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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.

Published in James' Journal

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.

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.

"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.

Published in James' Journal

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.

Published in Chicagoland

While Chicago's Riot Fest & Carnival can take many shapes for many people, Day Two was all about the "legends" in my eyes. A genre-bending day filled with plenty of punk (THE DAMNED, CIV, THE DEAD MILKMEN, PENNYWISE, THE LAWRENCE ARMS+) tied to Riot Fest's roots, the biggest moments for me were stacked as night began to fall.

Published in Music News
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