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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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For years, tales of haunted toy stores have spread as urban legends, like the fabled Toys "R" Us in Sunnyvale, California - one said to be so frightening, it's inspired decades of theories and once appeared on an episode of Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories, directed by Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist) and narrated by Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy. While the iconic retailer closed its doors here in the U.S. back in June, there is a chance for you to take a stroll through a Toys "R" Us once more, but not one of the many currently inhabited by pop-up stores like Spirit Halloween or Party City's Halloween City / Toy City combos... a haunted Toys "R" Us. For one month only, those who are brave enough have the opportunity to visit ZOMBIES 'R' US - "A New Haunted Experience" located inside the former Toys "R" Us location in College Point (aka Flushing, NY) Queens. 

What are you doing on New Year's Eve? Well, if you're near Los Angeles and enjoy the metal, I'd suggest getting tickets to see OZZFEST. For the first time since its 1996 debut, OZZFEST - the sometimes-annual musical event that celebrates hard rock and heavy metal - has created a special one-night-only New Year's Eve celebration to ring in 2019. It's all gonna go down on Monday, December 31 at The Forum in L.A., and Ozzy Osbourne will headline an incredible evening that also features Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, and Jonathan Davis (of Korn), along with the OZZFEST debut of Body Count featuring Ice-T. The New Year's Eve party will include an outdoor stage, along with other holiday festivities, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.

Over the years, Hasbro's Transformers have appeared in other forms well beyond the typical realm of vehicles and beasts. Almost since the beginning, we've seen these Cybertronian warriors become consumer electronics like radios and cassette tapes, microscopes and even tablets. In the Michael Bay Transformers films, we even got to see them adopt forms like vending machines and toy cars. So what if there was an entire sub-race of Transformers that's always been hiding in plain sight? That's where Hasbro's new collection of Transformers BotBots come in - they're "mischievous little robots who came to life from everyday objects inside a shopping mall!" Officially launched today with a first-wave of 61 unique 1-inch characters to collect, this marks new territory as the Transformers enter the micro-collectibles craze, but like all Transformers, the characters change from an ordinary object into a little robot in just 3-5 easy steps. Check out all the details below, and see a full product gallery on The Rock Father™ Facebook Page.

Back in the day, there was a fantasy that many kids had, and it was in large part due to Nickelodeon putting the bug in those kid's heads. The old Super Toy Run would find contest-winning kids getting to run loose in a Toys "R" Us store to load up their carts, snagging as many awesome toys as they could within a certain time limit and up to a specific dollar amount. Now, while TRU is gone, the dream is back! Nick and Walmart are teaming up to present Nickelodeon Toy Run: Family Style in Walmart stores across the country. Hosted by Nickelodeon’s JoJo Siwa, Nickelodeon Toy Run: Family Style will give three grand prize winners a shopping spree in the toy aisles of their local Walmart to stock up on their favorite, must-have holiday toys.

Saturday, October 20 2018 13:14

Covered: VERSUS ME x TEARS FOR FEARS - "Shout"

Tears for Fears has a timeless catalog that's long been a favorite for covers and reimaginings, and this week "Shout" has received a new metal version courtesy of Wisconsin's Versus Me. About the song, frontman James Milbrandt commented: "When we were deciding which song we wanted to cover, we knew that it had to be an anthem that everyone has heard before. We went through a ton of different ideas for song choices and finally made the decision with 'Shout.' We wanted to bring back a classic track while giving it a heavy, Versus Me feel to it. The theme of this song is also very relevant to what's happening in the world today, so it seemed like it was an obvious choice. We're not the first band to cover this song and we won't be the last, but this is our take on this classic song." Check out the video below...

The holiday shopping season is officially upon us, and as promised, the #ToyWars are in full-effect with retailers stepping up to serve families who may be saddened by the loss of Toys "R" Us this year. While the big guns have been getting much of the press, there's quite a few smaller, regional retailers who are upping their game, and one is an old favorite of mine - Blain's Farm & Fleet. Family-owned and with just 39 locations across Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan, they might not be a familiar name, but they're a store that I've always enjoyed stopping at, particularly as a kid. In fact, while the closest store to us is over 20 miles away, my mom still does occasionally check out the location near her for their annual Toyland tradition, and as of today it's open for 2018 - promised to be bigger and better than ever. For over 60 years, customers have lined-up in the darkness prior to the 7am store opening, but this year there's even more fun to be had.

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