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PJ MasksIf your little ones are into PJ Masks, get ready for a big jump from the small screen to the stage! Entertainment One (eOne) and Round Room Presents have announced that PJ MASKS LIVE!, a brand-new, fully-immersive musical production, will take to the stage, touring across North America. Kicking off in September 2017, the live show is based on eOne’s top-rated animated TV series, which airs daily on Disney Junior. Catboy, Owlette, Gekko and the Baddies will delight fans of all ages with live performances featuring world-class production, familiar and original music, acrobatics, and immersive interactivity.

It's gonna be a big summer at the box office, and on June 30, 2017, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures will bring Despicable Me 3 to theaters. With two films and a spinoff (Minions) having won audiences and acclaim (especially Despicable Me 2), it's time to go bigger, and it appears that the third installment will do so on a grand scale. Check out the latest trailer below, and say hello to Gru's twin brother... Dru.

With my recent acquisition of both a Nintendo Switch and an Xbox One S, I have finally re-entered the world of video gaming on a regular basis, and it's something that I'd definitely been missing. While my gaming interests have always gone in waves, the late 90s/early 00s were notable thanks to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. As my wife can attest, those games were a huge deal for me back then - a series that I followed for quite awhile, often spending many late-night hours busting out the kind of tricks that I always wished I could do in real-life, but sadly lacked the skill to pull-off. As my life changed, I missed out on some of the later entries, but with talk of the series soon finding a rebirth, it was pretty exciting to learn that a comprehensive documentary about the games and the cultural phenomenon around them is now in-production. Pretending I'm a Superman: The Tony Hawk Game Story is currently seeking funding via Indiegogo, and the pitch trailer is a good one. Check this out...

If you watch the news, it's easy to feel down about a lot of things, and that's why I like to highlight some good news - like the occasions when an organization that I respect is making waves by doing good. The folks at Mattel are in the business of making children happy, and that extends well beyond simply making toys. One such initiative has been the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, and this week, Mattel announced a $50 million gift to UCLA Health that will fund an expansion of the facility, and "help establish a world-class pediatric care center and research hub focused on improving children's health."

Five years ago, I celebrated one-year tobacco-free with a journal entry about my personal journey. Then, in 2013, I posted again, celebrating the two-year anniversary of coming clean (indeed, cigarettes are a drug), followed by another post in 2014 documenting year three, and how I couldn't get Philip Morris/Altria to leave me alone (they since have, but only after I threatened legal action). In 2015, I posted again, noting that little bits had changed, like Cracker Barrel restaurants playing into the hands of Big Tobacco (presumably) not knowing it, and the rise of the e-cig and vape crowd, followed in 2016 by an update. Today I am posting once again, as it's the six-year anniversary of kicking the habit. As I've done previously, I am re-posting much of my original entry here on THE ROCK FATHER, along with a few alterations and timely updates. Philip Morris/Altria and R.J Reynolds: As I've warned before, with each passing year, the targets on the backs of your companies and leadership continue to grow...

March 14, 2011 is the day that I officially quit smoking. At some point on the night of March 13, I quietly took the last puff of the last cigarette in the last pack that I ever owned. Upon telling my wife that I was officially ''done,'' she took it upon herself to clean-up some of the ''smoker's mess'' that I'd created. The ashtrays of both cars were scoured. The sand-filled flowerpots that I'd strategically placed on my front porch and near my gardening shed were disposed of, along with a ton of stray butts that had made their way into the surrounding landscape over the winter months. The cleansing had begun.

With St. Patrick's Day coming up, it's pretty appropriate that Chicago's The Tossers have unleashed their latest music video, "Erin Go Bragh." The new single comes from Smash the Windows, their most recent album for Victory Records, just-released last week. Check it out below...

On March 24, Lionsgate will bring SABAN'S POWER RANGERS into theaters, and at the same time, Varèse Sarabande will unleash the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally (CD available April 21, 2017). The soundtrack features the original music by composer Brian Tyler (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Furious 7) and the exclusive track “Give It All” performed by With You, featuring Santigold and Vince Staples.

This summer, two heroes of the Southern California music scene will hit the road together, as Sublime With Rome and The Offspring join forces in July for dates across Canada, then connecting again in September for a US amphitheater tour.

