Month End Economic Update for April 2020

Stock Market Update

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the month of April at 24,345.72, up 11% from 21,917.16 on March 30, 2020. The S&P 500 closed the month at 2,912.44, up 12.6% from 2,585.59 at the end of March. The NASDAQ closed the month at 8,889.55, up 15.5% from 7,700.10 on March 30, 2020.

U.S. Treasury Bond Yields dropped to record lows in April

The 10-year U.S. treasury bond yield closed the month of April at 0.64%, down from 0.70% on March 30. The 30-year Treasury yield ended the month at 1.28%, down from 1.35% at the end of March.

Mortgage Rates dropped to record lows in April

The April 30, 2020 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.23%, down from 3.33% on April 2, 2020. The 15-year fixed was 2.77%, down from 2.82% April 2. The 5-year ARM was 3.14%, down from 3.49% on April 2, 2020.

 

Home sales reports are released on the third week of the month for the previous month. These are the March results.

March 2020 U.S. Home sales report

The National Association of Realtors reported the total existing-home sales in March fell just 0.8% from the number of sales in March 2019. Considering that 80% of the country was under a stay-at-home order in March, this was quite a positive result. These homes went under contract before the crisis, as most closings take 30-60 days, but the buyers did close during the crisis. Prices were also up significantly in March. The median price was 8.0% higher than last March. That marked the 97th straight month of year over year increases in the median price. Inventory levels were tight. There was a 3.4 month supply of housing on the market.

California March Home Sales Report

Impact of the pandemic has begun to be felt as the number of sales dropped while prices continued to rise – The California Association of Realtors announced that existing single-family home sales totaled 373,070 on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate in March, down 6.1% from the number of sales in March 2019. The statewide median price paid for a home in March was $612,440, up 5.6% from February and up 8.3% from one year ago. The median price is the point at which 1/2 the homes sell for more 1/2 the homes sell for less. Escrows periods are commonly between 30 and 60 days, so these sales represent homes placed in escrow before the crises. Homes sold during the crises are just beginning to close. There was a record low 2.7 month supply of homes for sale in March compared to a 3.6 month supply in February and a 3.6 month supply of homes for sale last March. That is due to so many people removing their homes from the market. On a regional level: In Los Angeles County the median price increases 8.1% from last March. In Orange Country the median price increased 9% from one year ago. In Ventura County the median price increased 10.2% from last March.

 

 

Economic Update for the Week Ending May 2, 2020

Stock Markets Posted Their Largest Monthly Gains in 30 Years in April

Stocks recovered in April after a devastating March. Despite a disappointing 4.8% decline in first quarter GDP, the worst quality decline since 2008, stocks ended the month much higher. Approximately $3 Trillion in government stimulus to businesses and individuals, unprecedented action by the Federal Reserve adding Trillions in liquidity, and states beginning to allow businesses to reopen fueled the rebound. The Dow had dropped from 29,000 in February to 18,000 by the third week of March before stead recovering. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 23,723.69, down 0.2%, from 23,775.27 last week. It’s down 16.9% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,830.71, down 0.2% from 2,836.74 last week. It’s down 12.4% year to date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 8,604.95, down 0.3% from 8,634.52 last week. It’s down 4.1% year to date.

U.S. Treasury Bond Yields

The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 0.64%, up slightly from 0.60 last wee. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 1.27%, up from 1.17% last week.

Mortgage Rates are at Record Lows

The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey released on April 30, 2020, reported mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as follows: The 30-year fixed Mortgage rate average was 3.23% down from 3.33% last week. The 15-year fixed was 2.77%, down from 2.86% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.14%, down from 3.28% last week.

Unemployment Claims Jump for the Fifth Straight Week

Another 3.85 million American workers filed first-time unemployment claims last week. That brings a total of over 30 million workers laid off in the last six weeks. The unemployment rate has gone from a 50 year low of 3.6% in February to over 20%, the highest rate since the Great Depression, in just 6 weeks. Fortunately, these job losses are mostly temporary as employers will gradually rehire their workers once they are permitted to re-open.

