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 November, Dr. Seuss' The Grinch is back on the big screen in an all-new animated adventure from Universal Studios and Illumination. Of course, what's a movie without some cool merch, right? There's toys on the way from Just Play, and Funko is in on the action as well with a host of Pop! Vinyl figures based on characters from the film. There's The Grinch, the Young Grinch, Cindy-Lou Who and Max the Dog - all available for pre-order via my friends at Entertainment Earth. Of course, we can't just do standard... there's plenty of retailer variants as well.
It's still strange to think that 2018 will mark the first year without The Great Big Toys "R" Us Book of Awesome here in the U.S. In fact, the name and multiple variations on it are part of the long-awaited TRU IP auction that will hopefully actually take place in October. But what if we did have a 2018 Big Toy Book? Chances are it wouldn't be that much different than our friends to the north, who've just unveiled the Toys "R" Us Top Toy Trends for families in Canada. As they say, "while it might seem early for adults to sing carols and sip eggnog, kids know that Christmas is less than 100 sleeps away!" So what does Toys "R" Us Canada pick for the Hot Play Trends for the holidays? Let's take a look...
I may have mentioned this in passing before, but this fall will see the release of an all-new wave of Holiday Funko Pop! Vinyl figures... and yes, more Star Wars is in the mix. Of course these are technically bobbleheads (thanks to licensing) but cool just the same. There's festive new versions of Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, Darth Vader (there's a Chase version as well) and Yoda. All of these new figures are up for pre-order via my friends at Entertainment Earth. I see them as new-school holiday decor, and early additions to my 2018 Holiday Wish Guide here at The Rock Father™ Magazine.
There's those songs that just strike the right chord - the ones that each listener can attach to a certain memory... a single moment in time. For me, Bill Withers' 1977 hit "Lovely Day" brings to mind the summer of 2004 - a summer in which I went back in time to work on the set of the Fox Searchlight picture, "Roll Bounce" (yes, the one with Lil Bow Wow). The song was played frequently on the set, but also featured heavily in the film's marketing. An iconic song that always captures a certain warmth, it's been covered many times over the decades, and this week brings one of the best versions yet, with José James joining voices with Lalah Hathaway on new duet version.
7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! The countdown is on for a new collection of music from one of my favorite bands in the kindie rock scene, The Not-Its! Whether they are dealing with the challenge of curriculum night at school, or a runaway bike, or getting buried in the tangled mess of lies, the 12 songs on Ready or Not! present a multi-layered sonic exploration of the adventure of childhood. Set for release on Friday, September 21 via Burnside Distribution (order-now via Bandcamp), today The Rock Father™ and The Not-Its! have teamed-up to give you a sneak-preview of what's in-store with the World Premiere music video, "Hide and Seek!" But that's not all - we're kicking off a celebration for the new album and giving all of you a chance to take part. One lucky reader will score a prize pack that includes 2018's "Ready or Not!," 2016's "Are You Listening?" and a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Check out the new video below!
"Halls of Justice Painted Green/Money Talking..."
As Metallica's legendary album "...And Justice For All" celebrates its 30th anniversary, you're gonna want to set aside a little bit of that green (around $11 or so) for the new LADY JUSTICE Pop! Vinyl figure from Funko! Just-announced, this iconic statue is brought to life once more as a 3 3/4" vinyl figure in a way that only the folks at Funko can. My friends at Entertainment Earth just put pre-orders online, with an expected ship date of November... just in time for the November 2 release of the expanded edition versions of the album. Sadly, word on the street is that Jason Newsted's mighty basslines may still be missing (or at least barely audible).