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The LAist Interview: Mark Lisanti, The Defamer

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During the months since Defamer launched in May last year, the Hollywood outpost of the Gawker blog dominion got under the collective skin of Hollywood faster than the hands of an agent under a willing starlet's skirt. This formerly anonymous, always smooth operator has proven that equal opportunity offending makes openly credited blogging a safe enterprise.

While the media spinners of the world try to protect us, the delicate and impressionable public, from the indignities of a certain Industry in this town, Defamer lifts the veil with tales that might just inspire the first known revolution of agents' assistants. There's also the beautifully democratic aspect of it all, with legions of loyal Defamer readers contributing stories and blurry phone cam pics of, what else? Famous people doing stuff.

And thank God there's finally a default go-to destination for celebrity sightings; some of our friends and family members were beginning to tire of those regular emails sharing the news. (We now instead send 'em to tips@defamer.com and revel in the self-satisfied glory of performing a civic duty.)

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So, dear readers, please accept our Valentine's Day gift to you: the Laist Interview featuring a local blogger folk hero, the dude who allows us lowlifes without paid Variety logins to follow the new deals, the man whose content we'd mainline if it were medically possible, every publicist's nightmare -- Mr. Mark Lisanti, more affectionately known as The Defamer.

1. Age and Occupation:

30, writer, editor of Defamer.com

2. Have things drastically changed since your cover of anonymity was blown a few months back? Was it more fun during the days before the veil was lifted or is there no difference?

Nothing's really changed. I still don't get invited anywhere, and plenty of people continue to think that Defamer is written by a dozen, anonymous people.

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3. Is the semi-participatory nature of Defamer a liability -- both literally and figuratively?

I think the participation of my readership is a huge strength of the site. Their involvement isn't a liability in any sense of the word. There are only so many ways I can put my thumb in Les Moonves' eye (theoretically, anyway).

4. Do you think people legitimately fear what the Defamer might say about them?

I imagine that some people aren't thrilled about some of the things that I write about them. But then they go back to beating their assistants and burning all of their hundred dollar bills that seem too wrinkly, and that cheers them up again.

5. How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?

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I've been in LA for about 4 ½ years, and I just moved to Los Feliz from Silver Lake. The culture shock I've experienced is staggering.

6. Where are you from?

Yonkers, NY. And yes, I've heard of the movie version of Lost in Yonkers.

7. What specific types of young impressionable people make the best interns?

For Defamer or in Hollywood? In Hollywood, the best interns are the ones that are so determined to succeed that they're willing to put up with anything. For Defamer, the best interns are the ones that have absolutely no desire to succeed, and are willing to put up with anything because they're too tired to chew through their ropes and escape.

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8. Los Angeles is often considered to be a city without cohesive civil culture or ethos. So, do you think Angelenos care more about the Brad and Jennifer split than who the mayor is?

I'm still trying to figure out why Mayor Schwarzenegger spends so much time in Sacramento. And I think that it's obvious that America as a whole cares a lot more about Brad and Jen's break-up than who's president. They had way more magazine covers devoted to them.