Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation’s press.


Mixed Bag: Christie’s Los Angeles’ inaugural auction of 20th century art Wednesday night racked up $3.8 million in sales, less than the predicted range of $4 million to $5 million. But while 56 of the 211 pieces offered did not find buyers, the sale attracted an overflow crowd and many items fetched high prices. An unidentified European collector bought Marc Chagall’s painting, “Bride and Groom With Flowers,” for $497,500, the evening’s top price. And San Francisco dealer John Berggruen purchased Elmer Bischoff’s painting, “Woman With Yellow Flowers,” for $211,500, a record for the Bay Area artist’s work and more than twice the sale’s high estimate of $100,000. Other top sales included Edward Kienholz’s assemblage “Boy, Son of John Doe” ($118,000), Ed Ruscha’s painting “Honey . . . I Twisted Through More Damned Traffic to Get Here” ($107,000), and two Alexander Calder mobiles ($211,500 and $129,000).


River of Lights: The Los Angeles River will be lit up for the next two weekends with artist Hiro Yamagata’s new laser installation at the First Street Bridge. The installation--which will be running Friday through Sunday nights through Oct. 25 and is planned to illuminate the river for a mile in either direction from the downtown bridge--is a preview of a more elaborate installation Yamagata is planning for a millennium celebration. The installation will be exhibited along with artist George Herms’ “Parade of Sculpture,” which will be on display on the bridge itself.


Not Giving Thanks: Gospel star Kirk Franklin has been sued by God’s Property, the Dallas choir he mentored to stardom (the group’s 1997 album, “God’s Property From Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation,” became the highest-charting gospel album in history and has sold about 2.7 million copies). In the Los Angeles suit, God’s Property alleges that the choir hasn’t received any proceeds from the hit album because Franklin induced founder Linda Searight into signing away royalties in an “onerous and one-sided” contract with B-Rite Music. Franklin’s attorney could not be reached, but an attorney for B-Rite said without elaborating: “When B-Rite and the Rev. Kirk Franklin have been heard from . . . [the suit] will add up to a big nothing.” God’s Property began collaborating with Franklin in 1993 and sang backup on his 1995 album, “Whatcha Lookin’ 4.” Franklin, in turn, produced and co-wrote most of the songs on the group’s album last year.


Showing No ‘Mercy’: UPN’s “Mercy Point,” the science-fiction drama described as “ ‘ER’ in space,” will be pulled from the network’s schedule starting Oct. 27. It has not been determined whether the low-rated series, which stars Joe Morton, will return. The series, which aired at 9 p.m. Tuesdays, will be replaced Oct. 27 by two new half-hours: “America’s Greatest Pets” and the sitcom “Reunited,” starring Julie Hagerty. In other UPN news, “The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer,” which airs at 9 p.m. Mondays, will change places starting Oct. 26 with “Malcolm & Eddie,” which now airs at 9:30 p.m.


Comedy Fest Lineup: The fifth annual U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo., will include tributes to filmmaker James L. Brooks and the long-canceled Fox comedy series “The Ben Stiller Show.” Other events scheduled for the March 3-7 festival include a reunion of SCTV comedy troupe members Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O’Hara, Harold Ramis, Martin Short and Dave Thomas. Coverage will air on both Comedy Central and HBO.



Fox said Thursday that the “Masked Magician” from its controversial “Magic Secrets Revealed” specials will reveal his own identity in the network’s Oct. 29 special. . . . Wynonna and Celine Dion will both sing on the 100th episode of CBS’ “Touched by an Angel,” airing Nov. 15. Wynonna will also make her acting debut on the episode, playing a mother whose child is dying of cystic fibrosis. . . . Carolyn “Mountain Girl” Adams Garcia, the second wife of the late Grateful Dead front man Jerry Garcia, has accepted a $1.5-million settlement from his estate in a dispute over the couple’s 1993 divorce agreement. . . . Saul Levine, owner and president of classical music station KKGO-FM (105.1), will be honored by the Pasadena Symphony on Saturday for his “continued support of classical music in Los Angeles.”