Pop Culture

Madonna ready to audit Kabbalah?

Is Madonna paying for mini-mansions for Kabbalah leaders?

The singer reportedly has asked for a detailed accounting of the millions of dollars she’s donated to the Kabbalah Centre — and she may be surprised to find that some of that cash might have gone into Los Angeles real estate. The controversial branch of Judaism — whose members include such celebs as Madonna, Britney Spears and Demi Moore — has been buying up property around its headquarters on South Robertson Boulevard in L.A. according to one Kabbalah watcher, who says that it is involved in “at least a dozen” major real estate purchases in the area. What’s more, “mini-mansions” are being built for the leaders of the Kabbalah Centre on three of those pieces of property, says Rick Ross, a cult expert and frequent critic of the Kabbalah Centre. According to Ross, one of those “mini mansions” will be occupied by Philip Berg, the former insurance sales man who has popularized Kabbalah into a trendy religion that some have accused of being a cult. The other two will house his sons Michael and Yehuda Berg.

A spokesman for the Kabbalah Centre confirms that the group is buying up real estate “because the Kabbalah Centre is expanding” but he said he had no information on any specific purchases.

“Madonna has a reputation for being a savvy businesswoman who knows how to read a balance sheet,” Ross tells the Scoop. “I can’t imagine that the Bergs really want to show her their bottom line. If Madonna insists on seeing the books, the Bergs may ultimately show her the door.”

Biting the handAlec Baldwin raised some eyebrows while promoting his latest movie — with an outburst against movie promotion.

Michael Springer / Getty Images North America
BOSTON - JULY 26: Actor Alec Baldwin attends a benefit evening for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial at the Boston College Club July 26, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The event was one of many social gatherings being held during the week of the Democratic National Convention. (Photo by Michael Springer/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Alec Baldwin

The often-tempestuous star was giving interviews for “The Last Shot” — about a government agent who poses as a Hollywood producer to catch mobsters — when he complained that there are too many movies to promote and that when movies fail, the stars are blamed.

“The problem is that most of the marketing that’s done now means ‘let’s get the actor out there to charge up the hill and if you get shot to pieces you get shot to pieces,’ ” Baldwin told DarkHorizons.com. “Get out there and do Letterman, Good Morning America, these tiresome tedious rounds of promotional things to raise the awareness again in a very crowded marketplace to call attention to your film. . . . It’s a bad, bad situation when there are just so many (darn) movies out there right now, which is ridiculous.”

At one point, a bitter-sounding Baldwin said that actors are treated like “suppositories” that are “inserted . . . into cavities of the movie-going public.” He said that he is trying to get the Screen Actor’s Guild to meet with the studio publicity departments to address the situation. Baldwin’s rep couldn’t be reached to explain how, exactly, he would propose promoting movies.

Notes from all over

Jennifer Graylock / AP
** FILE ** Britney Spears appears on set filming her new video when she injured her knee, in this June 8, 2004 file photo in Queens, New York. (AP Photo/Jennifer Graylock, File)

Ewwww! What’s with Britney’s hair? That’s what some fans of the pop star were wondering after seeing a photo of her posted on one of her fan sites. “What are those dark patches on her scalp?” shrieked one fan. “Are those hair extensions gone bad or is she going bald? . . . Nicole Kidman is blasting reports that she went into the hospital to be tested for brittle bones.  . . . Techno musician Moby isn’t exactly known for being a hottie, but that isn’t stopping him from some pretty snarky comments about President Bush’s apperance. “He looks like a cross between Mad magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman and Howdy Doody, but dumber,” Moby writes on his web site. “When he smiles it makes me want to flee in terror, like I’m looking at an evil clown-elf.”

Monday through Thursday on MSNBC.com.

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