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, has contributed to The Toy Book and regularly 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.
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 PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, 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 the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.
Learn more here.
They say that history repeats itself, and likewise so do trends. One trend in play that's back with some serious bite this year is everything jurassic. Yes, the dinosaurs are back, and at the forefront of popular culture that's being driven by the release of Universal Pictures' Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. While they might own the rights to certain stories, names and places, Universal can't lay claim to dinosaurs, and that keeps the gates wide-open for other toymakers to ride the wave of renewed excitement for the long-extinct (or are they?) giants that have been captivating imaginations for millions of years. For Playmobil, The Explorers are their new line of archaeological adventurers who are making their way into stores and playrooms with tales of a mysterious island called Roca, where dinosaurs continue to live peacefully thanks to a magical fruit. At the 115th North American International Toy Fair in New York, I had a chance to see the new collection first-hand, and the folks at Playmobil recently sent us the new Hidden Temple with T-Rex Playset for a hands-on review.
When it comes to summer toys for outdoor fun, it always seems that the simplest ones tend to be the best. One recent entry that captured the spirit is the Zoom Ball, something the folks at Goliath Games included in a shipment of review materials that we received right around the time of the North American International Toy Fair this year. At the time, outdoor play wasn't the first thing on my mind (it was cold), but now it's prime time for warm weather fun, and Zoom Ball is a hit. As they say, you just "Zip it to Rip it!" Check out the video below to see it in action...
There's something very American about the internal combustion engine. We equate it with many things, from going places and getting the job done to horsepower, octane and speed. During the summer months, there's adventure that goes with it as families embark on the Great American Roadtrip to see the country by car. As habits, tastes and technology have changed, gas-power has started to make way for electric, and while there's something to be said about the rumble under the hood, the case for electric is an increasingly appealing one, and the old limits of cost, range and lack of style are getting tossed aside. Adventure? Yes, you can have adventure in an electric car, and the Chevrolet Bolt EV is a prime example of just how far things have come.
From the people who bring you the excellent Free Comic Book Day each May, Halloween ComicFest brings the fun into Fall during its annual event the Saturday before Halloween. For 2018, Halloween ComicFest is presenting a trio of PREVIEWS Exclusive (PX) collectible figures, available only at Local Comic Shops during the event on Saturday, October 27th. This year's event brings forth a special Guardians of the Galaxy Star-Lord Funko Pop! Vinyl, plus a couple a sweet Deadpool mini Egg Attack figures by Beast Kingdom. Check out the details below!
By this time back in 1989, thanks to Tim Burton's feature film, it was the Summer of BATMAN and by year's end, Bat-fever was everywhere. Just days before Christmas, Sunsoft released Batman: The Video Game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and nearly 30 years later it's still looked upon fondly as a classic game from the era. Now, the color scheme and spirit of that 8-Bit goodness is inspiring Entertainment Earth's latest SDCC-exclusive figure from Funko to be officially revealed right here on The Rock Father™ Magazine! The Batman Video Game Deco 8-Bit Pop! Vinyl Figure* will make its debut at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 at the Entertainment Earth Booth #2343, and I've got your official first-look as an affiliate partner of Entertainment Earth...
With changing habits and interests, we've been hearing a lot about how retail is moving toward being "experiential." This is also leading many brands to get creative in how they connect with families, and that means creating the experiences themselves. For the folks at Whirlpool Corporation, that meant a fresh approach to their World of Whirlpool in Chicago, now open to the public as a new consumer experience center. At the media preview this week, I had the opportunity to experience it first-hand, and my immediate thought is that this is exactly what companies need to be doing because it's going to allow the general public to learn in ways that have in many cases been limited to media or expensive courses. Whirlpool is going well beyond the typical appliance showroom by teaching "life hacks" and culinary literacy that will help people save time, save money, and most importantly - improve the time spent with family.