Economic Update for the Week Ending March 13, 2020

 

Stock Markets Entered Bear Market Territory

Its difficult to imagine that all major stock market indexes closed at all time highs on February 19, 2020. In less than a month the longest bull market in history has ended because of a virus that has caused a global pandemic. Investors have concluded that the cruise industry will be decimated. It’s probable that the airline industry will need a bail out. Retail, sports, entertainment, restaurants, private schools, and other business sectors will also suffer devastating losses. Demand for oil with cruise ships halted, flights cancelled, people staying home and not driving has caused a surplus in the supply of oil. OPEC had called for cutting production to keep an already over supply of inventory from increasing and stabilizing prices, but Russia refused, and oil prices saw their largest one day decline since 1991. By weeks end the Fed had announced how they would add liquidity to support the financial system, and help business lending. The House also passed an emergency package. The Fed action, and the prospect of congressional stimulus sparked a 2,000 point rally on Friday to end the week with less devastation to stocks by making up much of Thursday’s losses which was the largest one day percentage drop in the DOW, eclipsing Black Monday’s drop in 1987. To be fair, on the positive side major stock market indexes are still above their levels at the beginning of 2019. We have lost about one year of gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 23,185.62, down 10.4% from 25,864.78 last week. It’s down 18.8% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,711.02, down 8.8% from 2,972.37 last week. It’s down 16.1% year to date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 7,874.88, down 8.2% from 8,575.62 last week. It’s down 12.2% year to date.

U.S. Treasury Bond Yields

As stock markets continued to plummet investors moved money from stocks to the safety of bonds. The 10-year treasury bond yield closed the week slightly above last week, but still at their lowest level in 100 years, Monday’s yields dropped to the lowest in the history in America, but worked their way up in the end of the week. The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 0.94%, up from 0.74% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 1.56%, up from 1.25%, last week. We watch treasury bond yields because mortgage rates often follow bond yields.

Mortgage Rates at 40-Year Lows 

The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey released on March 12, 2020 reported mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.36% up from 3.29% last week. The 15-year fixed was 2.77% unchanged from 2.79% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.01%, down from 3.18% last week. Usually, mortgage rates follow bond yields, but lenders have not lowered rates to the extent that bond yields have dropped. This week lenders actually raised rates because they did not have the staff to handle the volume of all the loans in process, as sales have been brisk, and refinancing has surged.

 

Economic Update for the Week Ending March 6, 2020

The U.S. Economy Added 273,000 New Jobs in February 

The Department of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. employers added 273,000 new jobs in February. Monthly job gains averaged 230,000 over the past six months, the highest job gains in two years. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%, a 50-year low, from 3.6% in January. Average hourly wages grew 3% from one year ago. The report demonstrates just how strong the American economy was prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

Stock Markets End Week Slightly Higher than Last Week When Stocks Had Their Biggest Weekly Decline Since the 2008 Financial Crisis

It was a turbulent week with 1,000 point daily swings, but markets held on to be slightly higher for the week as the coronavirus reached pandemic levels, spreading to every continent on the globe. Analysts fear that the economic impact will be devastating to the travel industry, and severely impact the worldwide economy. In a surprise move the Federal Reserve made an emergency ½% rate cut in order to lend support to the economy. Nobody knows what the final economic impact of the coronavirus will be. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 25,864.78, up 1.8% from 25,409.36 last week. It’s down 9.4% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,972.37up 0.6% from 2,954.22 last week. It’s down 8% year to date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 8,575.62, up 0.1% from 8,567.37 last week. It’s down 4.5% year to date.

Coronavirus Impact on the Real Estate Market 

The meltdown in stocks has pushed interest rates to 40-year lows. We did not see any decline in sales in the last two weeks. In fact, there are so many sales, inventory levels are shrinking because new listings are not keeping up with the number of sales. Inventory levels are now back to 2017 levels, which represented historic lows. This has caused multiple offers on homes that are priced realistically, pushing prices up.

