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From the pews of a church where white deacons once refused to seat African Americans, a group of Black singers in Alabama reminds us why preserving our memories of thi

Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2020

Dec 29, 2020

In a year defined by a devastating pandemic, the world lost iconic defenders of civil rights, great athletes and entertainers who helped define their genres.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of the many beloved figures who died in 2020.

The world also said goodbye to U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement.

Basketball great Kobe Bryant died in a January helicopter crash at age 41, actor Chadwick Boseman died of cancer in August at age 43, and soccer great Diego Maradona died in November at age 60.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Fans of "Star Trek" and Patrick Stewart were delighted to see the actor return this year to his most famous role, Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the CBS All Access series "Star Trek: Picard." He made his first appearance as Picard in 1987 and has since starred in seven seasons of "The Next Generation" and several "Star Trek" films. Production for the second season of "Picard" is slated to begin in February of 2021.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Life during the pandemic has been feeling like something Stephen King dreamed up. About 40 years ago, in his novel "The Stand," he wrote about a virus that's 99% lethal and wipes out most of the population. That virus was accidentally released by a lab developing biological weapons. "The Stand" was adapted into an ABC miniseries back in 1994. A new miniseries adapted from "The Stand" is now streaming on CBS All Access.

50 Wonderful Things From 2020

Dec 29, 2020

I've been making annual lists of 50 Wonderful Things since 2010. And I have to admit, I was not sure I was up to it this year. It's been a hard one and a lonely one, even though I had the blessings of dear friends, a job I could do remotely and a dog who apparently never gets tired of me. As I point out every year, this is not the actual best things of the year, or it would be full of doctors and nurses and activists and delivery drivers and so forth.

Pierre Cardin, French Fashion Designer, Dies At 98

Dec 29, 2020

French designer Pierre Cardin, who extended his brand far beyond the fashion world, has died at age 98. The son of Italian immigrants worked with luminaries such as filmmaker Jean Cocteau and designer Christian Dior before launching his own fashion house, drawing on his love for futuristic design.

Cardin's family announced his death to Agence France-Presse on Tuesday. The French Académie des Beaux-Arts also issued several statements mourning his passing.

I've never been able to find a good way to display Christmas cards; I am not a "hang them around the door frame" kind of person (it grates on my minimalist sensibility), so last year I put out a big bowl in our dining room and put them all in there (to be fair, I took the idea from a friend — I'm not that quick). It keeps them neat and tidy, and my kids love going through them all year long. As we've added to the bowl this year, I've spent some time perusing last year's cards.

What a difference a year makes.

Although growing old is the most common of experiences, there are surprisingly few good films about old age. Maybe because there's no audience. The young are too busy being young to be interested in those with gray hair. And the people over 50 who I know shudder at the thought of watching comedies about cute bucket-listers or dramas where the aged spend their days grappling with disease, death and loss.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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What does it mean to be beautiful as a trans and disabled woman?

Poet torrin greathouse, who is trans and disabled herself, explores that question in her debut collection. It's called Wound from the Mouth of a Wound and it came out this month after winning the Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry, a contest for Midwestern poets.

It's tempting to review Bridgerton thusly: "I highly recommend this Shondaland series, which will remind you a little of Jane Austen and a little of Scandal, and which prompted me to specifically decline to seek out the precise definition of an orgy."

But let's say a little more.

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Sarah McCammon speaks with director David Rodrigues and San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus artistic director Tim Seelig, subject of the new documentary Gay Chorus Deep South.

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Looking for a good book to finish the year? We have four recommendations for books about love, romance and relationships.

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