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Gurnee MillsFor my local friends in Lake County, Illinois - mark your calendars, because the WTTW Readers are Leaders Tour is returning to Gurnee Mills. On Saturday, September 6, kids and grownups alike can spend the morning singing, dancing and enjoying story time with a live performance from Miss Lori's CAMPUS and a special appearance by ARTHUR. This FREE event starts at 10:30am at the Lake County Food Court in the Macy's full-priced wing. The first 200 children in attendance will receive a free children’s book.

Published in Chicagoland

Gurnee MillsIn just a few weeks, we'll have a kindergartner here at Rock Father HQ, and that means that this Back-to-School season is pretty special for us. We're getting Addie ready for some new adventures, and as such we want her to be well-dressed and ready to Rock the Halls as she moves from Pre-K to "big girl" school this year. The big stop for our Back-to-School shopping is a familiar haunt - and this year, GURNEE MILLS and THE ROCK FATHER have teamed-up to showcase some of the great fashions and accessories available at the largest outlet and value shopping destination in Illinois. While I'll have some great features rolling out in the week ahead, Gurnee Mills and I want to kick-off the season in-style with something special for my local readers - a chance to win a $50 American Express Simon Gift Card in my #GurneeBTS Giveaway!

Published in Chicagoland

Over the past 22+ years, I've had the privilege of photographing some of the biggest names in rock - among them, some of my favorite bands. These days, however, it's a very rare occasion to find me in the pit doing a show as the photo side isn't really my thing at this point. While I don't have the high-end gear on-hand like I once did, occasionally something will pull me out of my self-imposed hiatus - armed with a DSLR and a few lenses to capture and share an experience through my own eyes. This weekend, that happened. Of all the places, ROB ZOMBIE set-up shop just down the road from my house - a significant occurrence for several reasons, and because of that, Mr. Zombie will be getting his own feature here on THE ROCK FATHER in just a few... but in the meantime, I wanted to share a collection of photos and a few words about the artists who played with him on July 19, 2014 at Austin's Fuel Arena on the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake, Illinois - part of a massive event staged by FM Entertainment and 95 WIIL Rock. STONE SOUR, THEORY OF DEADMAN, DEVOUR THE DAY, THE LAST VEGAS, WILSON and CILVER.

Published in James' Journal

Originally Posted July 14, 2014 - Updated October 9, 2015

There've been several running themes that I've revisited on occasion here on THE ROCK FATHER over the past few years, and one of the biggest is the importance of imaginative play. Especially right now, in the summer months - when so many would just surrender the little ones to a tablet or smartphone - it's important to get the kids outside and let their imaginations run wild. Playing dress-up is a classic tradition that works indoors and out no matter what the season, but when the weather is good, we need to take advantage of it. Actually, I posted about this very subject exactly one year ago, and now that Little Finn is mobile and can join big sister Addie in the action, we've been revisiting a favorite locale... but under a new theme. Two little girls... two young sisters... completely enamored with Walt Disney Animation Studios' FROZEN. I present to you, Anna and Elsa: Arendelle In Summer, featuring Adalyn as Elsa, and Finley in her new Deluxe Anna costume, graciously provided by my friends at BuyCostumes.com.

Last night, I found myself in one of the more awkward situations that I've been placed in since starting this site back in 2011. I'd actually written this review right away last night and revisited it today prior to posting, half-considering saying nothing at all. But I have to...

As a writer and reviewer (my first review published way back in 1992... a full 22 years ago), the hope is that you'll be impressed and be able to share a great experience with your readers. Sadly, sometimes that's just not the case, and that's when my own brutal honesty comes into play. I'll always be honest, and I'll never sugar-coat it. In the world that I work in, sometimes certain people have a problem with that (advertisers, PR folks - and only a small fraction of them), and I'm fine with that. When tasked with writing about a live event or a "place" - especially one geared toward families - the scope and emotion are a little bit different than when I deal with an album, a movie, or a toy. It's the culmination of various elements that come together to create that "experience" - and there's many forces at play (human forces) that can tip the table in sometimes unexpected directions. I don't want to come on here and tell you that we had a less-than-stellar experience at a local business... but if I told you that it was without major issues, it would be completely dishonest. What I witnessed last night at JUMP AMERICA (880 Lakeside Drive, Gurnee, IL 60031) is an operation that could be great, but was sadly plagued by a shocking level of disorganization, customer service issues, and rampant poor user experiences... mainly for parents. But my kids LOVED it.

For all of my friends in Chicagoland... If you're looking for some unique fun with your family this weekend, take a look at JUMP AMERICA in Gurnee, Illinois. Located not far from Rock Father HQ up in Lake County, JUMP AMERICA is the premiere Trampoline Park that offers Family Fun Night every Saturday from 6-8pm. Family Fun Night includes 2 hours of jumping for 4 jumpers plus one 18" pizza (cheese, pepperoni, or sausage), and 4 beverages all for $45. Check out the video below to learn what JUMP AMERICA is all about...

Published in General News
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