U.S. Treasury Bond Yields 

As stock markets plummeted, investors moved money from stocks to the safety of bonds. The 10-year treasury bond closed the week at its lowest level in 100 years.  The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 0.74% down from 1.13% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 1.25%, down from 1.65%, last week. We watch treasury bond yields because mortgage rates often follow bond yields.

Mortgage Rates at 40-Year Lows 

The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey released on March 5, 2020 reported mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.29%, down from 3.44% last week. The 15-year fixed was 2.79%, down from 2.95% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.18%down slightly from 3.20% last week. Usually, mortgage rates follow bond yields, but lenders have not lowered rates to the extent that bond yields have dropped.

Valley Weekend Events: March 6 – 8

Conejo Valley

Travel to the chomping, stomping land before time, take in some sleight of hand or settle in for Springtime for Hitler. Whether you’re in the mood for classical music or a trip back in time to the Civil War, there’s no shortage of entertainment and events this weekend in the Conejo Valley.

Friday – March 6, 2020

Dinosaur World Live

Fred Kavli Theater, Thousand Oaks Bank of America Performing Arts Center, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, CA

While you wait for the next Jurassic Park sequel – or for scientists to actually breed dinosaurs – this interactive live show should more than satisfy your appetite for prehistoric lizards. Among the beasts audiences of this all-ages show will have the chance to get up and close with: the Triceratops, the Giraffatitan, the Microraptor, the Segnosaurus and, of course, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. For more details, go HERE.

Saturday – March 7, 2020

The Producers

Conejo Players Theatre, 351 S Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks, CA

The Conejo Players Theatre raises the curtain on The Producers, the Oscar-winning, Mel Brooks comedy about a broke, shady Broadway producer and his meek accountant who conspire to stage the biggest flop of all time – in the hopes of conning the show’s investors out of millions. The crux of their plan? A musical called Springtime for Hitler. For details, go HERE.

Eric Buss: Shenanigans

Scherr Forum Theatre, Thousand Oaks Bank of America Performing Arts Center, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, CA

Expect to be dazzled and delighted at this new show starring award-winning comedian and magician, Eric Buss, award-winning magician Stuart McDonald, Michael Rayner and vinyl spinster, DJ Nel. It promises surprises beyond simply making you marvel: how did they do that? For details, go HERE.

Sunday – March 8, 2020

Civil War Days

137 Strathearn Place, Simi Valley, CA

Saturday and Sunday with costumed civilians as well as soldiers relating tales from the conflict. Highlights will include President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the re-enactment of the surrender at Appomattox. Learn about everything going on HERE.

Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Gala

The Gardens at Los Robles, 299 S Moorpark Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA

Internationally-acclaimed pianist Peter Klimo’s recital is the centerpiece of this evening devoted to benefiting the young musicians of Ventura County. In addition to the performance, there will be cocktails and a gourmet dinner. For more information, go HERE.

San Fernando Valley

Dancing queens, comedians and esports players – they’re all on tap this weekend in the San Fernando Valley.

Friday – March 6, 2020

Friday Night at The Bunker

2200 W Burbank Boulevard, Suite B, Burbank, CA

Start the weekend off with laughter at this speakeasy setting featuring Gaina Rivina, Brooks Wheelan, who has been called a name to watch by the London Times, and Chase Bernstein, who has performed on A Little Late With Lilly Singh as well as written for shows on Netflix. The venue is BYOB. For tickets and details, go HERE.

Saturday – March 7, 2020

Brad Williams

Flappers Comedy Club and Restaurant, 102 E Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank, CA

After two highly-rated comedy specials on Showcase and appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Tonight Show and Comedy Underground, Brad Williams has emerged as one of the most in-demand comics working today. In addition to his own podcast with Adam Ray, Williams has contributed to Adam Carolla’s podcast, The Adam Carolla Show. For details, go HERE.

