- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Big stink

E! Online

This probably wasn’t what Dave Matthews had in mind when he wrote “Don’t Drink the Water.”

The state of Illinois filed suit Tuesday against the Dave Matthews Band for reportedly dumping up to 800 pounds of liquid human waste from its tour bus into the Chicago River earlier this month.

The suit, filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, claims that a bus rented by the usually eco-friendly group was traveling crosstown to the band’s hotel on Aug. 8 when it pulled up alongside a metal grating on the Kinzie Street Bridge. That’s when, the suit claims, bus driver Stefan A. Wohl emptied the contents of the vehicle’s septic tank into the river.

That was bad news for Chicago’s First Lady, a passing tour boat filled with 100 people on an architecture sightseeing cruise that was doused by the falling excrement.

No one was seriously hurt by the raining waste. The boat’s captain made a U-turn and headed back to the dock, where reeking passengers were given refunds and the ship was thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

Miss Madigan seeks more than $70,000 in civil penalties from the band and its driver for violating the state’s water pollution and public nuisance laws.

“This incident may be unique, but that does not lessen the environmental or public health risks posed by the release of at least 800 pounds of liquid human waste into a busy waterway and onto a crowded tour boat,” she said.

The band’s spokesman, John Vlautin, says this isn’t the kind of jam the band is used to and says any pollution was not intentional.

No word on whether any of the tainted tourists plan to take legal action against the rockers.

Back to Broadway

Associated Press

Whoopi Goldberg is returning to Broadway in the show that jump-started her career 20 years ago.

Miss Goldberg’s self-titled one-woman show opens Nov. 17 at the Lyceum Theatre, the same house where the show premiered in October 1984, it was announced Tuesday. The original show ran for 156 performances.

Since then, the actress-comedian has appeared on Broadway in the revivals of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

She won a supporting-actress Oscar in 1991 for “Ghost.” Her movies also include “The Color Purple” and the “Sister Act” films.

Preview performances begin Nov. 6. Miss Goldberg will try out her show in Philadelphia, playing a week’s engagement at the city’s Merriam Theatre starting Oct. 13.

Tiger vid under wraps

Associated Press

The company that produced the Siegfried & Roy magic show has refused to turn over video to federal authorities investigating last fall’s tiger attack on illusionist Roy Horn.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture attempted to obtain a video of the show through two recent subpoenas, but Vienna, Va.-based Feld Entertainment would not hand over the footage, a department source said Tuesday.

The unnamed source said USDA would pursue other “legal avenues.”

Under the federal Animal Welfare Act, the department has been investigating the Oct. 3 attack in which Mr. Horn was mauled by a 300-pound tiger during a live performance at the Mirage hotel-casino in Las Vegas.

Mr. Horn survived the attack but suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed, and the successful show closed.

Department spokesman Jim Rogers said Tuesday that the probe into the tiger attack remains open and confirmed that the show is under investigation for possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

The act allows the department to take action against violators, impose fines and suspend or revoke licenses.

Mr. Rogers would not discuss the department’s efforts to obtain the footage or details of the investigation.

Feld spokeswoman Shannon Pak declined comment because of the ongoing investigation.

The Department of Agriculture also is investigating the death of a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus lion. The circus is also run by Feld.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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