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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 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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One of my favorite toys of 2018 thus far is one that's perfect largely because of just how simple it is. The Simplay3 Carry & Go Track Table is a one-piece, 2-in-1 play space for cars, trucks and trains. The first side is an off-road race course that's filled with hills, valleys, curves, ramps and straightaways. Flip it over and you have a train table with built-in universal tracks, a figure-8 layout and a lake and quarry in the middle. With its lightweight plastic construction and molded-in handle, kids can easily carry this themselves, and because it's only 4" tall, the design is truly space-saving - easily stored underneath a bed or in a closet. I caught this on-display at the 115th North American International Toy Fair in NYC back in February, after which we received one for review in The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ. Check out the video below to see this in-action!

Renault is an auto brand that most younger Americans won't be familiar with. I am, and when I was a little kid I was even known to rock a little Renault Racing Suit (photographic evidence below). They've been out of the U.S. market for nearly three decades, but they're still huge elsewhere, and like their strategic partner, Nissan - they've been known to make some trips to a galaxy far, far away. The Renault KADJAR (a "cousin" of sorts to the Nissan Rogue) is currently appearing in a new television spot that's airing in Europe in support of Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story. Part of Renault's "Alternative Road" promotion, the Star Wars-themed commercial features Chewbacca helping to protect a mother and son from what appears to be Enfys Nest and her gang of Cloud Riders. Take a look...

The details are light right now, but Mattel and Mills Entertainment have teamed-up to bring American Girl to life as an all-new traveling musical. AMERICAN GIRL LIVE! will feature all-original songs and "unforgettable experiences" based on some of American Girl's most loved characters. The show promises "fun-filled adventure, where exciting tales of bravery and friendship come to life, LIVE and in-person" as families join their "favorite American Girl characters, and some brand-new friends, as they follow their hearts and share their dreams, in a journey across time." Check out a short video teaser below, and look for more details coming soon, including tour dates and cities. I can reveal that tickets will go on-sale on May 18, 2018 for most markets...

Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER is a phenomenon. Now the #3 movie of all-time, the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a young African prince who takes on the mantle of King and Super Hero, has thrilled and inspired generations of moviegoers around the globe. Now, fans can bring home the phenomenon, packed with light-hearted fun, pulse-pounding action and a powerful message, and watch it over and over again, Digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ and Movies Anywhere on May 8 and on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™, DVD and On-Demand on May 15. With both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos immersive sound, 4K Ultra HD offers consumers a transformative viewing experience. See the new in-home trailer and all the specs on the new release below!

As the finger-snappin', toe-tappin' sound of Bobby Darin's "Beyond the Sea" sets the tone, the first trailer for the long-awaited big-screen adaptation of Steve Alten's MEG has finally arrived. This August, Warner Bros. Pictures will release THE MEG, a film that's finally a reality after nearly two decades of studio-spanning "development Hell." Shark movies are a genre all their own, and while it's my wife that's the big JAWS fan and Shark Week enthusiast in this house, I am 100% in for anything starring Jason Statham, so this just hit my "must-see" list. Check out your first bite of THE MEG below!

Ready for some books that rock? powerHouse Books has announced a new, ongoing collaboration with SIMMONS BOOKS, the imprint from KISS' Gene Simmons. The first title will arrive this August, and it's one that I'm very interested in. 27:THE LEGEND AND MYTHOLOGY OF THE 27 CLUB is the inaugural release of the new series, and it features Simmons "no-BS take on the myth, and the actual people, that make up the “27 club”—the ground-breaking musicians, artists, and celebrities who died at the age of twenty-seven, frozen in the collective consciousness at the zenith of their creative output." Being so involved in music myself at a young age, I always wondered if I would make it past 27 - if only because the number became so haunting. While I made it, one of my friends became a member of the 27 club, though I don't know if he'll be mentioned in the book.

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