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2 Live Crew threatened with arrest, leader says

The rap band 2 Live Crew says Springfield (Ill.) police told them to play clean versions of their songs or be arrested, and police say the show was taped and will be reviewed for violations. Band leader Luther Campbell told a Springfield radio station that police warned the group before its two Friday shows not to perform sexually explicit lyrics.

"They told us they would throw us in jail here if we did the adult show . . . even if it was in front of adults," Campbell told KTTS radio. No one under 18 was allowed to buy tickets.

But Springfield authorities said they decided in advance not to make any obscenity arrests during the shows, said Lt. Darrell Crick. Instead, officials from the city Liquor Commission tape-recorded the act for review by prosecutors.

The sold-out shows drew about 1,000 fans and as many protesters. A rally and picketing produced no conflict.

Band members Campbell, Mark "Brother Marquis" Ross and Chris "Fresh Kid Ice" Wongwon were acquitted of obscenity charges Oct. 20 in Fort Lauderdale involving a nightclub show in June.

A Fort Lauderdale record store owner was convicted earlier of a misdemeanor obscenity charge for selling the band's As Nasty as They Wanna Be recording.

Et cetera

Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg was named winner of the Excellence Award of the sixth annual Women in Film Festival on Saturday. The award honors her life work and adds her name to a list that includes Sally Field, Julie Andrews and Kathleen Turner. Goldberg received the award during a tribute at the Directors Guild of America.

Poet, novelist and playwright James Merrill on Saturday was awarded the national poetry prize from the Library of Congress in Washington. It was the first time the library had grant prizes since an uproar over the 1948 winner.

Merrill, 64, who lives in Stonington, Conn., will receive a $10,000 stipend from the new Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, established in memory of former President Lyndon B. Johnson's sister.