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Setting off through the winter woods, I am wrapped like a Christmas package with seven layers of insulation between myself and the day. I'm wearing mittens an astronaut on the surface of the moon would envy.

This is one of those ice-box cold, double-digit below zero days and the snow has that super cold squeak. The air is just absolutely metal cold, but the cool part is that it is radiantly sunny outside and windless, so there's a blue sky and sun just cutting through these trees.

For more than four decades, Peter Martins helped to shape the New York City Ballet — first as a dancer and then as an artistic leader.

Late Monday he informed the company's board that he would be retiring effective immediately.

Martins had been on a leave of absence since last month amid an investigation looking into sexual misconduct claims.

Martins has also served as artistic director of the School of American Ballet. He is also retiring from his role at the school.

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Thousands of party-goers are expected to see in the New Year at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate where an official party and firework display are planned. As usual, security will be tight with road blocks and an increased police presence of some 1, 600 officers. But this year, female revelers attending the open air event will also be able to access a women-only safety zone staffed by the German Red Cross.

The measures are being introduced by the police for the first time in Berlin because of concerns about sexual assaults.

Dozens of new emojis are planned for 2018.

One of the most popular additions? Redheads.

"People felt like they were getting left out," says Jeremy Burge of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee. It's part of the Unicode Consortium, which sets the international standards for emojis, among other things.

"Even though I don't have red hair myself, that was the number one request we got for the last two years running. So I felt like I should step up and try and make that happen," Burge tells NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

It's 1992. Your hair is gelled up, you're sporting high-tops and maybe still listening to Run DMC on cassette.

That's the setting for Sam Graham-Felsen's Green, a new coming-of-age novel that's also a look at race in America. It follows a friendship between two adolescent boys in Boston — one black and one white.

The Call-In: Paying It Forward

Dec 31, 2017

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LAUREN FRAYER, HOST:

Time now for The Call-In.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FRAYER: Last week, we asked you for your stories about paying it forward - an act of kindness that spreads from one person to another. Here are three that warmed our hearts. A warm meal is at the center of our first story.

When you hear the word quinceañera, the traditional rite of passage for 15-year-old Latina girls, you might think of poofy, pink dresses and big, boisterous family parties. A new HBO documentary series aims to add a little more depth to that perception.

15: A Quinceañera Story takes viewers inside the modern quinceañera. It profiles an East Los Angeles teen boxer, a transgender teen and two girls who perform in rodeo shows together.

Reading The Game: Inside

Dec 31, 2017

For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective.

Chef Carla Hall had never heard of "friendship bread" before someone gave her a plastic zip-top bag full of a yeasty, mushy starter. As a young caterer just starting out, she got busy baking up a storm and was excited to tell her friend some days later about everything she had made.

Instead of being delighted, her friend just stared at her. "You used it all up?" she asked. "That's not the point. You're supposed to just use some of it, and then pass it on to someone else. That's why it's called friendship bread."

Several years ago, Claire van Kampen was composing music for a London theater production. During a break, one of the singers asked her if she knew the story of Farinelli, the famous 18th century opera singer.

"'You'd really like the bit where he goes to Spain and sings to King Phillipe who has this bipolar disorder.' And then I started to think: Now that's an interesting story that I haven't heard about, seen."

Manliness And Green Living

Dec 30, 2017

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Hanif Kureishi has written plays and movies — notably the screenplay for My Beautiful Laundrette, which was nominated for an Oscar. But he's also won awards for his short stories and novels.

The British author's new book is a slender volume called The Nothing. Considering that there is very little sex in the book, it is a dirty book, about a nasty, dirty old man. The protagonist Waldo is in his 80s — he's "very withered" and "barely mobile," Kureishi says — when he suspects his younger wife Zee may be having an affair with one of his best friends.

Home, Home On The (Shooting) Range

Dec 30, 2017

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James Beard was one of the 20th century's great cooks, along with Julia Child, who elevated American home cooking.

When he died in 1985, his colleagues went to work to preserve his legacy and soon after established the James Beard House and the James Beard Foundation.

Every year, the foundation gives out awards to chefs and restaurants, cookbook authors and TV shows. The annual event is like the Oscars of the food world.

Naturally, a dinner at New York City's historic James Beard House is part of the occasion as well.

Revisiting our favorite books from adolescence is a tricky thing. These are, after all, novels we bonded with during a very impressionable time in our lives. As with our first romantic loves, we're often not willing or even able to see their faults. Even in hindsight, our judgment is colored — by nostalgia, by comfort, by the sense that these books are old friends.

Superfly Photos From A Late, Great Master

Dec 30, 2017

Flared-leg pants, oversized glasses and hats. Unflinchingly proud expressions. Groovy dance moves.

This was the youth culture of 1960s and 1970s Bamako, the capital city of Mali. And it was captured by Malian photographer Malick Sidibe, bringing international recognition and big deal awards. And it's being celebrated in the first major posthumous exhibit of his images, "Malick Sidibe: Mali Twist," which is at the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain In Paris through February 25. Sidibe died in April 2016 at age 80.

We've all been listening to what we in the broadcast biz call "year-enders": the most popular books, music and movies of the year; and of course the always-moving lists of people who died this year, mostly famous people.

But we also have our lists of people in our private lives. Our close friends' Christmas dinner always includes toasts to people who are no longer at the table — it's a moment of memory we welcome and dread at the same time. We all have our own ways of remembering our dead. And I want to share mine with you.

All Things Considered host Robert Siegel likes a good cocktail. He also likes to talk about cocktails.

For the past few years, right before New Year's Eve, he has talked with Emma Allen, who covered the New York City bar scene for The New Yorker and now edits the magazine's famous cartoons.

This year, she had a surprise for him.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Sue Grafton, the author of A Is For Alibi and 24 other mysteries featuring detective Kinsey Millhone, died Thursday at age 77. Her daughter Jamie wrote on Facebook that her mother had been battling cancer for the past two years but had been doing well until recent days.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

The 10 Most Popular 'Fresh Air' Interviews Of 2017

Dec 29, 2017

In 2017, Fresh Air marked 30 years as a nationally syndicated, daily radio program by doing what it does best: more in-depth interviews.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Oenophiles have debated the most desirable characteristics of bubbles in champagne and sparkling wines for centuries, with most purists swearing that the smaller the bubble, the better the wine. But up until recently, few thought to listen to the bubbles themselves for answers.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

2017 was a great year for Latino popular culture and the arts. There was the hit song "Despacito" by Puerto Ricans Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DESPACITO")

Vanna White has been turning letters on Wheel of Fortune for 35 years. That's 6,500 shows — and I've seen a lot of them. It's amazing to think about how much the world has changed, even as White has been doing the exact same job.

In recent years, films about terrorism have become their own kind of genre. They're often geopolitical thrillers or espionage dramas, but a new film from Germany takes a different — and more intimate — approach.

In the Fade, Germany's entry to the Oscars, tells the story of a survivor picking up the pieces of her broken life. German filmmaker Fatih Akin says he made the film to spotlight something terrorism stories often overlook.

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