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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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The holiday season continues to loom large on the horizon, and as the toy wars of 2018 continue, another player has entered the octagon - JCPenney! As the retailer continues their evolution and gets back into categories like baby products, this fall marks the one-year anniversary of their successful toy shops. Like many of my generation, the JCPenney Christmas Catalog was a must-read while growing up, and now a hint of that spirit is coming back as they unwrap their Top 20 Toys list, "inviting shoppers to discover the most popular toys sure to top kid’s wish lists this Christmas." The JCPenney Top 20 Toys will be featured prominently within a dedicated toys book, which will be delivered to customers’ homes in time for the holiday season and will include a sticker sheet enabling kids to mark the items they want from Santa.

Freeform is ready for the fall spirit, and this week they've pulled back the curtain on their plans for the 2018 edition of their annual "31 Nights of Halloween." The full schedule can be seen below, and you'll notice that it leans heavily toward two films that are both celebrating their 25th anniversary this year - Hocus Pocus and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas! Check out the full schedule, along with details on an all-new Disney Parks Halloween special below!

The pumpkin spice just started flowing last week and now I'm tempted to break out the peppermint mocha! I've been paying close attention to Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and today comes the final trailer for this new holiday epic. Set for release on November 2, 2018, get a good look at what's yet to come. Is it too early for me to pop on The Brian Setzer Orchestra's GRAMMY-nominated version of "The Nutcracker Suite?" Of course not!

At San Diego Comic-Con this summer, I had the honor of speaking on a panel - Living in a Post-Toys "R" Us World: Navigating the Future of Toy Retail. In that panel and the subsequent recap that I published at The Toy Book, I pointed out that one of the most exciting developments in the toy world is what the folks at Target have been gearing-up for... an expanded assortment of toys in fantastic new toy departments as part of their beautifully-redesigned stores. As the holiday season is about to unfold, you'll see what I was talking about as Target (an affiliate) has unveiled Bullseye's Top Toys of 2018 - this year's guide to the most-coveted toys includes something for every age and budget – from an even bigger L.O.L. Surprise! and a plush take on the Fingerling craze to the latest tech gear and more. Will a few items from Bullseye's list also appear on The Rock Father™'s Annual Holiday Wish Guide™ as well? Perhaps, but in the meantime, check it out below!

There's a scene in Disney's Christopher Robin in which Christopher and Winnie the Pooh are racing through a train station and the little bear just has to have a red balloon. After making it to the train just as the doors are closing, the balloon gets caught and Pooh is disappointed. He asks Christopher something to the effect of, "but don't balloons make you happy?" to which Christopher quickly shrugs off with "not really." That is me. Ask my children and they will tell you that "daddy doesn't like balloons" - and that's fairly accurate. But balloons really do make little ones happy, and with that comes International Balloon Month (remember, everything has a month now) and some new tips from the folks at The Balloon Council, who stress that releasing the inflatable allergy terrorizers balloons is a bad idea. They wish to share smiles and smart balloon practices together.

After hitting the socials to tease a snippet of the title track from Sony's forthcoming VENOM movie yesterday, EMINEM has released an unannounced surprise album, KAMIKAZE. With cover art inspired by The Beastie Boys' License to Ill, the 13-track collection wraps up with the track that was teased - VENOM. It's a fun throwback to what soundtracks used to be - a song that doesn't take itself too seriously, name-dropping the title character along with Eddie Brock, Marvel and some verses about symbiotes. Check it out in the Spotify player below... 

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