From Keyboards to Dollars

Motion Picture and Television Fund, 23388 Mulholland Drive, Woodland Hills, CA

Getting published is one thing. Getting paid is something else altogether. Literary agent and attorney Paul S. Levine, writer of How Authors Go from Fingers to Keyboard to Dollars in Their Bank Accounts: Four Ways Book Authors Make Money from Publishers, promises to have plenty of advice for writers at this event, presented by the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the California Writers Club. For more information, go HERE.

Sunday – March 8, 2020

Blizzard Arena Esports Competitions

3000 W Alameda Avenue, Burbank, CA

The world’s top esports players are set to clash in such arenas as Overwatch, Starcraft II and Call of Duty. Along with the on-screen battles, attendees can expect free guest wi-fi and plenty of swag. For gamers and esports enthusiasts, this is ground zero. Get the details HERE.

ABBA Mania 2020

El Portal Theater, 5267 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA

Mamma Mia! It’s not much of a chance you’re taking on them. Abba Mania! returns you to the heyday of the Swedish supergroup beloved for such other hits as Dancing Queen and Winner Takes All. The U.S. cast of this show is comprised of performers from the U.S. and Australia who recreate the group’s last concert in 1979. For all the details, go HERE.

Santa Clarita Valley

Michael Bolton can’t live without his symphony and a pair of acts pay tribute to two of the most popular acts in modern music history. All this and more can be found going on this weekend in Santa Clarita.

Friday – March 6, 2020

Michael Bolton: The Symphony Sessions

Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA

The Grammy winner brings his hits to the Saban Theatre, complete with a symphony orchestra. That shouldn’t be a surprise, considering his latest album collected and arranged such favorites as How Am I Supposed to Live Without You with a full orchestra. For details, go HERE.

Saturday – March 7, 2020

Eagles Tribute by The Long Run

The Canyon – Santa Clarita, 24201 Valencia Boulevard No.1351, Santa Clarita, CA

For nearly two decades, The Long Run – Experience the Eagles has been one of the top tribute acts in North America. What better place to see them than the Hotel California itself? For tickets and information, go HERE.

Trace Adkins

The Forum, Santa Clarita, Santa Clarita, CA

Country star Trace Adkins, who has charted more than 20 singles on the Billboard country music charts, brings his distinctive voice and his decades of hits to the Forum in Santa Clarita. In addition to his music career, he was a finalist in 2008 on The All Star Celebrity Apprentice. He won the reality-TV competition in 2013. For tickets and details, go HERE.

Sunday – March 8, 2020

Santa Clarita Comic and Toy Expo 2020

College of the Canyons, E Road, Santa Clarita, CA

This one-day event will feature a variety of exhibitors from the comics and toys realm. Locally-owned comic shop Kimzar Kollectables is sponsoring the event, which will let enthusiasts interact with industry professionals as well as other liked-minded fans. For details, go HERE.

George Strait Tribute by The Troubadour Experience

The Canyon – Santa Clarita, 24201 Valencia Boulevard, No. 1351, Santa Clarita, CA

The Troubadour Experience bills itself as the greatest George Strait tribute band, promising all the hits of the “King of County,” who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. For tickets and information, go HERE.

Valley Eats: Soup

Any time of year is soup weather. So while a cold day in Southern California conjures thoughts of staying warm with a piping hot bowl, don’t dismiss the power of ramen or matzo balls or chowder just because temperatures are rising. Armed with bread and an abundance of spices, a single spoonful can make for one satisfying slurp. Here are some of the best around the Valley.

San Fernando Valley

Art’s Delicatessen & Restaurant

12224 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, CA 91604

This classic deli, with its corned beef sandwiches, doesn’t skimp on the soup: from chicken noodle and chicken broth to bean and barley and cabbage to the beef borscht and chili con carne. But, of course, all soups should only be sampled after the mighty matzo ball.

Kai Ramen

15030 Ventura Boulevard, No. 23, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

For ramen lovers in Sherman Oaks, this eatery is the go-to stop for such favorite dishes as the Spicy Chicken (yellow noodles, home-made meat, flavored egg, scallion, baby bakchoi and crispy onion), the signature Kai’s White (skinny noodle with garlic butter and pork belly) and the Popeye Ramen (spinach noodle, with tofu, spring mix, tofu, flavored egg and red onions).

