Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 23: Ira Rat)

Ira Rat

IRA RAT runs Filthy Loot Press, and is the author of Pacifier, a story collection, and Participation Trophy, a novella. He works, writes, and makes music in Ames, Iowa.
My current favorite book is: Thomas Moore’s Alone, which is probably the most unique book I’ve read in years. Though, in the past year, I’ve read all of his books that are still in print. Alone was written long before all this shit going on in the world, but it captures the weird existentialist tone of the year.

My current favorite film is: They Live.

My current favorite film director is: John Waters.

My current favorite actor is: John Goodman.

My current favorite television show is: …just got done binging The Wire. I guess it’s better late than never with that. We watched all five seasons in a little over two weeks, which makes me feel a little gross to think about that. It’s a really solid show, but I don’t know if it holds up to a decade of being hyped up.

My current favorite album is: …I went from running a record label to doing music reviews, so I’ve been pretty jaded on listening to “new” music the last few years. The last record to give me one of those hair-on-my-arms-raising moments was probably Jay Reatard’s Blood Visions, which was like a decade ago, but after randomizing my Discogs collection, Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain seems as good of an answer as any.

My current state of mind is: a little all over the place, but that’s not really anything new. Lately, I’ve been trying to get more literary work and contemporary art into the press. Which has been like pulling teeth, as the majority of the things that we have put out have been genre-related. It’s frustrating, but it’s a frustration that I’m putting on myself because I’m wanting to do something that doesn’t fit into a standard box. I could sit here and over-intellectualize my thoughts on the matter, but it would probably put people to sleep.

My current chemical romance involves: Diet A&W Root Beer (up to 8 liters a day), random energy drinks, any booze that tastes like black licorice, vaping (started this year after years of not smoking), running a press…

My current favorite word is: …I’ve always had a weird fascination with “no.”

My current favorite quote is: “Art is what you can get away with.”—Andy Warhol

My current favorite saying is: “I’ve got nothing.”

My current mode of transportation is: a blue Kia… um… something or another. Twentyish years old, I only drive it about twice a week. I commuted an hour for a year when I was going back to college/working in Des Moines at different graphic design jobs. I’m happy I don’t have to do that anymore. I’m not really someone who enjoys driving/putting much thought into my car.

My current favorite fast food item is: Culver’s Breaded Pork Tenderloin. I’m a Midwest boy at heart. Do you think I can get some gift certificates for this product placement?

My current workout routine consists of: walking between my bed, desk chair, and couch—repeat for nearly a year.

My current regrettable decision involves: eating really spicy Indian food for “breakfast.”

My current hopes and dreams are: to keep building my press, Filthy Loot. I could say that I’d love to be a millionaire that didn’t have to worry about the day job shit in order to focus on the things that actually interest me, but even if I were independently wealthy I’d probably get roped into doing all the mundane crap I’m already doing.

My current hobbies/projects include: running Filthy Loot. We have two mini anthologies and two novellas in the pipeline, along with more ideas for projects than I have time to actually do. Within the last year I’ve put out a book of short stories, Pacifier, and my first novella, Participation Trophy, and I’m a few thousand words into the next one, Just Another God Damn Failure. I also do all kinds of artsy nonsense, most of which will never see the light of day.

My current way of creating things is: to consume as much pop culture nonsense as I can and overthink it until it comes out the other end as something completely different. So, I spend way too much time doing that.


Ira Rat is online at

Brian Alan Ellis runs House of Vlad Press, and is the author of several books, including Sad Laughter (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2018). His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Fanzine, Monkeybicycle, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Heavy Feather Review, and Yes Poetry, among other places. He lives in Florida.

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