Friendly Skies? “It is harder to be number one and easier to chase number one.” So says retired Airbus chief Jean Pierson, as quoted in Boeing Versus Airbus,former New Yorker writer John Newhouse‘s account of the aircraft manufacturers’ high-stakes rivalry (Knopf, $26.95). In June 2004, Pierson warned against complacency as the French upstart finally overtook local industry behemoth Boeing. Thirty-two months and one disastrous Airbus production delay later, Boeing is on course to win more orders than its nemesis for the first time since 2000. And Pierson? Newhouse describes him as fishing contentedly in Corsica.

bobby conn

If Ok Go can do it: Could rock persona Bobby Conn be the next to harness the power of YouTube? His label hopes so. For Conn’s new album, King For a Day, out in February, Thrill Jockey hired filmmaker Usama Alshaibi to direct a video “musical.” “We shot it on a 1982 JVC video camera,” says Alshaibi, whose film Nice Bombs debuted last year. “It’s a particular look.” See the result on or on YouTube. Conn performs a live version-complete with visual psychedelia-February 17th at the A.P.O. Building in Pilsen. For info, go to

Sky Style: Coincidence, yes, but two newish shops-Ciao Bella Chicago (3829 N. Southport Ave.; 773-388-2201) and Plein Aire (2036 W. Division St.; 773-227-3772)-are run by former or current United Airlines flight attendants. “Our big joke is that we shopped all over the world, so who better to shop for the things in our store?” says Plein Aire co-owner Jill Carroll.  

dress from Sweet Sally

DIY Diamond in the Rough: We usually strike out at craft fairs, but at a recent “indie market” called Depart-ment, one of our staffers found that fashion rarity: a winter-friendly dress. Handsewn from wheat-colored wool, the frock gives us hope for Chicagoan Sally Herschman’s year-old label Sweet. See her work at

Coolest wine list of 2007? Thus far, our vote for the cleverest wine list of 2007 goes to Osteria di Tramonto (601 N. Milwaukee Ave, Wheeling; 847-777-6570). For right-brained creatives, there are themes like “Girls, Girls, Girls!” (Italian wines made by women). For logic-loving left-brainers, there’s geography-think “whites from Campania.” For mismatched couples, there’s an endless supply of bottles. $70.

cake from Chicago's Sarah's Pastries and Candies

Brides Are Talking About … the ornate wedding cakes from Sarah’s Pastries & Candies (11 E. Oak St.; 312-664-6223). Though Sarah Levy, the 25-year-old force behind the shop, is better known for her candy, she added wedding cakes to her repertoire for a simple reason: “[They] are the ultimate example of the joy that sweets can bring to someone’s life.” Fillings range from chocolate mousse to pumpkin creme brulee, but the real stunner is Levy’s fexibility. While two weeks’ notice is perferred, Levy has been known to whip up an order in two days. A cake that serves 100 guests ranges from $500 to $700.

Illustration: Wed Duvall Photography: Conn by Jim Newberry, dress by Megan Lovejoy, cake by Stephan Hamilton