Music library

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Using DITA to render a music library

All music content is based on an iTunes library (exported as XML), generated DITA topics and maps, and rendered based on selected link.

The frame on the left is generated in the browser based on a DITA map, pointing to information encoded in the DITA music specialization (see the DITA Open Toolkit download page). Links from maps are to DITA XML files rendered on the fly in the browser.

It was a fun project...

Over the last couple of years, as I've made less use of iTunes (possibly related: as my personal laptop grows slower and slower), I do not update this page as frequently as I used to. I still like to keep the page up though; if nothing else, it was a fun project, and showed off an interesting if not-particularly-useful way to use DITA outside of its original purpose.

Live music

Obviously, I like music. Even more than that, I like live music. For all of the music in my library, I've marked bands that I've seen live with the name of the venue(s), using the Grouping field within the mp3 info. Of course that leaves out bands I've seen that I don't have music for, as well as those from years past that I no longer recall clearly. Some one-time venues are also collected under the category of "Other". The scripts that generate Ditamap files use the grouping info to highlight or create hover text in the left-hand panel. Descriptions of most venues appear below.

Narrows Center for the Arts
Non-profit venue in Fall River, MA, which is without doubt one of the best concert venues around. What an amazing place to see music - small, excellent sound, rotating art shows in the gallery, and an amazing crew to make it happen. Artists I've seen at the Narrows are italicized in the panel on the left. Despite being just over an hour from home, I've been a regular volunteer here for the last four years, and will be sad to leave it behind when I move away from the coast.
Cedar Cultural Center
The Cedar is a non-profit venue in Minneapolis, MN that brings artists from around the community, around the country, and around the world. Bands and singers that I've seen at the Cedar are bolded in the contents window, along with one or two items that I purchased at the Cedar when most of the band was present. I volunteered regularly at the Cedar over my 6 years in Minneapolis, leading to the many bold items on the left; it's hard to see a great show for free and not justify buying a CD to take home. I was particularly attracted to the world music (Nordic Roots, Celtic, Gypsy, African, ...) and folk shows.
Club Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center
Famous folk club in Cambridge, MA, around for over 50 years. Very intimate (at times cramped) setting, with some really great folk acts. I've volunteered here several times as well (yes, it's another non-profit).
First Avenue
Famous rock club right in downtown Minneapolis, and most frequent location of concerts I saw in college, as well as less frequent visits over the years since. Some of the more memorable shows there include TMBG, Boild in Lead, Korn, and the Dresden Dolls.
400 Bar
Small bar just down the block from the Cedar, attracts quite a few good people, in particular seems to be a frequent stop for artists on the Bloodshot Records label. Some favorite shows there include Dan Bern, The Red Elvises, and Th' Legendary Shack Shakers.
The Middle East
Cambridge, MA club that has all kinds of music; it's drawn me in particular for shows put on by artists on the Bloodshot Records label. Nice place, and good food.
Tiny, crowded spot at Porter Square in Cambridge. Folks have been telling me for quite a while that I need to try it out. I finally did when some friends were in town, and we saw Sarah Blacker - the show and the venue were great.

While the venues above represent the vast majority the live shows I've seen, several other places have a special place in my memory:

