rina's birthday present to herself
All photos copyright 2009 K. Smokey Cormier
Mr. Sultan was an artist trustee of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which holds some 40 of his works in its collection. More than a dozen of them will go on display starting Saturday, when SFMOMA begins its 75th anniversary celebration. The shows have been in planning for a year or more, and the display of Mr. Sultan's work will be his 15th solo or group show at the museum.
"He's tremendously important, certainly to us," said Sandra S. Phillips, senior curator of photography at SFMOMA. "His work has always been about examining the special kind of life that is lived here in California, and the contemporary condition of the family. That is what motivated this really amazing body of work."
It's the birthday of the comedian who has interviewed Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter, John McCain, Tom Cruise, and Tom Hanks, and on whose show Senator John Edwards announced that he was running for president of the United States. Jon Stewart, (books by this author) the host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, was born in New York City on this day in 1962. He was raised in New Jersey.
Stewart took over as the host of The Daily Show in January 1999. For the previous 15 years — since he'd graduated from college with a psychology degree — he had worked as a bartender, busboy, shelf-stocker, construction worker, soccer coach, puppeteer for children with disabilities, and he'd been employed by the State of New Jersey and the City University of New York.
All this time Stewart was trying to make it on the New York comedy scene. He lined up a gig at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village but was jeered off stage halfway through his act. Then he got a nightly 1:45 a.m. slot at the Comedy Cellar; his audience at first consisted mostly of the place's bartenders and staff. He became a friend and frequent guest on David Letterman's Late Night and was a candidate to replace him on NBC when Letterman left for CBS. Conan O'Brien got Letterman's spot in 1993, but Stewart got his own MTV show, which had the second-highest ratings on the network but was cancelled after two seasons. In 1999, Comedy Central's The Daily Show picked up Jon Stewart.
In 2007 a Pew Research poll indicated that Jon Stewart ranked as the 4th Most Admired Journalist — tying with Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, Dan Rather, and Anderson Cooper. When Senator John Edwards announced his candidacy for president on The Daily Show, Stewart replied: "We're a fake show, so I want you to know this may not count."
Each morning on the day of the show, Stewart and the Daily Show team of writers gather for a morning meeting. They sift through material gathered via TiVo, Web sites, newspapers, and magazines looking for — as one show producer said — stories that "make us angry in a whole new way." In an article titled, "Is Jon Stewart the Most Trusted Man in America?" New York Times writer Michiko Kakutani reported on The Daily Show ritual: At lunchtime, Stewart is scrutinizing the jokes that will appear at the top of the night's show; by 3 p.m., a script has been written; at 4:15, there's rehearsal, followed immediately by rewrites; and then show is taped in front of a live audience in the studio at 6 p.m.
Stewart, who proposed to his wife through a crossword puzzle with the help of puzzlemaster Will Shortz, is also the author of a few books, including America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction (2004), which held the No. 1 New York Times Bestseller spot for 18 weeks in a row. He hosted the Academy Awards in 2006 and 2008.