Soup Goddess

4001 W Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505

Have a bowl without the guilt. The vegan and gluten-free selections here include the Broccoli Cheddah (broccoli, carrots, onions and celery with sautéed leeks, garlic and chili flakes), the Mushroom Heaven (with portabella, naturally) and, to underscore its healthiness, the Cabbage Fit Soup (cabbage with green beans, Brussel sprouts, thyme and ginger). In the mood for something that sounds not quite so stern? How about the Watermelon Gazpacho, with seedless watermelon, grape vine tomatoes, English cucumber, green onion, jalapeño, garlic and lime?

Conejo Valley

The Gourmet Soup Kitchen

23229 Saticoy Street, West Hills, CA 91304

This vegetarian eatery boasts a menu of more than 30 soups, aimed at pleasing even the pickiest of palettes. Among those which merit serious consideration: the African Peanut (yams, carrots, onions and other vegetables, along with ginger, garlic, organic lite peanut butter and lite coconut milk), the Carrot Ginger (with a touch of sherry and sea salt) and the Spicy Six Bean (with peppers, spices and garbanzo as well as white, pinto and black beans).

Taiyo Ramen

2310 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

This shop in Thousand Oaks knows its ramen. So why not choose one of their specialty dishes: the Tokyo Tsukemen (soft dry noodles and fish-based dipping sauce with pork, egg, lime, roasted garlic and green onions), the Seafood Paitan Ramen (shrimp and calamari with scallop, fish cake, cabbage and sole fish) or the Yakisoba Noodles (Japanese-style stir fried noodles, vegetables and either chicken or tofu). They also offer a vegan ramen with vegan noodles and broth. If you feel like cooling down afterward, bobas include a matcha green tea.

SoLé SoupS

1772B E Avenida De Los Arboles Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

Fusing a modern attitude to old-world recipes, this eatery stresses it wants to make healthy eating fun, swift and convenient. The menu can vary, but featured selections can range from zucchini to turkey meatball in red sauce to chicken and barley to a yellow split pea with curry.

Santa Clarita Valley

Umaichi Ramen

26877 Bouquet Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91350

Declaring that ramen is Japanese soul food, this modern restaurant serves up Japanese noodle soups alongside Asian-style buns, beer and sake. Ramen variations include the Cold Noodle with Creamy Sesame Dressing, the Spicy Shoyu Ramen and the Green Vegetarian Ramen.

Masa Ramen

27051 Mcbean Parkway, Suite 101, Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Hoping to introduce ramen feasters to new iterations of the dish, their menu includes the Mabo (a spicy Mabo sauce mixed with beef, green onion and shredded chili peppers), the Miso (chashu pork and white fish cake with green onion, corn, bamboo, nori, egg and bean sprouts) and the Curry (an egg combined with corn or green onion as well as chicken).

Paik’s Noodle

28124 Newhall Ranch Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Drop by this eatery if you feel in the mood for do-it-yourself Asian hot pot – from the Jjamppong (Korean noodles swimming with squid, pork and vegetables in spices) to the Jajangmyeon (noodles simmered in black bean sauce) to the Tangsuyuk (sweet and sour sauce with fried pork). The Bokkeummyeon consists of sit-fried noodles with seafood, vegetables and pork.

 

 

Valley Weekend Events: February 29 – March 1

Conejo

Travel to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, listen to a symphony of dreams or explore our changing world with award-winning filmmaker Andy Mann. Whether you’re in the mood for the classics or a hike into nature, there’s plenty going on this weekend in the Conejo Valley.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2020

Nat Geo Live – Andy Mann: From Summit to Sea

Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theater, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, CA

Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Andy Mann has documented our planet for more than a decade. A diver, arctic explorer and rock climber, Mann’s captivating images of our world and its wildlife as they experience rapid, disturbing upheavals have amassed him a following of more than 400,000 on Instagram. For ticket information, go HERE.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2020

New West Symphony presents: Dreams  

Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

Dreams is part of a two-concert series remembering the Holocaust, showcasing music that acted as a beacon of hope during one of humanity’s darkest periods. Originally written for a children’s opera competition in 1938, Brundibár (Czech for “bumblebee”) was composed by Hans Krása in a concentration camp. The program also features Felix Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For more details, go HERE.