Southpark Meadows
Big open-air spot in south Austin, TX. Site of my first concert ever: Metallica, with opening bands Candlebox, Suicidal Tendencies, and Fight. I saw many other great shows there in the mid-90's, but alas I shall see no more - the land was sold and is now a Wal-Mart.
Newport Folk Festival
So far I've only been once - but it was one of the best day-long festivals I've been to, along with many of my fellow volunteers at the Narrows Center of the Arts.
Gruene Hall
I've only been to this Gruene, TX venue once, to see The Shake Russell Trio. They serve beer in Mason Jars. Quirky spot.
Busking on the streets of Amsterdam
The only time I've seen one of my all time favorite bands, the Hoodangers, was when I caught them busking in Amsterdam. Bought their first CD from them, and have ordered others as they were released from their home base in Australia.
Iceland Music Festival
My first real trip to Iceland coincided with a big music festival; we managed to catch Taraf de Haïdouks at a really cool split-level restaurant / concert hall in Reykjavík that I don't know the name of.
Keflavík Airport Duty Free Store
On that trip to Iceland, I got an amazing CD from Guitar Islancio. On the next trip thru, I stopped in the Duty Free shop to get another, and they were in the store playing. Selling signed CDs. Really. It was pretty cool.
Maloe Melo Blues Cafe
Small, incredibly smoke-filled blues joint somewhere in Amsterdam. Heineken and some great Belgian beer on tap, walls covered in old band posters, many from Austin, TX ... great atmosphere (except for the breathing part). Saw Tio Gringo, a very peculiar experience indeed.
Gorkii Park
The famous park in Moscow held an outdoor festival on Friday the 13th, July 2001. I managed to go and catch Aria (Ария), Alisa (Алиса), and Korol i Shut (Король и шут) -- three hard rocking Russian bands. I'm a fan of the latter two in particular.
Liberty Lunch
Great Austin, TX club that is no more. Venue for many of my early concert experiences, including TMBG, Sincola, and Violent Femmes.
Carleton College
My alma-mater; some artists played at special events (Bang on a Can All Stars, Battlefield Band), others at the outdoor spring concert (Mason Jennings, Poi Dog Pondering).

Other places I've only been to once, or probably won't go back to in the near future ... but I like to be complete, so any other venue that might pop up in hover-text is listed here:

