Complex Messiah

The death last month of psilocybin-mushroom philosopher and rave culture Svengali Terrence McKenna generated a performance-art void that London-based spoken-word sensation Ian Winn is primed to replenish. One man with a microphone, a multimedia screen and a mind on hyper-drive, Winn has a repertoire that is a mix of satirical standup comedy and entrancing readings from his debut novel The Techno Pagan Octopus Messiah, a psychedelic travelogue covering the author's (mis)adventures through India, Egypt and Southeast Asia.

The book was a best seller in the U.K. and received surprisingly kind notes on both his writing and accompanying live act from even such staid publications as the Times of London, whose critic wrote that "Winn displays a rampant thirst for mysticism and self-discovery. One cannot help being won over by his enthusiasm and intellectual energy."

Winn assumed his alter ego after being voted Official New Messiah by the 10,000 counterculturalists at the 1998 Burning Man Festival. They favored Winn's proposed doctrine of emulating the chromopathic communication of octopi and experimenting with dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, an illicit compound distilled from a rare vine in South American rain forests. DMT is the most powerful psychedelic yet discovered, and one trip, Winn assures his disciples, is quite enough. This Techno Pagan Octopus Messiah -- or at least this kaleidoscopic entertainer with a messiah complex -- drops by Phoenix for two shows this Saturday on his first U.S. tour.

Ian Winn, a.k.a. The Techno Pagan Octopus Messiah, will perform two shows on Saturday, May 6, at Modified, 407 East Roosevelt. Showtimes are 8 and 10 p.m. Local turntablist Deepfreq will spin eclectic drum and bass between sets. Cover charge for the entire evening is $5. For details call 602-252-7664.

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David Holthouse
Contact: David Holthouse