STEAM Expo

Santa Susana High School, 3570 Cochran Street, Simi Valley, CA

STEAM stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics” – all of which are ready to be explored at this fifth annual event. Expect more than 40 booths, which this year also includes a health fair. The event runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For details, go HERE.

SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 2020

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live!

Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theater, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, CA

Starring Daniel Tiger, O the Owl, Miss Elaina, Katerina Kittycat and Prince Wednesday, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live: Neighbor Day carries audience members of all ages along on an interactive journey to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe in this live production. Expect new songs as well as favorites from the animated series, which was inspired by Mister Rogers Neighborhood. For ticket information, go HERE.

Sunday Hike in Malibu

The Ranch at Solstice Canyon, 26025 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA

Pack a power bar and head for the hills. For professionals seeking a retreat from their urban lifestyle – if only for a few hours – this could prove a welcome escape to nature. This hike is led by fitness pros, so along with a little exercise, you might also pick up a tip or two for improved health and nutrition. For details, go HERE.

San Fernando Valley

Celebrate the life and legacy of Billie Holiday, take a little off the top for a good cause or check out a taping with Roseanne’s former sitcom family. Whether you’re in the mood for laughter or a new stage production, there’s plenty going on this weekend in the San Fernando Valley.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2020

The Conners: Live Taping

 

Warner Brothers Studios, Gate 3 Visitor’s Center, 4301 W Olive Avenue, Burbank, CA

Roseanne may no longer be around, but her TV family endures. And if you feel like dropping in on the working-class Conners, check out this live taping of the popular ABC comedy, starring John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Sara Gilbert. For details on how to attend, go HERE.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2020

L.A. Connection’s 2001: An Improv Odyssey

LA Connection Comedy Theatre, 3435 W Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank, CA 91505

L.A. Connection, which has been throwing a spotlight on the art of improv since 1977, presents 2001: An Improv Odyssey, where veteran comics tackle various improv scenes a la Whose Line Is It Anyway? If you do attend, be prepared: audience members have been known to wind up pulled on stage, participating in the show itself. For tickets, go HERE.

Billie! Backstage with Lady Day

Whitefire Theatre – 13500 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, CA

This emotional one-woman show recounts the life of jazz-blues legend Billie Holiday. Expect to hear such classics as I’ll Be Seeing You, Embraceable You and Strange Fruit as Holiday’s journey sees her become one of the most influential voices in music. For details, go HERE.

SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 2020

The Early Bird gets the Laughs 

Flappers Comedy Club – Yoo Hoo Room – 102 E Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank, CA

The hook of this recurring comedy showcase is simple enough: we’ll make you laugh – and let you get home in time for Matlock. (Hence the 5 p.m. start time.) This week’s featured performer is Greg Benevent with other acts including Andrew Moncayo, Brad LaCour and Courtney Bang Rice. For details, go HERE.

California’s Finest Barber Battle and Artistry Expo

Paul Mitchell The School Sherman Oaks, 15301 Ventura Boulevard P2, Sherman Oaks, CA

This annual hair-raiser features vendors, raffles, live music and, of course, scissors. In the professional category, the first-place winner will receive $500 while the victor in the student category will claim $250. Notably, 100% of the proceeds go to different charities, such as the Andrew Gomez Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. For details, go HERE.

