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“Youth Week” is observed at the African Burial Ground National Monument, through Oct. 8. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Through October 8, the National Park Service will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the rediscovery of the African Burial Ground by hosting “Youth Week 2011.” One of the most significant archaeological finds in U.S. history, the African Burial Ground is a 17th- and 18th-century cemetery that was rediscovered in 1991 when construction began on a federal office building in Lower Manhattan. In 1993, the site was preserved as a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior — and was designated as a National Monument in 2006 (that Monument is part of the original 6.6-acre site, containing the
remains of approximately 15,000 people — making it the largest African cemetery excavated in North America).

“Youth Week 2011” activities and programs will explore what the site’s rediscovery means to the community, while inviting visitors to learn about the crucial role free and
enslaved Africans played in the development of New York during the 17th and
18th centuries. On Thursday, October 6, events include the 11am workshop: “Proverbs, Aphorisms and Mother Wits — Learning from the Wisdom of the Ancestors and Elders” (by Pat Leonard; RSVP required) and the 3pm Gallery Talk, “Burial Practices and Pinkster.” On Friday, October 7, events include an 11am ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the rediscovery of the African Burial Ground. Former NY governor David Paterson is the keynote speaker. The ceremony will conclude with a wreath laying at the burial mounds (the Memorial and Visitor Center will remain open until 8pm). On Saturday, October 8, events include a 10am Libation ceremony (with Gregory Carr, featuring a drum circle); a 1pm Poetry Slam; the Red Storm Drum and Dance Troupe at 2pm; and, at 6:30pm, a candlelit “Abolitionist” walking tour leaving from the African
Burial National Monument and concluding at the site’s outdoor memorial (RSVP

The African Burial Ground National Monument is located on the first floor of the Ted Weiss Federal Building (290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan; close to Foley Square and just north of City Hall; cross streets are Duane and Reade). The Visitors Center is open Tues.-Sat, 10am-4pm. The Memorial, located at Duane St. and African Burial Ground Way, is open daily from 9am-5pm. For Youth Week 2011 activities, reservations are required for several programs, and will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis (to reserve, call 212-637-2019). For a detailed schedule of events, and information about visiting the monument year-round, visit nps.gov/afbg.

If you’ve ever watched one of those atrocious, silly and occasionally staged ghost-baiting paranormal “Reality TV” shows and said, “I could do that,” then don’t miss this lecture designed with the budding supernatural sleuth and the paracurious in mind. It’s being given by Dan Sturges (sturgesparanormal.com) — host of the recently launched weekly web-based event, “The Psi Show.” Built like a mighty brick pizza oven, this kind and skeptical soul was handpicked in 2007 by the curious, credible historians at the Merchant’s House Museum to lead an ambitious investigation of “Manhattan’s most haunted house.” Occupied by the Tredwells (a wealthy merchant-class family) along with various servants and caretakers for a century, those who lived and died there have been making their presence known ever since the place opened up as a museum 75 years ago. During his many investigations, Sturges has picked up crystal clear recordings of footsteps, strange bumps in the night and unexplained voices seemingly engaged in intelligent conversation with members of the investigative team. You’ll hear those audio clips, see unsettling images caught on film, learn about equipment used in the effort to gather evidence and also have a laugh or two (Sturges is well aware of his pursuit’s absurdities). By the time the talk is done, you’ll be able to tell the difference between EMF and EVP — and if you need clarification, there’ll also be a spirited Q&A session (plus the chance to buy tickets to a raffle whose winner will get to accompany Sturges and the team on a future Merchant’s House investigation).

Sat., Oct. 8, 7pm, at the Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). Seating is limited. Reservations strongly recommended. For tickets ($20, $10 for MHM members), call 212-777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org.

The Cuban Art Space of the Center for Cuban Studies is currently presenting a dynamic exhibit showcasing the recent mixed media work of two young Cuban artists: Marlys Fuego and William Pérez.

Born in Cienfuegos in 1965, Pérez studied at the Rolando Escardó Elementary School of Visual Arts, and later continued his studies at the San Alejandro Academy in Havana (graduating in sculpture in 1986). Since then, he’s taken part in more than 100 group shows in Cuba and abroad. Regarding the current exhibit, Pérez states, “This series alludes to the concept of a an island starting from the representation of small ‘Inhabitable Spaces’ created by man in order to live, or to realize work, or in order to store objects. I have taken as reference points the spaces situated in the roofs of the old buildings of Havana. These are small, semi-destroyed, additions of what were antique living spaces or other constructed spaces with forms and materials that defy sound architectural reasoning.”

Born in Las Tunas in 1988, Fuego currently lives in Havana, and has participated in more than a dozen group and individual shows in Cuba, Quito, Ecuador, and New York City. This is her second show at the Cuban Art space (the first being 2010’s “Cuban Women Artists” — in which she exhibited a work in homage to sculptor Louise Bourgeois). Fuego notes, “My new works are installation and sculptural pieces that address eroticism. These days, the Cuban population has acquired a taste for the excessively sweetened in the way they dress, their manner of expressing themselves socially, their appearance, and in their sexuality — assuming an aesthetic that characterizes the grotesque and exaggerated as that which is beautiful.” Fuego uses sequins, satin sheets and belts that exemplify this taste, in order to “convert it into an aesthetic that is anything but aggressive and, in some cases, naïve.”

Oct. 6-Nov. 19, at the Cuban Art Space of the Center for Cuban Studies (231 W. 29th St., 4th floor, btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). Gallery hours: Mon.-Fri., 11am-7pm. Sat., 12-6pm. For more info, visit cubanartspace.net or call 212-242-0559.