in my humble opinion

Your what hurts?

Posted 5/19/21

It’s an actual expression, believe it or not. The first time I heard someone say “your what hurts?” was many moons ago, spoken by a great guy and amazing (IMHO) drummer, Brian Levy. …

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in my humble opinion

Your what hurts?


It’s an actual expression, believe it or not. The first time I heard someone say “your what hurts?” was many moons ago, spoken by a great guy and amazing (IMHO) drummer, Brian Levy. Brian and I worked together briefly back in the ’90s, and he said “your what hurts?” often, indicating that he wasn’t listening or paying attention to me in any way. We’re still in touch sporadically via social media, and I never miss an opportunity to write those words on his Facebook page. Ever since meeting Brian, I adopted the phrase and use it fairly often, which always elicits a quizzical look. I offer no explanation whatsoever, mostly because I don’t want to admit that I was distracted. Oh, look, a chicken!

All this to say that, when I got a message from actor/writer/director/producer (that’s a lot of hats) and Catskill International Film Festival (CIFF) President Charles Marinaro about an upcoming event, I was a bit distracted. The reason for my inability to focus on Charles and whatever it was that he wanted (they always want something) was, and is, the nesting going on just outside my office window. In fact, as I write this, I’m pausing and taking pictures and little videos, as if I’ve never seen birds build a nest before, because, well... I haven’t.

“What’s up? I chirped into the phone. “I bet you’re calling about the film festival. I think I read somewhere that it’s virtual this year since the pandemic isn’t exactly over.”

“Yeah,” Charles responded, unaware that I wasn’t really paying much attention. I turned on my voice recorder and kept mum. “The cinemas are slowly opening,” he continued “but people are kinda on the fence about going to the movies, so we decided to keep it virtual for one more year. Besides,” he continued, “we discovered that by opening it up online, we were able to connect with filmmakers and attendees from all over the world—people who would never have been able to come to the Catskills. We’ve always been international, but our reach was much further this year.”

“Uh-huh,” I mumbled, hoping he couldn’t hear the camera clicking away as I focused on the birds flitting in and out of my cool dome-tent birdhouse, a gift from a dear friend. Wait, where was I? Oh right, Charles and something about the three-day virtual film festival slated for this weekend, May 21 to 23, featuring scores of feature-length films, shorts and even television pilots.

 I’m fairly sure that Charles said that there were more than 80 entrants in the festival this year and something about “various genres,” including “documentaries, animation, horror and comedy.” I must admit, I perked up for a minute when he said that there are a few “provocative and edgy” films this year and that the CIFF team had been careful to group the screenings thoughtfully so that a block of kid-friendly shorts is not immediately followed by adult content. “That makes sense,” I said absentmindedly. I went back to focusing on bird-like former soap star Lisa Wrenna (yup, I named them) and her husband, Harry, who was frantically tugging at twigs and bits of leaves instead of tweeting about his poor Hollywood career choices.

“Does one have to register online in order to watch the films?” I asked, implying that I was paying attention. I think he said something like, “A lot of people ask that,” and I glanced at my recorder to make sure it was still on. “To participate in our festival, you only need two things: an internet connection and some sort of device with which to watch the films, whether it’s a computer, TV, tablet, or a smartphone. Folks can access the event by going online where the blocks of films are showcased on the home screen throughout the three-day event. If you have Facebook,” he continued, “you can interact with the filmmakers and automatically be eligible to win all sorts of prizes.” Once again, I paid attention. “Your what hurts?” I asked. “Did you say prizes?”

“Yeah,” he responded, ignoring my query. “You don’t have to spend a penny and can still win a T-shirt or coffee mug by just participating in the workshops from the comfort of your own home.” I immediately began shopping online for a “your what hurts?” T-shirt and went outside with the dog, phone in hand, while still “listening” to Charles. “Go on,” I encouraged, pausing to take a photo of a flowering tree in my neighbor’s yard. “Is it oriental?” I wondered. “Am I allowed to say oriental if it’s a shrub?” I absentmindedly asked the dog, simultaneously murmuring something to the actor/writer/director/producer on the other end of the phone, feigning rapt attention.

“I’m a little confused,” I said, to ward off suspicion. “Do I have to go to a special place on social media to participate?”

Marinaro responded as if he could tell I wasn’t focused, and I was afraid the jig was up. Still, I took a photo of what was either a pansy or violet lining the driveway and went back (momentarily) to focusing on Charles and the conversation. “You’d think I’d know what a pansy looks like,” I mumbled to Dharma, who wagged in agreement and took off after a squirrel. “No, no—it’s easy,” he said. “Just type in ‘Catskill International Film Festival’ and you’ll find the links. And everything is accessible through our website. It’s simple and user-friendly. By the way,” he said, “many of the awards are decided by the viewers, and last year, we had thousands of votes, which proved that plenty of people were watching online. We’re excited to see what resonates with audiences this year.”

“I’m in!” I exclaimed. “It sounds like there’s literally something for everyone, and I promise I’ll pay attention when I tune in.”

“Great!” Charles said. “Wait—what?”

For more info, go to I think he said something about a Facebook page, too, but don’t hold me to it, because I was looking out the window when he mentioned it.

Fun Fact: Lisa Deanna Rinna is not a bird, but rather an American actress, author and television personality. She is best known for her roles as Billie Reed on the NBC daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives” and Taylor McBride on Fox’s television drama “Melrose Place.”

 Rinna’s husband, Harry Hamlin, is an American actor, author and entrepreneur. Hamlin is known for his roles as Perseus in the 1981 fantasy film “Clash of the Titans” and as Michael Kuzak in the legal drama series “L.A. Law,” for which he received three Golden Globe nominations, no wins. Choices.

Catskill International Film Festivals, Charles Marinaro


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