Santa Clarita Valley

Have your breathtaking away all over again, take in a cabaret (or maybe some cabernet) or drop by the Gentle Barn for an animal experience like no other. Whether you’re in the mood for laughter or a new stage production, there’s plenty going on this weekend in Santa Clarita.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2020

Berlin

The Canyon Santa Clarita, 24201 Valencia Boulevard, Santa Clarita, CA

She can still take your breath away. And what better time to see Terri Nunn and Berlin in concert than as the sequel to Top Gun, which catapulted Berlin to Oscar-winning fame with the 1986 ballad Take My Breath Away, prepares to launch? For details, go HERE.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2020

Cabaret and Cabernet

Hyatt Regency Valencia, 24500 Town Center Drive, Valencia, CA

For its annual benefit event, the Santa Clarita Master Chorale is inviting you to come for the music, the food, the silent auction, but of course, for the cabernet. For information, go HERE.

Bird Walk

Castaic Lake Recreation Area – Park Headquarters, 32132 Castaic Lake Drive, Castaic, CA

Join the flock as bird watchers and nature lovers alike head out for this guided excursion around the Castaic Lake Recreation Area. It happens the first Saturday of every month at 8 a.m. from the main office. For details, go HERE.

SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 2020

The Gentle Barn

The Gentle Barn, 15825 Sierra Highway, Santa Clarita, CA

The Gentle Barn saves animals from abuse, providing sanctuary to creatures ranging from pigs and sheep to peacocks and turkeys. Drop by the barn on Sunday for the chance to meet the animals in their care (belly rubs for the pigs!) and learn their stories. For details, go HERE.

Love Learn Sing

The MAIN, 24266 Main Street, Newhall, CA

This musical cabaret directed by local theater veteran Colin Sickafoose features music from such shows as Dear Even Hansen, Rent and Waitress the Musical, performed by some of Santa Clarita’s most gifted singers. Tickets are limited. For information, go HERE.

 

Carol Wolfe Featured in Ventura Boulevard Magazine

One of our top producing agents, Carol Wolfe, was highlighted in the February issue of the Ventura Boulevard Magazine. In 2019, Carol had another record breaking year in the Encino office. She was also recognized by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal in 2019 as one of the Top 200 Influential Business Leaders in the San Fernando Valley.

Carol is an active member of the Encino Chamber of Commerce and supports the local community. Providence Tarzana Medical Center is investing $540 million to build a new state-of-the-art hospital, and Carol serves on the committee of real estate industry experts for what will be the largest health care construction project ever in the San Fernando Valley.

For the full Q&A with Carol, click HERE.

Los Angeles and Westside Eats: Dessert

Whether you’re craving a sugar rush or merely seeking a side hustle from your diet, Los Angeles and the Westside have plenty of baked, iced, swirled and poured gooey, crumbling goodness to tempt and treat you. From matcha drinks and Parisian pastries to slices of cheesecake and some of the smoothest soft serve anywhere, here are some of the best dessert joints in the city to dip a spoon or straw in when you’re in the mood for a sweet diversion.

Birdie G’s

2421 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404

This industrial-chic eatery hasn’t been open a year and already the menu has declared the rose-petal pie “world-famous.” Anywhere else, that kind of self-congratulation would merit some heavy eye-rolling. But this dessert – rapturous rosy mousse married to a bed of savory pretzel crust – has rightfully earned kudos from coast to coast. We might also mention the honey date bundt cake or the matzo bark, with its chocolate and toffee, but really, order those only after you’ve finished every candied bite of their signature petal-smacked creation.

Matcha Village

2202 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90064

If you’re familiar with Japanese-style matcha desserts (matcha being powdered green tea leaves), this chain specializes in Chinese-style matcha. Standouts in the menu – which features cookies, ice creams and beverages – include such classics as soufflé and tiramisu as well as their signature Peking duck crepe. Vegan alternatives are also available at this Sawtelle spot.

Rocco’s Cheesecake

1701 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405

You don’t need dinner when you have cheesecake. As evidence of this, drop by this Santa Monica bakery to indulge in any of its endless eclectic flavors. Among the slices on hand: the White Chocolate Rose Petal Mango Lime, the S’Mores Some More and the Middle Eastern Baklava. Rocco’s is also both vegan and keto-friendly, so along with your espresso, cappuccino or cup of gourmet coffee, dive into a piece of their vegan cookies n’ cream.

