Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 57: Duncan Birmingham)

Duncan Birmingham

DUNCAN BIRMINGHAM is a writer and filmmaker in Los Angeles. His fiction has most recently appeared in Mystery TribuneJuked, 7×7 and Joyland. He’s been a writer and producer on numerous TV shows including Maron (with Marc Maron) on IFC and Blunt Talk (from Jonathan Ames) on Starz. His short films have premiered at Sundance, AFI, GenArt and New York Film Festival. He can be found procrastinating on Twitter at @duncanbirm. His first book of short stories, The Cult in My Garage, (Maudlin House) was published in August. 

My current favorite thing to read is: Richard Lange’s Rovers, which was awesome. Elmore Leonard is my go-to author when I need to read something great. Lorrie Moore as well. I really liked Emma Cline’s collection Daddy, as well as Matthew Baker’s Why Visit America. I love Mark Harris and Sam Wasson for books about Hollywood. I just started Jon Lindsey’s Body High and can tell I’ll tear through it. Don’t even get me started on this book Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties 

My current favorite thing to watch is: that show about an Australian hit man, Mr. Inbetween. I’m a sucker for anything about cults. The Rockford Files is my comfort show. I love how low-tech Jim Rockford is. He’ll foil bad guys by squirting soap on the floor or dropping an ashtray on someone’s head. I love seeing LA in the ’70s as he drives around. I’ve been watching a lot of noir on Criterion and Kanopy. Point Blank, Cutter’s Way, Pale Flower, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion are some recent favorites. I watched the last episode of Dave twice.

My current favorite thing to listen to is: …I’m in a music league where each week one person picks a theme like “songs you secretly want to have sex to” or “space” and then everyone submits a song anonymously, then the songs are put in a Spotify playlist and we vote on the best one. So I’ve been listening to those playlists. Also my friend’s music podcast “The Well of Sound” as well as Karina Longworth’s “You Must Remember This.” When I write I can only listen to music with no lyrics so lots of Trent Reznor and David Wingo soundtracks. 

My current state of mind is: searching online for remote cabins to hunker down in with my dog. Someplace wet and green with no fire seasons or Wi-Fi.

My current chemical romance (drug/bad habit/toxic infatuation) involves: …I’ve had a bag of chocolate mushrooms in my freezer for a year that I don’t think I’ll ever eat. I’m getting old. CBD and natural wine is more my speed.

My current words of wisdom are: …I don’t feel like I’m in a position to dole out wisdom to anyone. Tomorrow I’ll probably feel differently and be spouting off all types of gold to anyone who’ll listen.

My current modes of transportation involve: my car. I want to say something cool but I live in Los Angeles. 

My current favorite fast food item is: …I’m addicted to these peanut butter protein bars. I have to have one every afternoon from my corner store. Any day now I’m sure they’ll be recalled for causing colon cancer or something. 

My current workout routine consists of: a Men’s Health workout on YouTube I do sporadically. But my dog hates the guy who leads the workout and barks the whole time so I don’t always make it through the whole thing.

My current regrettable decision involves: so many. I don’t want to go over the word count.

My current hopes and dreams are: to travel someplace very exotic, very soon. I want to go somewhere that makes me shake my head at what a bubble I’ve been in. 

My current projects/hobbies include: working on a low-budget horror movie that I hope goes the distance. Trying to play tennis more and stick to my Duolingo lessons. 


Duncan Birmingham‘s new book is available here

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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