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THE ROCK FATHER Magazine

How I Almost Got Mugged in Chicago this Morning...

I dodged a bullet this morning,  figuratively speaking... but it could've turned literal. It's bothered me all day, as I really don't have a real answer of how I slid out of it.

Our family stayed at the Hyatt Place River North in Chicago last night - a special, semi-local getaway as part of a promotion that I've been working on with Chevrolet... a promotion that will bring some much-needed cheer to some families in-need this holiday season. Helping others is a large part of what I do, but that does not mean that I allow myself to be shaken down by the countless "homeless" thugs that have crept back into downtown Chicago - a societal blight that was largely eliminated under the leadership of Mayor Richard M. Daley, and one that has made a swift return under the reign of Rahm Emanuel. As a kid in the 80s, Chicago was often a big, scary city - a dirty, unfriendly place with danger lurking around every corner. As I grew into adulthood, the City changed - the place got cleaned up, and it became bright, lively and clean. You could walk around Downtown and feel safe. In 2015, safety is a memory. That became 100% clear to me this morning.

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Nintendo Holiday Experience Comes to 16 Malls this Season...

Just in-time for the official start of the Holiday rush ahead of Black Friday, the 2015 Nintendo Holiday Experience is coming to 16 Malls across the country, including one of our Chicagoland favorites - Simon's Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois. The Nintendo crew will be bringing photo ops, costumed characters (on select dates), and the opportunity for families to get a hands-on preview of some of this season's hottest games for the Wii U and 3DS. Catch the tour from November 23 - December 20, 2015.

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Five Things to Look Forward to at the 2015 Chicago Toy & Game Fair

This weekend, the 13th annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTAG) returns to Navy Pier in Chicago for two days of fun, Saturday, November 21, 2015 and Sunday, November 22, 2015. Having covered ChiTAG extensively here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine for the past four years of its run, I've taken a look at this year's schedule and floor plan to highlight five things that we're looking forward to this weekend. With hundreds of participants, there's some familiar faces and some fresh ones that will be exhibiting some of 2015's hottest toys and games (several of which are in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide), appropriately just ahead of Thanksgiving Week and the infamous Black Friday shopping kick-off. Here's a few things to check out... and yes, there will be STAR WARS.

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Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz: It's Time to Rethink Our Heroes and Villains...

"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
- District Attorney Harvey Dent in THE DARK KNIGHT (2008)

September 1, 2015 started out as a pretty normal, yet very exciting day for our family. It would be a milestone morning in which our youngest daughter, Finley, would embark on a new journey - her first day of preschool. My wife made plans to go into work early on that day, parents welcome to accompany their little ones as they took their first step into a larger world. We were in the classroom filled with the smiles of happy kids and glowing parents when one of the administrators quietly entered and asked for all of the parents to move into the hallway to "discuss an event in the community." Standing in a hallway lined with little red lockers and colorful artwork, we would learn that the school had entered lockdown for "an active shooter in a neighboring town." Information was sketchy, fast-moving and ever-changing, but what we knew was that there was an "officer down" - one who would soon be revealed to be Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.

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Chicago Friends: THE MASSACRE is THIS WEEKEND - 24 Hours of Horror Movie Madness!

Chicago Friends - this weekend, THE MASSACRE (Chicago's original 24-hour horror film event) returns to THE PATIO THEATER for a full cycle of monstrous goodness just in-time for Halloween! Kicking off with a short film program at 11:15am on Saturday, October 17, the feature-length goodness runs from noon-noon, with "survivors" being counted on Sunday - those brave enough to make it through the full 24 hours. There's some Rock Father Favorites in the mix this year including GREMLINS 2, George A. Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD, THEY LIVE and CHRISTINE. Check out the full lineup below, or grab your tickets now for just $20 via Brown Paper Tickets.

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Chicago's Riot Fest: Day One - Adventures in Mud & Music

Ever since Woodstock '94, visions of mud-fueled mayhem have gone hand-in-hand with summer music festivals in America. In Chicago, that hasn't been far-off these past couple of years, as soggy weather has made for some challenging festival-going, turning once lush green grass into foot-deep bogs of sticky slop. As Chicago's Riot Fest & Carnival got underway in its new home at Douglas Park yesterday, the scene was much like last year on the weather front, though thankfully the skies opened early enough in the day that concertgoers were able to enjoy most of the festivities rain-free... despite the muck underfoot. Families were out in full-force for Riot Fest, with new generations experiencing some of their parents' favorite bands, likely for the very first time. 

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Preview: Chicago's Riot Fest & Carnival is this Weekend - Here's My Picks...

This weekend, Chicago's Riot Fest & Carnival returns, this time taking place in a new location, Douglas Park (St. Anthony Hospital, be damned!). Having attended and covered the festival off-and-on over the years, it's still incredible to see what was once a week-long, multi-venue, sorta "underground" affair having expanded into a massive, three-day event that no longer simply happens in Chicago - but also Denver and Toronto. While there's certainly plenty of other festivals in Chicago (and the U.S.), this is the only one that I look forward to - the only one that truly speaks to my interests. The only issue for me with the size is, well, size - and that creates logistics issues no matter which festival you attend, particularly one with dozens of bands spread over seven stages. Conveniently, Riot Fest has an App (available for iOS & Android) to help with scheduling and music discovery, and from that App I was able to narrow my list to around 27 artists to check out, toplined by my favorite band of all-time, FAITH NO MORE. Still, there's some overlap, but I'll get it figured out. Accompanied by a highlight reel from last year, here's THE ROCK FATHER's picks for Riot Fest Chicago 2015 as exported and emailed via the Riot Fest App.

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The HOME ALONE 25th Anniversary Collection is Coming Home for the Holidays!

2015 Holiday Wish GuideWhen it comes to holiday movies, its no secret that I have a real soft spot for them. One of the greatest is also very much a "Chicago" movie, and one written by a local icon - the late John Hughes. HOME ALONE turns 25 this year, and the folks at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment are releasing a collection that I'm officially adding to my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide here on THE ROCK FATHER - the HOME ALONE 25th Anniversary Ultimate Collection! This new set features all five films in the HOME ALONE franchise, along with some cool collectibles that come packed-in a paint can.

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Bruce Campbell Wants Your Money! (for a new season of LAST FAN STANDING)

As I usually do when I post about a crowdfunding effort, I need to preface this with a warning: Just because I am posting about a Kickstarter project, that is not an invitation to open the floodgates for more crowdfunding pitches. Seriously, every single time I post about a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, I will get a dozen+ crappy pitches in my inbox by the next morning, so please - before you submit a crowdfunding effort, read this. Again, read this.

Bruce Campbell wants your money. This time, it's to make a new season of LAST FAN STANDING, the pop culture game show that Campbell (THE EVIL DEAD, BURN NOTICE, OLD SPICE) hosts himself. Filmed on-location and "live-to-tape" at Wizard World Comic Con events around the country, LAST FAN STANDING gave con-goers "the chance to prove their status as the ultimate Fanboy or Fangirl for a global internet audience on CONtv." If you want Season Two, here's your chance to be involved - just announced at a media event at the in-progress Wizard World Comic Con Chicago.

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