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.
Learn more here.
As the end of 2018 draws near, we're just three months out from the theatrical launch of Marvel Studios' CAPTAIN MARVEL - a film with a lot riding on it when it comes to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course that also means a bunch of new toys and collectibles, and the folks at Funko are right out in front with the announcement of a full range of Pop! Vinyl Figures, Pocket Pop! Keychains, Pens and Dorbz. As always, it's the core Pop! Vinyls that will be the most sought-after, and for Captain Marvel that's gonna me a lot of running around for completists. From a consumer standpoint, I'm not a big fan of exclusives, though retailers use them to draw the crowds. For Captain Marvel, that means keeping an eye out at mass retailers, specialty shops like Entertainment Earth and hunting down variants at GameStop, FYE, Walmart, Target, Boxlunch and Hot Topic to collect them all!
For the first time in park history, Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois has thrown open the gates for a holiday season, with Holiday in the Park set to delight guests with a truly magic experience. We're season passholders, so our whole family attended on opening weekend (Black Friday), but I also had a chance to attend the media preview this week, stepping into the park for an experience that most will never have... at 4am on a Thursday, just after a fresh snowfall. Check out my video below to see the park along with my full ride on the Peppermint Swirl - the teacups of Chubasco given a festive spin!
With the holiday season in full-swing, all eyes are on the great gift ideas, and on Friday, December 7, 2018 - you can join The Toy Insider and yours truly for a #PJMasksHoliday Twitter Party! Sponsored by eOne, we'll be showing off all the cool new PJ Masks electronics from VTech, including the PJ Masks Super Learning Watch and PJ Masks Learning Headquarters! As always, we won't just be talking about these awesome items based on the hit Disney Junior series... we'll be giving you chances to win them as well! They're the perfect holiday gift for the little superhero on your holiday shopping list! One important note: You MUST RSVP and PARTICIPATE to be eligible for prizing. Check out The Toy Insider's new Play x Play Video for more:
They say that "winter is coming," but as far as I'm concerned, it's already here in the snow-covered landscape of northern Illinois. While Game of Thrones is still hot, beer should be served cold as snow, and on Black Friday the crew at Cooperstown, NY-based Brewery Ommegang unleashed their fourth beer inspired by GoT. King in the North, a beer brewed for Jon Snow, is the fourth and final beer in this year’s Royal Reserve Collection, a series of four limited release beers, each designed and brewed as an homage to one of four epic figures engaged in the battle for the Seven Kingdoms.
According to the brewery: "King in the North pours jet black with a thick tan head. Aromas of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate blend with those of oak, bourbon, and vanilla. The flavor is rich and full with notes of chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and roasted malt up front followed by smooth bourbon and a hint of oak. The finish is thick and chewy with oatmeal creaminess, and pleasant lingering roast. King in the North pairs well with funky aged cheeses, rich dark meats and decadent desserts. It also makes a great dessert on its own."
They say it's intended to "sustain a leader through a long, dark night," and I could see that. After downing a sample bottle that arrived here at Rock Father™ HQ, I can attest to the fact that there's some heft to this brew!
King in the North is available in draft and in 750ml bottles at the brewery, with bottles and a limited-edition gift pack featuring all four Royale Reserve Collection Beers available through specialty retailers. It would make a great gift for the hardcore Game of Thrones fan! Want even more GoT gift ideas? Check out my friends at Entertainment Earth.
Game of Thrones Disclosure:
I'm always upfront and honest about things here in the virtual pages of The Rock Father™ Magazine, so with that I feel obligated to reveal that other than watching a YouTube supercut of Emilia Clarke saying "dracarys" to her dragon to unleash all kinds of firepower, I have never seen an episode of Game of Thrones (we don't have HBO). Maybe I'll catch it somewhere down the line.
As always, please consume your royal beverages responsibly.
This Holiday Wish Guide feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ & Positec Group.
When seeking out that perfect holiday gift, I always find that it's much easier to shop for kids than it is for grownups. I even make it hard for my loved ones to shop for me (and they know that they don't have to) because I don't really ask for anything and find it hard to come up with ideas. But since I'm always on the lookout for new products that will be useful and make life easier in new and sometimes unexpected ways, I get excited when I find something truly awesome that could really be great for a lot of people. The WORX Pegasus Work Table and Sawhorse fits the bill - and that's because it's not just great for DIY'ers, contractors and those who work in construction. There's a lot of potential for use by almost anyone, from crafters and model makers to photographers, artists and everyday homeowners who could use a proper work space that's rugged, portable and easy-to-use.
Another tip of the hat to our friends to the north today as Toys "R" Us Canada has officially brought back a classic just in time for the holiday season. Originally written by Linda Kaplan Thaler and James Patterson, "I Don't Want to Grow Up, I'm a Toys 'R' Us Kid" has been a familiar staple since the 80s, and now it's a reminder for all kids big and small that they can still be a Toys 'R' Us kid as TRU Canada is "here to stay and play." The jingle is back in several spots that are airing on television and radio. See a couple of them below...