Friday, May 27 2016 07:41

Preview: American Girl: Lea to the Rescue

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Just as school's getting out, a new adventure is coming home for summer... AMERICAN GIRL: LEA TO THE RESCUE positions American Girl's 2016 Girl of the Year, Lea Clark as the company's first-ever action hero in a cinematic sequel to the original book series. The movie makes its debut on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and On Demand on June 14th, 2016, arriving on Digital HD two weeks early - May 31st -  from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. 

Thursday, May 26 2016 23:54

Journal: Lessons from Park Forest...

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Originally Posted as a Status Update on Facebook...

Seeing Park Forest, Illinois as the #1 Trending Topic on my Facebook Feed is interesting -- seeing folks from around the country commenting on a place they've probably never heard of, but one I know all too well. Let me tell you this - there is no town or city on this planet that I DESPISE in the way I do Park Forest. I grew up there - in fact, just .06 miles (about a 10 minute walk) from where the FBI had a shootout yesterday. It was a miserable place to grow up 30-40 years ago (though I have some good memories as well) -- a place that looks and feels to me like "alternate 1985" in BACK TO THE FUTURE II... right down to the houses and streets.

Wednesday, May 25 2016 20:51

The X-MEN: APOCALYPSE 4DX Sweepstakes is Here!

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Are you ready for the apocalypse? Specifically, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE -- the ninth installment of 20th Century Fox's long-running super hero franchise based on characters appearing in MARVEL Comics. With the film opening this weekend, there's going to be many viewing options depending on your theater preference, and for readers in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, one such option is one of my personal favorites: 4DX -- a truly immersive cinema experience that involves all of your senses. To celebrate the release, 4DX has teamed-up with THE ROCK FATHER Magazine and 20th Century Fox to get three (3) lucky readers hooked up with a fantastic X-MEN APOCALYPSE 4DX Prize Pack! We're going to do something a little bit different this time around, though... with one (1) reader winning right here through the website, and two (2) readers winning prize packs on my Facebook page. This should make things interesting!

After a two-year absence, ERIC HERMAN returns to the family music scene on June 10th with the release of BUBBLE WRAP, the first album to feature his new band, THE THUNDER PUPPIES. Today comes the release of the first video from the album, appropriately for the title track. After all, the best part of any package is of course the bubble wrap, and that's something my wife and I see regularly through the actions of our daughters - the power of the bubble wrap compels them! About the new record, Herman says that "All of the songs came together in just over a year, and the process felt exciting, vibrant, and meaningful." Get your first taste below, and if you dig it - pre-order via iTunes or Eric's official site.

Back in the 90s, the folks at Hallmark offered a series of "Kiddie Car Classics" - diecast vehicles based on classic pedal cars, each with a Keepsake Ornament counterpart. Recently, the line returned, and now there's a new assortment racing into Hallmark Gold Crown stores (and online) featuring four new Kiddie Car vehicles - 1945 Gillham Fire Engine, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS, Tracy's Hot Rod and 1957 Ford Thunderbird - each as a detailed diecast replica (with collector card) priced at $49.95, and as a Keepsake Ornament priced at $19.95. They look pretty sweet... take a look...

It was nearly two years ago exactly that I first posted about Fall Creek Farm & Nursery's BrazelBerries, a fantastic collection of berry plants that are designed to be both edible and ornamental. Specifically, BrazelBerries are specially-bred Blueberry, Raspberry and Blackberry plants that can thrive in containers on a deck or patio, or be planted in-ground, depending on where you live. For our first batch. The Rock Daughters™ and I planted two Raspberry Shortcake plants along with two Blueberry plants - Jelly Bean and Blueberry Glaze. Likely due to my own error in winterizing (we live on the border of climate zones and the cold can be harsh and unpredictable), our blueberries didn't survive the first winter... but our raspberries did, and in 2015 they bore some of the most delicious berries that we've ever eaten - anywhere. Our entire family enjoyed them right from the bush, and I even spotted the dogs trying to take a nibble. So what's in-store for our BrazelBerries in 2016? Well, our raspberries are back, plus the folks at Fall Creek sent us four new plants - a Raspberry Shortcake, a Pink Icing Blueberry, and two brand-new varieties - Perpetua (a true double-cropping blueberry) and one that won't be available for purchase until the Spring of 2017... Baby Cakes, a sweet, thornless blackberry that can provide up to two crops per year. It was planting time!

Whenever I post about this band, I always have to preface things with a little note of backstory... because PRODUCT OF HATE isn't simply just another metal band: We've been friends since 2009, and I currently co-manage them. While many of you who frequent the site are familiar with my family entertainment endeavors, perhaps you didn't know that I still have my hand in the music world on a regular basis, or that I occasionally direct and edit music videos. "Kill. You. Now." is the opening track on PRODUCT OF HATE's Napalm Records debut, BURIED IN VIOLENCE (Amazon | iTunes), and the video is the second of three that we recently filmed. Officially-released this past Friday via Heavy Blog is Heavy, the clip has gained steam in recent days, appearing on sites like Blabbermouth and The PRP (among many others). As PRODUCT OF HATE closes out their month-long tour with Mushroomhead, Sumo Cyco and Madame Mayhem this week, I'm sharing the new video here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine. Nope, this video isn't for the kids...

