Mark Lisanti, Marooned on “The Islander” (audio interview)

Between 2004 and 2008, while I was assiduously running a reading program and computer lab at an inner-city LAUSD school, I was also spending a lot of time checking into a blog called Defamer (only on my breaks, taxpayers…never fear).  Sadly, Defamer is virtually gone now, swallowed whole by its big brother, Gawker, but for those four years, it was one of the best reads on the ‘net.  It was a Hollywoood gossip blog.  There’s plenty of those out there, and they are usually filled with snarky jabs and easy pot shots (I’m looking at you, Perez Hilton, and your blog-writing underlings).  Defamer had something special going for it…the quality of the writing, which was unlike anything else out there in the vast blogosphere of gossip.

The reason was Mark Lisanti, founding editor of Defamer, and our guest on “The Islander.”

Long story short:  Mark came to Hollywood looking to work in The Industry.  He dabbled about a bit, but also published his own blog, Bunsen, which got him noticed by New York-based Gawker Media Empire overlord Nick Denton who decided to branch out to the West Coast.  Thus, Defamer was born.

From it’s very inception, Defamer was a little bit of Brilliance.  Lisanti worked anonymously at first, sort of as a joke, but it really didn’t matter.  What did matter was the amazing quality of his posts, often as many as two dozen a day, which left the denizens of Hollywood gasping for air, and the underlings…the overworked personal assistants, underpaid production assistants, and yahoos like me…craving for more.

And Mark always delivered, slavishly pounding away on his laptop inside his Los Feliz apartment.  He fielded press announcement, trade postings, and tips from those on the scene.  Like this tipster-supplied holiday message from Eva Longoria, which Mark ultimately turned into a very special Thanksgiving greeting.

I was thrilled when Mark took me up on my offer to be our Islander, and it was an absolute honor to speak with him.  Please enjoy the segment, and then read his other online offerings:

Defamer archive of Mark’s posts

Bunsen, Mark’s first blog

Lisanti Quarterly, Mark’s current blog

The Little Golden Men Oscar blog on Vanity Fair

Islander interview with Mark Lisanti, part 1″

Islander interview with Mark Lisanti, part 2″

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