Arnaud's Restaurant, New Orleans, LA
Went out to Arnaud's for a fancy dinner during Lavacon, while the Gumbo Trio wandered about playing classics, requests, and their own music. Nice place.
Austin City Music Hall
Fairly big venue in downtown Austin, TX; I've been there for a concert with my sister, and for the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar (when a nice Django-guitar style band was playing).
Berklee Performing Arts Center
Wonderful place for a show - so far I've only been there to see TMBG, but I would love to go back again.
Black Cat Lounge
Former club on 6th Street in Austin, TX; probably the first dive bar I went to, back in high school. I went to see the cover band - Banana Blender Surprise - because one of my teachers said I should. They were great.
Blue Ocean Music Hall
Beautiful venue in in Salisbury, MA, right on the ocean. Good sound and seats, but the bar near the stage meant that Dar Williams had to compete with a martini shaker more often than she should have.
Borders Bookstore
I've seen the Red Elvises and TMBG at the (late) Richfield, MN Borders, in the middle of a giant set of big box stores. How odd. But the bands I quite like, so I'll take it.
The Cabooze
Outdoor venue in Minneapolis, MN, just down the road from the beloved Cedar. I only made it there once - on a beautiful evening with perfect weather, to see Gogol Bordello.
Continental Club
Rather legendary small place on Congress Ave in Austin, TX - and another spot I went to see Shake Russell, with the great bassist Mike Roberts.
Dakota Jazz Club
I didn't make it there until near the end of my time in Minneapolis, otherwise I'd probably have gone more than once ... nice place for music. we were right up by the stage for Susan Werner.
Davis Square (Sommerville, MA)
We ran in to a "Festival of Anarchist Street Bands" here on our first weekend living in the Boston Metro Area. I got a quirky album from the Italian band Titubanda, which is nice but not nearly as fun to listen to as they were to watch.
The Erwin Center
I know it best for hosting University of Texas Basketball games, but it was also the spot where I saw my first arena concerts - Nine Inch Nails (with opener Marily Manson) and The Cure.
Fitzgerald Theater
Home of Garrison Keillor ... but also a nice place for concerts.
Flipnotics Coffee House
Little coffee shop in South Austin - for a few years, I went there every time I was in Austin to see the weekly show by Shorty Long.
House of Blues (Boston, MA)
I've only been there a couple times so far, to see the Dropkick Murphy's St. Patrick's Day Show. The first time I went there was great; the second time was somewhat less entertaining after a flying beer can left a big cut on my nose.
Johnny D's
Nice restaurant / bar in Davis Square - we were there for brunch when we ran in to the street band festival. I've since been back for several shows. It gave me a nice sense of welcome when, on my very first visit, we were seated at a table decorated with an LP cover from the great Minneapolis band Boiled in Lead.
Kitty Kat Klub
Dinkytown Bar (Minneapolis) with nice music - I was there once or twice for the Cafe Accordion Orchestra.
La Zona Rosa
Austin, TX club that I attended a few times back in college; it shows up a lot in my concert list because one or two of those concerts were sponsored by the radio and had a long list of bands.
L.L. Bean Factory Outlet
Freeport, Maine flagship store for the company; during the summer they host free outdoor concerts on Saturday night. we happened to be in Maine the week that Asleep at the Wheel played ... I considered that a lucky thing.
Minnesota State Fair
OK, so I haven't been to one of the big stereotypical Arena shows there ... but I did see the Sweet Colleens there on a small stage, and I list it because I really like both them and the state fair.
Maplewood, MN venue with a very corporate feel. I saw the Tossers and the Dropkick Murphys there (at the same show). Even if I still lived there, I probably wouldn't go back unless one of my all-time favorite bands was there.
Palmer's Bar
Next door to the Cedar; somehow my first visit there was after I moved out of MN, to see Charlie Parr (another favorite MN artist).
Minneapolis club that I visited a few times; the Apocalyptica show is one of my more memorable concert experiences (have you ever seen someone play a cello that was lifted over his head? Yeah, I didn't think so. All of them did it.)
Rhinelander, WI
Dar Williams is the only singer I remember from this very-out-of-the-way college in the woods around Rhinelander, WI. Particularly notable that the show involved a 4 hour drive from an Ultimate Frisbee Tournament, and a 3 hour drive back to a hotel once it ended (for more Ultimate the next day).
Rochester Summer Concert Series
Rochester, MN hosts a nice series of free outdoor concerts in the summer. I went to a few of them ... most memorable was Eddie From Ohio on a gorgeous summer evening.
Sanders Theater
Beautiful theater on the Harvard campus in Cambridge, MA. Even with seats purchased just before they sold out, the Richard Thompson show was amazing.
Somerville Theater
Nice place in nearby Somerville, MA, in Davis Square. Managed to get first row tickets to Jonathan Coulton ... very nice.
St. Olaf College
Across town from my alma mater; they hosted the yearly fall concert, which was unfortunately in a college gym, but fortunately got some fun bands (such as Soul Coughing and Violent Femmes).
Stubbs BBQ
Nice spot for some outdoor music near downtown Austin, TX. Oh, and good food, too.
Target Center
Downtown Minneapolis home of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and also host to arena-style concerts.
University of Minnesota, Morris
Made the trek here to watch an outdoor show with Dar Williams.
Varsity Theater
Another Dinkytown venue alongside the University of Minnesota. Very quirky atmosphere, so I went there for appropriately quirky shows (Jonathan Coulton and Horace X).
Warped Tour
Not a venue exactly - a touring summer concert with mostly pop-punk bands. I'm sure I saw a lot of bands there that I have in my collection, but I don't remember seeing ... I went to see it at the Meadows in Austin, TX; in the Metrodome parking lot in Minneapolis; and on Harriet Island in St. Paul (the last ending with a violent thunderstorm).
Waterloo Records
My all-time favorite independent music store - I happened in to some nice in-store performances while browsing.
Wilbur Theater
Odd place to see a punk show, but I went there on my first birthday in the Boston area to see Against Me! with opener Ted Leo.
Other places lost in time
Yes, I've been to many other spots that aren't listed because I only went once (University in Duluth), or because I remember the band but not the venue (Everclear), or because I saw a band there but didn't end up bringing home music, or because I got lazy trying to record the info.