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Madonna Opening a Kabbalah Hotel?

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PLANNED: If Madonna’s prayers are answered, she’ll open a Kabbalah hotel and drop-in spiritual center in a five-story Georgian house in London’s Regent Park that she’s bought for a reported $14 million. Residents near the site, however, are not singing the praises of the plan, The Washington Post reports. One resident told Britain’s London Evening Standard: “Having a Kabbalah center would be totally inappropriate. It is a seriously manipulative sect which is very good at getting people’s money, including Madonna’s.” Asked this week if she thought her support of the sect had damaged her career, Madonna told NBC: “Absolutely not. I do know that there’s cynicism involved, but I accept it because it’s different. It’s something new to people and people are always guarded and suspicious of things that are new.”

SET: Friends star Matthew Perry, 35, will host the 2005 ESPY Awards, the sports network has announced. The 13th event will be held Sunday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre, and nominations will be announced June 24. “I have no doubt that the excitement and energy Matthew brings to everything he does will make the night something truly special for both avid and casual sports fans,” said Maura Mandt, the show’s senior coordinating producer, in a statement.

OFFERED: The Backstreet Boys are offering free tickets for its summer amphitheater tour, which kicks off July 22, reports. The quintet is teaming with Clear Channel and AOL Music to offer two-for-one tickets for the shows. Starting Friday, fans who visit and purchase two reserved seats for the summer dates will get two free lawn or mezzanine seats to the same show. No facility fees or ticket surcharges will be applied to the free tickets. Meanwhile, the Boys’ first studio album in five years, Never Gone (containing the single “Incomplete”) goes on sale Tuesday. The group is expected to launch a stadium tour next year.

SUED: Steven Seagal, 54, has been sued for $14 million for allegedly delaying production on two movies, the Associated Press reports. Seagal showed up late and left early while shooting Today You Die and Mercenary, routinely rewrote and changed scripts on the set, and brought an entourage that interfered with film crews, according to papers filed by Kill Master Productions and its sales agent, Nu Image. Because of his alleged actions, planned scenes were never shot, leaving the movie with a “material and irreparable problem with story logic,” according to the lawsuit, which also seeks unspecified damages.

REVIVED: Actor Hal Holbrook, 80, happened to be all over the news last week, when it was revealed that former No. 2 FBI man W. Mark Felt was the “Deep Throat” of Watergate – the mysterious journalistic source played by Holbrook in the 1976 movie All The President’s Men. This week, Holbrook is back in the news again for his other famous role, that of the “Huckleberry Finn” author in the one-man show, Mark Twain Tonight! A revival opened on Broadway Thursday night for a limited run, and the critics gave Holbrook an exceedingly warm welcome. “Remarkably fresh and topical,” The New York Times raved about the show.