James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance. Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.
As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.
He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. Current special projects include promotional campaigns for PJ Masks (eOne/Disney Junior) and Beat Bugs (Netflix).
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for Napalm Records' PRODUCT OF HATE.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.
Learn more here.
[Updated 9/18/2017 - 11pm CST - Toys "R" Us filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection]
There's a big problem at Geoffrey's house, and if you follow the toy industry or the retail sector in general, then you've no doubt seen it coming for years. Retail is a challenging space to begin with, and when you look at specialty retail, the landscape gets even bumpier. When it comes to toys, there's only one major toy store left in the United States, and that's New Jersey-based Toys "R" Us. While they've had their share of issues over the years, one thing that's really bothered me has been the involvement of Bain Capital Partners since 2005, at which time they, along with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Vornado Realty Trust took part in a leveraged buyout of of the iconic toy retailer. There's a lineage here in which Bain Capital has notoriously taken successful companies, saddled them with debt, and eventually flushed them down the toilet, all while the "partners" make out like bandits. One such victim was KB Toys, who Bain targeted as a profitable business with over $1.4B of annual sales. Strapped with debt, bankruptcy followed, and eventually KB was dead. History has been known to repeat itself, and it looks like Toys "R" Us could be the next victim. After all, Bain is playing the same game right now with another retailer - Gymboree, who was acquired in 2010 and filed for bankruptcy in 2017.
I gotta say - I wasn't sure if I should file this one under "Toys & Games" or "Family Music," and the reason is that it's both. On the surface we have an announcement that Baconstein is coming - a "plush posable action figure" that will become available this Friday. But then we have the fact that Baconstein is the nemesis of Gustafer Yellowgold, who has a new record coming out... also this Friday. Check out a commercial for this delicious-looking figure below...
I often cite that the first record I distinctly recall asking my parents to buy me was Michael Jackson's THRILLER. I still have my well-worn vinyl album from 1982, and while I've played Jackson's works for The Rock Daughters since birth, it's really been over the course of just the past few months that they've really started to enjoy them. Now, with the Halloween season soon to be here, Epic/Legacy Recordings in collaboration with The Estate of Michael Jackson, will release Michael Jackson SCREAM, a collection of hits inspired by Michael's love for season, available beginning September 29, 2017.
As we roll toward the holidays, the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) category will once again be one of the hottest, and this month Educational Insights celebrates five years of empowering young girls to embrace their passion for science through their Nancy B's Science Club line of S.T.E.M. toys. Launched via Facebook, a new music video champions "all of the smart, cool, curious, science-loving girls out there." Check it out below...
When I was a little kid, there were always UNO games present around our house. We had a lot of them due to the game having some Illinois roots with International Games having sponsored UARA midget auto racing in nearby Joliet. In fact, I recall a bright red midget ripping around the track with UNO graphics painted-on. Fast-forward a few decades, and UNO is still one of the most popular card games in the world, produced by Mattel, who've owned the game since 1992. Today, on International Colorblind Awareness Day, Mattel announced the launch of its newest deck, UNO® ColorADD, the world's first card game for the colorblind. Check out all the details below!
Back in June, the first trailer for STX Entertainment's A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS hit the scene, and now with just three months until the big day arrives, the second "red band" trailer has arrived. With the "red band" comes a warning - that means "Restricted," so please don't watch this one with the little ones in the room. If you must, there is a "clean" version available here, but what's the fun in that? Let's get naughty...