Le Mervetty

319 N Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

This Beverly Hills bakery specializes in authentically Parisian desserts. But if you’re not feeling like the Le Canelé (caramelized crust surrounding a custard center), the Le Grand Merveilleux (layered with meringue and cream) or even a macaroon (is there ever a bad time for a macaroon?), they offer custom-made milkshakes, too, made with French vanilla ice cream and hand-designed with meringue, cookies, candy and other delicious, decorative toppings.

Bae

369 E 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Swoon over the soft serve in this Little Tokyo ice cream cafe. Their signature dessert is called Mixed Feelings: stark black and white swirled into a colorful sugar cone. The dramatic dark color is derived from charcoal, which is known to offer plenty of toxin-cleansing health benefits. If soft serve ice cream isn’t your style, they also offer pastries, a churro doughnut and a range of coffee drinks, including a charcoal latte.

Bae Bumsan Organic Milk Bar

534 S Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90020

This buzzed-about Koreatown ice cream shop uses milk from Bumsan Farm Co., the leading organic dairy producer in Korea, to make its soft serve. Flavors are true milk, taro milk tea, matcha, chocolate, French latte and the vegan option hazelnut cacao. (Swirl flavors are select combinations: true milk and matcha, chocolate and French latte or taro milk tea and hazelnut cacao.) Once you’ve decided on a cup or custom cone, finish it off with sprinkles or cookies.

LA Weekend Events: February 28 – March 1

Whether it’s the final rose being handed out live, Pee-wee Herman going for a ride down memory lane or Oprah sitting across from Jennifer Lopez, there’s no need to escape to Margaritaville just yet – it’s all happening here in Los Angeles and the Westside this weekend.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2020

The Bachelor Live on Stage

The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 29 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 

Former stars of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette Ben Higgins and Becca Kufrin bring the drama, the revelations, the tears, the scandal (well, probably not) of an entire season and cram it into one rose-filled night. Promising to be the “ultimate fan experience,” the show will take a local bachelor and introduce him to local women from the audience. From there … well, do we really need to explain? For details on how you can attend, go HERE.

Escape to Margaritaville

Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

This musical inspired by flip-flop-wearing crooner Jimmy Buffett has earned raves since its debut in 2007. The plot involves a part-time bartender in a tropical paradise who falls for a tourist best-described as having an A-type personality. The songs, naturally, are all from Buffett, based on a book by Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley. To join the party, go HERE.

saturDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2020

WW Presents: Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus

The Forum, 3900 W Manchester Boulevard, Inglewood, CA 90305

As part of her first U.S. tour in five years, the global icon seeks to inspire event-goers with discussions of health, well-being and personal transformation. For this event, she will be chatting with Jennifer Lopez for an intimate one-on-one conversation. For details, go HERE.

The Book of Mormon

Ahmanson Theater, 135 N Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

From the creators of South Park comes what the New York Times hailed as “the best musical of this century.” But you probably knew that already. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a musical that has broken into the pop culture lexicon quite like The Book of Mormon, which won nine Tony Awards including Best Musical. Yet the word continues to spread about the production, concerning a pair of mismatched missionaries. For more information, go HERE.

sunDAY, march 1, 2020

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure 35th Anniversary Tour with Paul Reubens

The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010

For the 35th anniversary of the cult classic that launched the careers of both Pee-wee himself, Paul Reubens, as well as future Batman and Beetlejuice director Tim Burton, Reubens is taking his prized red bicycle on the road, so to speak. He will be attending this screening at the Wiltern, after which he will take to the stage himself. For tickets, go HERE.

The Chieftains

Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

After five decades and six Grammys, the Irish folk group are embarking on their last tour to the U.S. Long acclaimed for introducing traditional Irish music to international audiences, the Irish government even awarded them the honorary title of “Ireland’s Musical Ambassadors” in the 1980s. Expect much dancing and strumming for their send-off. For more details, go HERE.