As I type this, in-between slinging metal and working in the garden, my youngest daughter Finley is wearing a "Belle" dress from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST... one you can see in today's #SidewalkFashionShow pic on my Instagram. It's a thematically-appropriate dress for today, as Disney just issued the first teaser for next year's live-action telling of their classic, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. I showed the little one the teaser, and right away she pointed out how Cinderella's castle had been replaced by Beast's... a simple, elegant teaser for a film that won't be released until March of 2017. 

There's always certain things that mark the arrival of a season... the first Pumpkin Spice of Fall... the first playing of the Holiday Music... and the arrival of The Garden Jawa. Whether his appearance denotes the coming of spring, summer or both is debatable, but without fail The Garden Jawa has been a fixture of our landscape since 2010. Originally offered as an exclusive through the Official STAR WARS Store that once existed at StarWars.com (they had some great things), The Garden Jawa is long out-of-production, so we're happy to have the little scavenger standing watch beneath our windmill every year. This week, he made his annual return... garden gloves on, hose and tools ready to rock.

On June 3, Paramount Pictures will release TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS, and today comes a new clip that you'd think shows the new Shellraiser Tactical Truck in all of its Foot Clan-fighting glory... but it's actually Raphael that "takes out the trash." Aside from the new clip (and those new looks are increasing in frequency), PORTLANDIA's Fred Armisen had to bow out of voicing the evil Krang due to a scheduling conflict, opening the door for Brad Garrett to step into the voice booth. Check out the new clip below, and be sure to hit my special TMNT content hub right here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine for all-things Turtles. #TMNTWeek returns to the site May 30-June 3, so stay tuned...

When I first wrote about DC Super Hero Girls just over a year ago, I knew that the initiative would be something special - a long-overdue chance to fill some gaps in entertainment and play. As parents of two young girls, my wife and I have seen the little ones embrace iconic superheroes like Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Batgirl (along with their male counterparts) without really having anything substantial to back it up, quite unlike the multitude of other pop culture interests out there. These characters were underutilized to reach new generations, their stories and adventures scattered through un-unified worlds and mediums. DC Super Hero Girls changed all that, bringing together the female heroes and villains of the DC Universe into a new realm - placing them as High School-aged students learning their paths in life, but in a way relatable to younger kids. With an online animated series, books, toys and more, it's all been given purpose - a mission that DC's Diane Nelson described as "stories of empowerment, inspiration and optimism." First rolled-out exclusively to Target stores this Spring, DC Super Hero Girls toys and products will go out en masse starting in June, with the full collection of poseable action dolls and figures starting to hit the toy aisles of retailers everywhere. The folks at Mattel recently sent us the first wave of six action dolls to check out, and we're presenting them now in this edition of UNBOXED + PLAY!

Are you ready for Summer? With the official start of the season just days away, my friends at WORX want to help get you ready for some late Spring clean-up, and inspire you to get working on your yard. Today (Thursday May 19th, 2016) at 1PM EST, WORX will be hosting a Spring Cleaning Live Demo & Flash Sale to help you get your yard ready for summer! They'll be featuring the JawSaw & GT. The Jawsaw is the first and only fully enclosed chainsaw featuring a patented system that provides automatic lubrication and tightening of the chain. The GT is an extremely powerful string trimmer, precision edger, and mini mower -- all in one lightweight, cordless machine.

Wednesday, May 18 2016 10:31

The New GHOSTBUSTERS Trailer Answers the Call...

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Only July 15, Sony Pictures will bring filmmaker Paul Feig's new vision of the GHOSTBUSTERS to the big screen, and today a new trailer for the film has arrived... and it's a good one. Despite all the remakes, reboots, reimaginings and whatnot that have come along in recent years, the 'net crowd has thus far treated GHOSTBUSTERS unusually (and unfairly) harsh in recent months, fueled largely by the first trailer, which confusingly did have a "30 Years Ago..." tag, despite the fact that this GHOSTBUSTERS film and the 1984 classic are not connected from an "in-world" standpoint. Personally, I think the movie looks fun, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. Check out the new trailer below, and be sure to keep your browser pointed toward TheRockFather.com/ghostbusters for a special content hub that will soon emerge ahead of a #GhostbustersWeek Event coming to the site in July!

Wednesday, May 18 2016 09:36

First Wave Lineups revealed for RIOT FEST 2016!

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I've said this many times, but allow me to say this again... when it comes to music festivals, there is currently only one that maintains my loyalty: Chicago's RIOT FEST. While there's many festival offerings here in Illinois and beyond, RIOT FEST is the one that folks should be paying attention to - a festival that's grown from a days-long event scattered through multiple venues in Chicago, into the three-day behemoth known as the RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL. But there's also Denver, too - with the RIOT FEST & RODEO, and for 2016 the first wave of announcements is absolutely stellar... and this is just the first wave! Check out the announcements below, along with some official "Rock Father Picks" on what I'll most be looking forward to seeing this year...

While the weather has been slow to change here in Northern Illinois, reality (and the calendar) tells us that summer is almost here. With the arrival of summer comes planning for those wonderful road trips - whether short weekend runs, or The Great American Road Trip to far-off locales. As always, you're gonna need a soundtrack, and following tradition, my friends at Sugar Mountain PR have assembled a Family Music Road Trip Playlist packed with tracks from 12 of their artists - available as a FREE DOWNLOAD from May 18-25, 2016, after which it will revert to streaming-only. Check out the full collection in the Soundcloud player below, right here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine!