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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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PUMA and Hasbro are coming together for a new Transformers-themed collection, which means that I will likely be rockin' some Optimus Prime-inspired footwear this winter. The PUMA x TRANSFORMERS capsule range celebrates two iconic Autobots - Bumblebee and Optimus Prime -  infusing their essence into PUMA’s latest RS-X silhouette. Styles for men and kids will arrive this December as a Foot Locker exclusive, just in-time for the release of Bumblebee in theaters.

They were out on the road with Ben Folds this summer, and now CAKE is back on the scene with their first new single since 2011, breaking their seven-year hiatus with Sinking Ship. It's a welcome return, though it's been great fun seeing my daughters (6 & 9) enjoy the back catalog, particularly enjoying Comfort Eagle (they think "onion head hat" is a funny line). All sales from CAKE's new single will benefit the work of Doctors Without Borders, and this is promised to be the first in a series of physical and digital releases that will lead into the release of a new album. Check out the video for Sinking Ship below...

If you're in Chicagoland, Boo! At the Zoo has become a tradition that families look forward to each and every year. We first took part back in 2016, and for the third consecutive year, Ferrara Candy Company has been presenting some Halloween fun at Brookfield Zoo on weekends through October. As always families are invited to enjoy the fun amidst seasonal decor, with activities including a corn maze, photo ops, trick-or-treat stations staffed by more than 400 Ferrara employees, the infamous Pumpkin Smasher, live pumpkin carving demonstrations featuring 1,000-pound pumpkins, a haunted hayride and more. There's even opportunities to see some of the animals enjoying pumpkins as a treat - which some of them really, really love!

Not long ago, on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, I had a chance to take a look at a nice chunk of footage from Walt Disney Animation Studios' 57th feature, Ralph Breaks the Internet. Given the long development and production time required for an animated feature on this scale, the follow-up to 2012's Wreck-It Ralph is an unusually timely story that arrives just as retro gaming is reaching its peak as we enter a holiday season where some of this year's must-have gifts are firmly-rooted in a simpler time with an arcade past. Just as real-life gamers are longing to go back in time, Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) are headed for the future... but the future is now. From Litwak's Arcade to the internet, the creative team behind the film had a huge task ahead of them in order to build and populate a digital world that could have believably been expanding for decades.

On November 9, Illumination and Universal Pictures present The Grinch, based on Dr. Seuss’ beloved holiday classic. The timeless tale of a cynical grump who goes on a mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a young girl’s generous holiday spirit, if The Grinch is being reimagined, so should the soundtrack. Today I received the full details on The Rock Father™-approved tracklisting for the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for The Grinch - an album featuring some classic tracks from Run-DMC and The Brian Setzer Orchestra alongside some new cuts as well. One of those tracks is a complete re-working of "You're a Mean One, Mr Grinch" by composer Danny Elfman and Tyler, the Creator. Check out the lyric video below, and if you want more family entertainment for the holidays, check out The Rock Father's Ultimate Guide to New Release Holiday Music and Movies for 2018, a presentation of my Holiday Wish Guide™!

Disney Channel is ready to Just Roll With It. The creative team behind Disney XD's Walk the Prank is back with a new multi-camera sitcom that they're calling "the first-of-its-kind" - "a hybrid of a scripted family comedy and an improvisational comedy, in which the studio audience members select the outcome of certain scenes while the cast just rolls with it." From co-showrunners Adam Small and Trevor Moore, the series just got the greenlight and is in production now.

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