About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality, Commentator, Adventurer and Raconteur.
He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and 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 Napalm Records' PRODUCT OF HATE.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, has been quoted in BusinessWire, CNN and Babble, in addition to making appearances on ABC News, WGN and more. In the past he served as a writer for Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.
Learn more here.
As of this writing, National Superhero Day (April 28, 2017) is fast-approaching, and that makes for a great time to have a SUPER party. Parties don't need to be reserved just for birthdays, and sometimes it's fun to get the little ones and their friends together for an unexpected gathering. In fact, sometimes we even have parties here at Rock Father HQ that are family-only, but still a fun way to turn an ordinary day or night into something extraordinary... or super. One of our favorite themes here is PJ Masks, and after being requested by parents for over a year, official PJ Masks party supplies are now available at Party City! Paired with PJ Masks free printables from the official site and toys from Just Play, you can easily create a memorable PJ Masks Party for National Superhero Day, birthdays or any day!
For my annual Holiday Wish Guide last year, one of the hottest items featured came from Dynacraft in collaboration with The Toy Insider. Months later, the Dynacraft 24V Disney Princess Carriage (featured here) is still a hot item - and it's a head-turning ride whenever The Rock Daughters™ take it out for a spin. Available now as a Walmart exclusive (order here), the folks at Dynacraft are now asking kids - "What Does it Mean to Be a Princess?" In honor of National Princess Week 2017, kids (with the help of their parents) can create a 15-second video answering that question to be entered for a chance to win a Disney Princess Carriage of their own! Check this out...
The "toys-to-life" category has seen some ups-and-downs over the past few years, but the reality is that it's still an evolving thing - and probably always will be. Until now, it's been dominated by a mix of console video games paired with real-life figures, with Skylanders, LEGO Dimensions and the late Disney Infinity being the biggest players in the realm. This year, there's starting to be a shift toward mobile, with titles like TOMY's Lightseekers ramping up, but then out-of-nowhere comes Hasbro with a totally different spin on things. The Play-Doh Touch Shape to Life Studio bridges traditional, hands-on imaginative and creative play with the digital world, allowing kids to craft real Play-Doh creations, and then scan them into the accompanying app. The folks at Hasbro (via Family Video Network) recently sent us one for review here in the Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ, and you can see our hands-on video below...
It's been rumored for a little while, and today it's official - Call of Duty will return to its World War II roots this fall with Call of Duty: WWII, developed by Sledgehammer Games. Little is known about the game right now, but more intel will be coming during the game’s Worldwide Reveal livestream on Wednesday, April 26 featuring Sledgehammer Games co-studio heads and founders Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield. Fans will be able to tune in to get a first look at Call of Duty: WWII and get intel on the studio’s vision for the game. Personally, I'm two years behind on my Call of Duty playing, but since I finally have an Xbox One, I'm really looking forward to a return to "Call of Duty Season!"
As someone who writes about toys often (both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and also over at The Toy Insider), I see a lot of new stuff. It's also very common for toymakers to send me pitches either for feedback, or in hopes that I will review them or cover their crowdfunding efforts. Tonight marks the second time that something once pitched to me shows up on ABC's THE TOY BOX, with Emotiplush (emailed to me during a crowdfunding run in 2014) vying for the attention of the judges in hopes of being crowned champion. At the end of the 8-week series, the winning toy will be produced by Mattel and sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. Check out all of the week three toys below...
As some of you might know, I recently visited Pixar Animation Studios for an early look at Disney•Pixar's Cars 3, after which I got to hit the track at Sonoma Raceway. As the June 16 release of the latest Cars film fast-approaches, back here in Illinois, families will be able to "meet" life-size, character look-alikes of five-time Piston-Cup champion Lightning McQueen, tech-savvy Cruz Ramirez and the sleek next-gen racer Jackson Storm THIS WEEKEND. The crew will be rolling into town to celebrate Cars 3 with local fans as the Cars 3: Road to the Races Tour hits the Chicagoland area for a stop at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, April 21-23, 2017.