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MOTHER’S DAY TRIBUTE TO ELIZA TREDWELL, AT MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM | To the modern eye, Eliza Tredwell’s duties may seem retro — but the love that went into them is timeless. “The home was the mother’s domain,” says Merchant’s House Museum (MHM) board member Anthony Bellov, while discussing the 19th century family matriarch’s legacy. “She was expected to make the home a comfortable and beautiful and fashionable place — not just for the husband, but for the children as well.” Life must have been sweet. Of the eight Tredwell children, says Bellov, “Four of her daughters didn’t marry. They remained at home and returned the favor by caring for Eliza in her later years.” Similar loving care has gone into the museum. Packed with the family’s original furnishings and personal possessions, it offers visitors “a rare and intimate glimpse of domestic life from 1835-1865.” It’s as if the family never left. Apparently, some of them didn’t. That’s according to dozens of eyewitness accounts over the years — compiled by Bellov in the “available in the gift shop” booklet, “Some Say They Never Left.” Today, Eliza’s bedroom “is the room where we receive the most reports,” says Bellov in regards to the museum’s well-earned reputation for paranormal activity. “We have audio recordings and unexplained photographs, and people claim the sense of another presence is strongest in that room,” he notes, while stopping short of a guarantee that you’ll come face-to-face with mama Eliza or daughter Gertrude or any of the servants and caretakers who those in “Some Say” say they’ve seen.
Celebrate the life of Eliza Tredwell, and learn more about her role within the context of 19th century motherhood, when MHM offers special Mother’s Day tours of the house. Or, spend some time in Eliza’s room when you take the self-guided tour as a regular museum visitor. During the Ghost Tours (third Friday of the month), you’ll hear more about the mysterious goings-on in Eliza’s room, and throughout the rest of the house.
Sun., May 12. At the Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. 4th St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). Mother’s Day tours at 12:30pm, 2pm & 3:30pm (included with regular admission). In May, when accompanied by their children, mothers visit for free (excludes Walking Tour, special events and group programs… but includes the Mother’s Day tour!). Call 212-777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org.
ADVANCE GUARD | Willy and Milo drop out of art school. Unable to make ends meet or create their own masterpieces, they fall under the spell of a mysterious artist known as “The Prophet” — who provides them with art supplies, cash, drugs and marching orders. “Occupy Wall Street meets Fight Club meets the Art World” is how the multi-ethnic Spookfish Theatre Company describes their production of Ming Peiffer’s “Advance Guard.”
Through May 19, at The Kraine Theater (85 E. 4th St., btw. 2nd Ave. & Bowery). For showtimes and tickets ($18, $15 for students/seniors), visit horsetrade.info or call 212-868-4444.
RETRO PULFER: ZUSTANDSEFFEKTE | Pulfer’s work navigates between architecture and performance. In his first U.S. solo exhibition, he creates an ethereal environment by suspending large swathes of hand-painted cloth from the gallery’s ceiling. Visitors enter into a mysterious backlit interior, whose walls are covered by unbleached cotton cloth. Everything sways with movement, while color accents can be found on the fabric-covered ceiling. The exhibition’s title (“Zustandseffekte”) roughly translates as “effects of a given state.” It refers to both stagnation and transformation, and it is up to each viewer to transition between reality and imagination.
Through June 23, at Swiss Institute (18 Wooster St., btw. Grand & Canal Sts.). Hours: Wed.-Sun., 12-6pm. Call 212-925-2035 or visit swissinstitute.net.