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.
This week, Nickelodeon served-up something new for its preschool audience, whisking kids away on some magical culinary adventures in Butterbean’s Café. The all-new CG-animated series made its debut on Monday during the Nick Jr. preschool block. Following a fairy named Butterbean and her adventures running her own neighborhood café and bakery, the series is something different - a culinary spin on a magical new world, and kids are already eating it up. While my own girls, The Rock Daughters™, are just a bit beyond the target demo, it's resonated with them, and the ratings show that they're not alone. Created by Robert Scull and Jonny Belt (Bubble Guppies), Butterbean’s Café is the biggest debut for Nick Jr. since Spin Master's PAW Patrol hit the scene back in 2013. Butterbean’s Café showcases creative cooking and features a curriculum with social-emotional lessons that highlight kindness and gratitude, and leadership skills. If your little ones haven't seen it yet, check out a preview of the 40-episode first season below...
Political humor is a time-honored tradition that seems to have taken a little bit of a dip in recent years, particularly because the American public seems to have gone pretty soft. As skin gets thinner, I think it's time for me to remind everyone yet again of a fact that I last pointed out back in June of 2017 when DC Comics unleashed a preview of MAD About Trump: A Brilliant Look at Our Brainless President: No matter what your political affiliation or lack thereof, it's okay to make fun of our President. It's also perfectly acceptable to question, challenge and take shots at your elected officials. Respect doesn't come with an office or position - it has to be earned. Political humor is timeless, and if you're the President of The United States of America, you are fair game. In my lifetime, I always think of Saturday Night Live and Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford as the benchmark - the earliest clips I can recall. I see people complaining on Twitter about Alec Baldwin as Trump, yet those same folks have no doubt laughed it up about other actors playing Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, Carter and all of their opponents. It doesn't make any sense, because it is always acceptable to make fun of the President - always. While I haven't traditionally written a lot about politics here on the site (something slowly changing as I begin using my platform for my own agenda - people, not party), as a registered Independent that cannot fully identify with any political party in this country (or any other), I say, "Joke 'Em All!" Anyone remember the comic book, "Great Morons in History: Dan Quayle?" I had that one, and I'm sure it was a great white elephant gift upon its release back in 1992. On that same note, as part of Holiday Wish Guide™ 2018, I'm pointing my lens at the man currently in the White House, the 45th President of the United States: Donald J. Trump. No matter what your opinion of The Apprentice and Home Alone II: Lost In New York star, I'm sure we can all agree that these six gift ideas will no doubt provoke a reaction at any holiday gathering. While some may question their taste, they are pretty funny... tremendously funny, even.
Back in April, I shared the news that Mattel and Mills Entertainment had teamed-up to bring characters from American Girl into the realm of live theatre with the launch of American Girl Live. Now comes news on the full cast for the debut performances, which will have their world premiere at The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, Illinois, Dec. 21-23, 2018. The cast of American Girl Live includes Jenna Bruce as Rebecca, Ashley Diane as Luciana, Laila E. Drew as Melody, Shelby Lysette Miguel as Nanea, Monica Potson as Julie and Kelsey Elaine Pressnall as Maryellen. The cast also features Orisa Gutierrez and Mari Skoultchi.
Dumbo is a bit of a divisive figure in our house. The 1941 animated film falls into that "sad movie" category that my wife generally tends to avoid, so I'm the one that's introduced it to The Rock Daughters™ and got pretty excited when I first heard that the Batman Returns team of Michael Keaton (Batman), Danny DeVito (The Penguin) and filmmaker Tim Burton had come together to reimagine the tale for the big-screen. This coming March, Walt Disney Studios brings DUMBO into theaters, and now comes a new trailer and poster for the live-action adventure that picks-up where the animated version ended. Check it out...
Jerry Reed and Burt Reynolds were both national treasures as far as I'm concerned. It looks like Midland would agree, and after ripping through a twanged-up version of Reed's "East Bound and Down" from Smokey and The Bandit on the 52nd Annual CMA Awards, a studio version of the cover was immediately released. Accompanying the YouTube stream (which you can check out below), the group issued the following statement: "Eastbound & Down is a balls to the wall, honky tonk, fast tempo tornado of a song that was a great challenge to master and to make some tweaks to make it our own...It’s now one of our favorite songs to perform live and we can only hope that The Guitar Man is smiling somewhere up above with approval." I do believe a tip of the cowboy hat is in order, now crank this one up!
It's been 25 years since Cypress Hill released their landmark, #1 album, Black Sunday, and to help commemorate the milestone anniversary, the group has collaborated with premium sneaker brand Six Hundred Four on an ultra-limited edition shoe collection. The "surprise-release" will be up for pre-order today.