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"As weird as it is wonderful. You have to invent a new genre for this." - Der Spiegel


premieres Friday MARCH 11th 2022

Paradise Theater


pre-purchase tickets

Rialto's live show is both an art film and chamber concert, offering film segments interspersed with live musical performance. This performance features the Venuti String Quartet (w/ arrangements by Andrew Downing) and singers Robin Dann (Bernice), Ryan Driver (The Weather Station), Thom Gill (Owen Pallett), Felicity Williams (Bahamas) and John Southworth. The film cast includes Martin Tielli (Rheostatics), Janine Theriault (Lemieux Pilon 4D Art), and Eric Woolfe (Eldritch Theatre). Film & songs by John Southworth; cinematography by Matthew Maaskant.


out OCTOBER 1st, 2021 on Tin Angel


songs by John Southworth

performed by Venuti String Quartet

arrangements by Andrew Downing

produced by Jean Martin & John Southworth

Singers (in order of appearance):

John Southworth

Tamara Lindeman

Robin Dann

Felicity Williams

Daniel Knox

Martin Tielli

Ryan Driver

Thom Gill

track list:


Elevated vision   

Van Leer   

Silver film canister

Courier pilgrim             

You are what you dream

Lost child of the railroad                

Real the reel


Sarcastic fisherman           

Underground cinema

Mexico Maine           

My people          


Love's Magic                                             





Finale episode 8 RIALTO out Monday October 25th, 2021

featuring D.A. Meeks, Thom Gill, Robin Dann, Luka Kuplowsky, Phil Melanson

in this the final episode Klaus enters the “Rialto”, a movie house with a peculiar magic. A final vision and confrontation expose the key riddles that have driven his quest.

episodes released biweekly (total 8)

each episode features a chapter from the book with select songs from the album


CAST (in order of appearance):

John Southworth – Klaus
Janine Theriault – Mrs. Gheradini
Claudia Dey – “Van Leer” spirit
Francis Nicholson – Lost Child Of The Railroad
Tamara Lindeman – E. Van Leer
Veda Hille – “The Far East” spirit
Robin Dann – Wanda Rose
Luka Kuplowsky – young Klaus
Daniel Knox – Longfellow
Devon Sproule – “The Green Angel” spirit
Rusty Keeler – motel manger
Ryan Driver – Willy “Silly” Simon
Sam Allison – "Nabokov"
D.A. Meeks – “Underground Cinema” and “Rialto” spirit

Feurd Ian Robertson – library security guard
Meg Remy – “Limen” and “Wandersee” spirit
Martin Tielli – Bill Barc
Frankie Figliomeni – waiter
Travis Stokl – bank teller
Andy Magoffin – tramp
Cory Bruyea – tramp
Felicity Williams – member of “The Wan”
Thom Gill – Don Wan
Phil Melanson – thin man


new book cover.jpg



out NOVEMBER 1st, 2021 on Sud de Valeur Press


The scent of The Fool is here – a sweet curdle. It is night. I am stray. A year out of high school. I am walking under a railroad bridge on the edge of town. I am walled-off, rain-wet, naïve. I am climbing up the black stone wall and up through a hole towards blue prairie skies.

The spasm is coming – from the pink cushioned-coffin I jolt with serpentine force. The black eel is born up. Like a slippery dove it tries to flee. The eel flits and spins in the smoke. This wriggling, contracting fleeing locks me within a spiral wormhole for what seems like a minute, but it is only a second or two. Flash visions of faces – Bill Barc, Longfellow, Silly, Nabokov, Pierrot, E. Van Leer, Old Walt and Wanda-Rose swirling and interchanging. Memories. Voices. Voices producing vision. Vision producing voices.

The eel is out.

"Oh my God what a beautiful, beautiful thing this is... Rialto!" -  author Miriam Toews





A few years back I had this dream: I was walking through vast grasslands towards a solitary hill. On top of the hill was a movie house. On the marquee: History of Jazz

I kept thinking about it. What was in the movie house? Why was I going there? Why “History of Jazz”? To reach some kind of insight, I began a film script, extending the dream tenfold. The script morphed into a novella-sized book, a series of songs, and finally, a “mind-movie” podcast, forming this labyrinthine, multi-medium story – equal parts dream, film and waking life.

In Rialto’s extended narrative, loner, insomniac Klaus is working a stint as a driver for a small town writer’s festival. Following a series of unsettling paranormal events, he finds himself agreeing to a strange request – to deliver a film reel in time for its premiere at a secluded movie house – the Rialto. The journey leads him through a circuit of strangely located, oracular movie houses, screening a mix of dreams, fantasies, memories and prophecies – numinous films of personal revelation. Inhabiting the movie houses are underworld characters and spirits with ambiguous motivations, some helping and some hindering Klaus’s quest. It’s a Dantesque, deep cleanse pilgrimage to untangle bitterness and trauma, rediscover a lost clairvoyance, ancestry, and ultimately, the medicinal source of eternal youth. A metaphysical noir. A hyperstition.








special thanks to Canada Council for the Arts and Toronto Arts Council


copyright 2021 by John Southworth