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James Zahn

James Zahn

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 writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also 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.

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Something about the 2018 holiday season is already feeling more urgent. It's almost as if its surrounding us earlier, and that it will be over just as quickly as it begins. With that, the United States Postal Service has just unveiled their holiday shipping deadlines. These are important for getting things to where they need to be by December 25, but of course they're never a guarantee. Check out the full list below...

The last three months of the year are the best three month of the year, and as wee stare down the coming end of the Halloween season on October 31st, the holiday season fires-up on November 1st when it's 100% acceptable to start listening to Christmas music. As such, Freeform is getting into the spirit early this year, priming the holiday pump with a new event called Kickoff To Christmas - a full month of holiday fun that will lead into their annual 25 Days of Christmas in December. Kickoff to Christmas will also include the premiere of the Freeform original film The Truth About Christmas, from MarVista Entertainment, airing SUNDAY, NOV. 25 at 9:00-11:00 p.m. EST/PST.  

“A word I use over and over again is tenacity. I think it’s important to remember that it’s never going to be easy the first time out, so you just have to keep going at it again and again, especially if you firmly believe in what you do.” -- Kathleen Kennedy, President, Lucasfilm

It's incredible what a difference a few years can make. Upon the birth of our first daughter back in 2009, my wife and I were almost instantly inundated with information and opinions on the "Princess Complex" - what many felt was negative influence from the Disney Princesses and the like.  The Walt Disney Company was completely aware, and in recent years there's been a real effort to reinvent the Disney Princess brand to be something meaningful and empowering, and since the 2016 launch of Dream Big, Princess, kids everywhere have been presented with new ideas on just what a "Princess" could be. Now,  ahead of the United Nations International Day of the Girl (October 11), Disney has launched a new global video series offering advice and inspiration on achieving success for the next generation of young leaders around the globe. The #DreamBigPrincess video series, produced and directed by young women from the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up initiative, shares the stories of 20 trailblazing women across technology, entertainment, medicine, law, sports, arts, science, fashion and politics to show the next generation what’s possible if you dream big.

When I paid a visit to the Just Play showroom at the 115th North American Toy Fair back in February, one of the most exciting offerings was the expansion of their PJ Masks collection. Over the past few years, eOne's animated superhero adventure series has been a big hit on Disney Junior, and likewise the toys have done well for Just Play. The new season has brought forth some new adventures, new villains - and an all-new location: space. In fact, from the moment the first teaser arrived, our youngest daughter was asking when "the PJ Masks spaceship" would be a toy. Featured in my 2018 Holiday Wish Guide, the PJ Masks Super Moon Adventure HQ Rocket answers the call, setting kids up for an out-of-this-world adventure packed with fun features.

Auto show season is about to begin, and today the Chicago Auto Show has announced plans for their 2019 run at McCormick Place. The 2019 Chicago Auto Show will open to the public on Saturday, Feb. 9 and run through Monday, Feb. 18. The show is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day, except for the final day of the show, Presidents Day, when it closes at 8 p.m. With over 1 million square feet of exhibit space including the famed test track experiences, visitors will enjoy access to nearly 1,000 of the newest cars, trucks and SUVs; demonstrations of the industry's latest technology; interactive exhibits; family-friendly activities; special appearances from celebrities and sports icons; and much more. Check out a teaser below...

It's been an incredible (and unusual) year for toys, and as I happened to come across a small selection of FAO Schwarz-branded toys at Kohl's this past weekend, I was reminded that one piece of news that many have been waiting for is the full details on the opening of the new FAO Schwarz flagship store in New York City. Today, we know that November 16, 2018 will be the official opening date of the NYC store located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The new store will feature over 20,000 square feet of FAO Schwarz signature toys and items from partners such as Melissa & Doug, Marvin's Magic and Build-A-Bear as well as FAO Schweetz in partnership with IT'SUGAR. But that's not all...

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