and since then it has grown from an initial gathering of a couple close friends to a downright "happening" whose partakers are a who's who of the Atlanta rave scene. Not only that, but Mondays has become such an in event that most weeks the number of attendees threatens to exceed the capacity of the rather large coffee shop.

The 'candykid' sweatshop If you ask Dan and Ronnie where Mondays' popularity stems from they'll first joke that it's the Vanilla Cappuccinos, but then admit that even they aren't certain why what they have created has taken off to such a degree. One likely answer can be found in the response that they got from a younger Mondays regular. At 16 years old, he had trouble getting into parties, and being such a lover of the scene, this became intensely frustrating. Joe Muggs is different though, in that anyone of any age can attend. This is why he, and many others like him, call Joe Muggs home every Monday night. That, and the fact that it is entirely free, and that allowance only stretches so far.

Yet those aren't even the best features of Mondays. As the event has grown so has the reach of talent featured there. What started out as a place for Ron and Danny to "play out" has become a showcase for some of the most talented local, and national, DJs around. Every week you can expect to hear the turntablism of a new jockey — it's not just Ronnie and Dan anymore.

Mondays's roster reads like a list of Atlanta's finest DJ talent. Some of the highlights have been Gene Carbonell, DJ Sync, Bobble, and the dueling lap-tops of Preston. It's not just the amazing Atlanta locals, either. This summer, for Ronnie's birthday party, DJ Moda of San Francisco, one of the most popular Trance DJs on the circuit, played at Mondays after hearing about the event from a friend. Some weeks you can even expect to hear Ronnie's girlfriend Bri, a fine DJ in her own right, work the wheels of steel.

Dan and Ronnie have dreams of turning Mondays into a record label for up and coming talents, a sort of representation of everything Mondays has stood for and sought to accomplish. They're also planing to install a system in the shop that would allow the music to be heard both inside and out. For right now, though, Dan and Ronnie have their hands full bettering their own sound — a sound that has been described as being similar to the great DJ Nick Warren — and keeping Monday nights alive.

So, has Mondays helped to brake Dan and Ronnie into the DJing scene? Well, if hosting what some consider the most happening weekly event in all of Atlanta can't be considered success, then their newfound status as resident DJs at the Playhouse, and party held every Friday at the Masquerade, surely can. Not only that, but Dan and Ronnie have also been invited to play various one-off events, including Essential, an all Trance night [that was] at the Vault, Jan. 20, where [they played] alongside Mondays regular Gene Carbonell and DJ Mike S.

But Dan and Ronnie aren't sitting at home waiting for something to bubble up. Nope, they've managed to bring the action to them. By starting their own scene, Dan and Ronnie have avoided the tedious and often disappointing process of becoming an accepted DJ talent, lit the burners and brewed up their own energy-injected cup of success.

s Joe Muggs is located at 3275 Peachtree Rd in Buckhead. Progressive Mondays is every Monday night from 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.

This article originally appeared in the January 22, 2000 issue of The Scene. You can pick The Scene up for free every week at hip in-town locations everywhere, or visit them on the Web at www.atlantascene.com. You can view more photos of Progressive Mondays at Joe Muggs: January 17, 2000 and January 31, 2000.

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