This Friday, Walt Disney Studios will bring "a tale as old as time" back to life as their live-action telling of Beauty and the Beast waltzes into theaters. Along with the beautiful new film comes a wide selection of new toys and collectibles, and JAKKS Pacific is among those leading the charge, with some fantastic new dolls and roleplay items. To celebrate, The Toy Insider and JAKKS Pacific are throwing the #BeJAKKSGuest Twitter Party from 11am-12pm ET on March 17, the very day that the film makes its cinematic debut! RSVP now to take part!

The time has come for the RiffTrax crew (Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, of MST3K fame) to return to U.S. movie theaters, with RiffTrax Live: Samurai Cop, their 24th RiffTrax title since 2009 for Fathom Events. This special presentation will find the trio breaking out fresh comedic commentary on the titular Samurai Cop and his partner as they journey from a faraway land called “San Diego” to bust up a gang whose stated goal is putting someone’s head on their piano. Check out the trailer below...

Oh, do I know that look... the one around 22-seconds into the "Official Origin Trailer" for Warner Bros.' forthcoming Wonder Woman. It's the look of a little girl with a certain streak... a little bit mischievous, and certainly adventurous. Wonder Woman is en route to theaters on June 2, and it's already secured a spot on our most-anticipated list here at Rock Father HQ - an entry in what's shaping up to be a massive year at the movies. Check this out...

Last month at New York Toy Fair, countless toymakers rolled-out a preview of what's in-store for the rest of 2017 and beyond. Among the toys that we're most interested in here at Rock Father HQ are those in the new Vampirina collection by Just Play. On the surface, the ingredients for success are there in that it's the latest Disney Junior series from Doc McStuffins creator, Chris Nee, based on the hit Vampirina Ballerina books by Anne Marie Pace. For Disney, the characters have been updated with a look more in-line with what preschoolers and elementary-aged kids have come to expect. While I think that my girls are gonna be all over this, I see so much potential -- this coming from a guy that's Halloween-obsessed, and has written stories about supernatural beings a time (or two) in the past. With a storyline following an immigrant family (of vampires, no less) that has moved from Transylvania to Pennsylvania, there's some topical issues at hand (new kid in town, dealing with differences, etc.), but on the toy front, what's coming is just so cool...

Thursday, March 09 2017 11:00

Music Video Debut: Red Yarn - "Mockingbird"

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When it comes to family music, one of the most unique artists in the genre comes to us from Portland. Red Yarn has been spinning his sonic tale for a few years now, blending his vibrant brand of folk-infused Americana with a live show that features puppetry and storytelling. Now, with the release of his latest album, Born in the Deep Woods, Red Yarn completes his Deep Woods Trilogy, "an epic song cycle exploring the roots and branches of American folk music." Today, I'm happy to share the new video for "Mockingbird," a beautiful clip that includes Red Yarn rocking out with his 3-year-old son. I dig it, and think you will too. Check it out!

Last month, while the folks at Mazda USA were in Southern California doing an unveiling of some of their upcoming rides for 2017, I was here in Northern Illinois enjoying one of their most recent releases - the 2016.5 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD. Now, I think a lot of readers might not be familiar with a mid-model-year update, as it's far less common these days as it used to be. Quite simply, the CX-5 received some updates to carry the '16 into '17, and hence the 2016.5 moniker. Thanks to the unseasonably warm temperatures and some suburbs-to-city adventures I had planned (the Nintendo Switch launch, for one), I was able to spend a solid week with the car, giving it a hands-on evaluation in several conditions. More importantly, I got some real family time in this one, using one of its Mazda siblings (and one of my favorite cars of the past year) for some comparison... the CX-9.

When it comes to imaginative play, my friends at The Step2 Company are always on top of the game in coming up with new ways to expand the horizons of children. For 2017, one of the most unique new offerings is the All Around Playtime Patio with Canopy™, a new style of kid's playhouse that's wheelchair accessible, and exceptionally spacious in combining multiple play options into one affordable package. To celebrate the coming of warmer weather and getting kids back outside, The Rock Father™ and Step2 have teamed-up once again, and we're giving you the chance to win one of these for your yard! It's Made in the USA (Ohio!) of US and imported parts. Check it out...