It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s true. His name is Manuel Mendoza, and we’ve known each other about 13 years, back when I was the film critic at the Dallas Observer and he was pop music critic at the Dallas Morning News. Â We were at a going away party for Manny (he returned the following year) and he was videotaping his friends and asking them to lick foodstuffs off his body. I Â think I was the only one to agree. I have no idea what happened to the video, but I assume it’ll show up on YouTube one of these days.
Possibly the last professional act Manny took in journalism was 18 months ago, when he joined in on the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum luncheon where we chose our best in North Texas theater. (He took the buyout that decimated the arts staff at DMN.)Â But he hasn’t been far from newspapers â€” just on the other side of the notepad.
Manny has a documentary in competition in this year’s AFI Dallas International Film Festival. “Stop the Presses: The American Newspaper in Peril” addresses the plight on old media in the new media age. I haven’t seen it yet, but having talked with Manny in bits and pieces over the last year, I can tell you I won’t miss it. Who knows? Maybe he included the video of me licking him… which, come to think of it, may have been the precise moment when newspapers began to decline in this country.
“Stop the Presses”premieres April 2 at NorthPark (sold out), but there are additional showings at the Angelika â€”Â Thursday at 4 and Saturday at 1.