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.
Learn more here.
As the final wind-down of U.S. operations for Toys "R" Us continues, it should be crystal clear by now that saving the business and its 33,000+ workers was just not a real priority. If it was, the company and its lenders and ownership would've found some way to make it happen, but we knew as early as the beginning of February that Bain Capital was pushing for a full liquidation - and that's exactly what they got. The private equity industry is a scummy bunch, and when it comes to representation, that's even clear in their own lobbying organization, the American Investment Council, which softened its name over the years from the more ominous "Private Equity Growth Capital Council" and "Private Equity Council" to become the AIC. While these groups have powerful representation, it's the American worker that gets caught in the crossfire during leveraged buyouts and their eventual collapse, and in retail this is a group who is typically under-represented (I do not believe that Unions are the answer, but that's a lengthier story for another time). Retail workers - both hourly and salaried management included - are generally underpaid and lack any long-term benefits. In a situation like what's happened with Toys "R" Us, you have the people who've been doing the real work - the ones out there on the front lines - facing unemployment with no severance as they have to deal with the general public and the sad position of closing up shop. Meanwhile, you have Chairman, CEO and LinkedIn Enthusiast David A. Brandon still kicking around the increasingly ghostly halls of Toys "R" Us HQ in Wayne, NJ, having to ride things out until the very end as part of the terms of the $2.8M retention bonus he took in September of 2017, just days prior to the company filing bankruptcy. Today, a group of Toys "R" Us employees met with Senator Bernie Sanders in Washington D.C., later marching alongside representatives from The Center for Popular Democracy and Rise Up Retail as they took to the AIC in protest of private equity destruction at the hands of Bain Captial, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Vornado Realty Trust. Watch the video below...
Hasbro is getting into the micro-collectible blind box realm with a new collection called LOST KITTIES. There will be over 100 to collect beginning this June, and each will have their own mischievous interests as part of eight Lost Kitties "squads" including the #Nomz, #Cattitude, #WorkinIt, #ifIfits, #Adorbs, #ScaredyCats, #Cathletic and #NotFelineIt. Ahead of the launch, Hasbro has unleashed the first-ever Lost Kitties music video, called "Who'z Hidin' Inside" - a parody of The Knack's "My Sharona."
It took all of about twelve hours to happen - the first round of Coleco Evolved Mini Arcades hit Kickstarter and became fully-funded. Back in 1981, Coleco first issued their classic tabletop arcade machines - versions of arcade favorites like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, shrunk into miniature form by a suspicious character known as "Mr. Arcade" (that's how it happened in the commercials, anyway). These machines have become iconic, and now they're coming back in a new form, ditching the primitive calculator screen for a full-color LCD display that's powered by a powerful new gaming chipset. They've also chucked the C-batteries in exchange for a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack, and the joystick and buttons have been revamped as well. The first two games available will be Rainbow Brite: Journey to Rainbow Land and Robotech The Macross Saga.
At The Toy Association's PlayCon in San Francisco, Ellia Kassoff, head of Strategic Marks, LLC, addressed toymakers and others about the plans for resurrecting the KB Toys brand in malls around the country. First announced back in March (with an update here), KB Toys will return as a new retailer rooted in nostalgia - and the plan is to do it starting with pop-up shops this coming holiday season. Prior to being destroyed by Bain Capital Partners (who also killed Toys "R" Us), KB operated under many variations of their name, including K•B Toys, K•B Toys Outlet, K•B Toy Works and Kay-Bee Toys between 1922 and 2009. With Toys "R" Us currently in the final processes of winding-down operations in the United States, the biggest question is how, exactly, will Strategic Marks be able to pull this off - and how it's going to be done in time for this year's holiday season. Today, Kassoff offered up answers - some of which came directly from members of the audience.
I feel so out of the loop on the Fortnite craze - I've never played it and don't even know where to start. Now comes news that Thanos is getting involved for a limited time mashup and I'm really tempted to jump in. As of today, the Fortnite x Avengers Mashup is live, and a short teaser has been released. Check it out below and then see if you have what it takes to control the Infinity Stones...
With Avengers: Infinity War now thrilling audiences on the big screen, it's time for another adventure to come home...
Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER is a global 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. Coming to 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™, DVD and On-Demand on May 15, 2018, BLACK PANTHER is available to own NOW on Digital HD and thanks to my friends at Disney Movies, The Rock Father is giving you a chance to win it!