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Mel Gibson's Church Worth $42 Million

Mel Gibson's Church Worth $42 Million | Elton John Broadway Bait and Switch | Madonna Likes Tumbling; Catherine Keener Than Us

Mel Gibson's Church Worth $42 Million

Mel Gibson has parked another almost $10 million in his Holy Family Catholic Church up in Malibu, California.

According to federal tax filings just made available online at guidestar.org, Mel now has a church with tax free assets of $42 million.

That’s a lot of worth for a congregation of less than 100 people. Among the church’s assets: art work listed at almost $500,000. Gibson lists three major expenses for 2007 including an architect and landscaper to help him keep building in and around the church. He also paid a law firm $69,000 for its services.

Holy Family is not recognized by the Catholic Church. And just to give you an idea of what’s going on here, relatively: Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York listed its total assets at the end of 2006 as just $3.4 million. That group gives millions away every year in charity. If Gibson’s church does the same it’s not reflected in the Holy Family tax returns. The $42 million seems more like a war chest.

Gibson is the single contributor to the church every year. He started building it several years ago for his father, Hutton Gibson, an avowed Holocaust denier and racist.

In 2006, Gibson himself was arrested for a DUI and spewed anti-Semitic, racist statements at police. The incident became a worldwide scandal.

Gibson is now shooting his first movie since the scandal, a film called “Edge of Darkness.” But that project has already had trouble when Robert DeNiro dropped out during the first week. He was replaced by Ray Winstone.

As for Hutton Gibson, it’s always good to keep track of him. He has a new website that opens with thunder and lightning illuminating Jesus on the cross, followed by the rubric: “Defending the faith of our Fathers.”

Elton John Broadway Bait and Switch

It was kind of a testy night at the New Amsterdam Theater last night on Broadway.

That’s because the performance of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by ‘Elton John and Friends’ turned out to be more Friends, less Elton, and not totally what at least half the audience expected.

The ‘friends’ were largely Broadway performers who were off for the night rather than Elton or his rock band or rockers at all. For those (like yours truly!) who plunked down $500 to see Elton John perform his classic album, this took a little adjusting.

Needless to say, the Broadway types in the audience were just thrilled to see “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” camped up and tricked out.

The main redeeming feature: that it was all for a good cause. The money went to the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Equity Fights AIDS/Broadway Cares.

But perhaps if Elton, and not actor Patrick Wilson, had opened the show with “Funeral for a friend/Love Lies Bleeding,” there wouldn’t have been hoots and hollers from the balcony of “I want my money back!” and “Where’s Elton?” Whoops!

Wilson, whose singing was not up to measure, was not the only mistake of the evening. Drag queen Joey Arias didn’t ingratiate himself with the rockers on “I’ve Seen that Movie Too.” Rufus Wainwright couldn’t sing “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” with a straight face, and John Cameron Mitchell made “Bennie and the Jets” a farce. Mary McBride wore a floor length gown and stood dead still while belting “All the Girls Love Alice.” And Stew, from “Passing Strange,” flounced into “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” He tried an old Elton trick, but nearly slipped off the piano after he slid onto it. Yikes!

Who saved the show: jazz pianist Ben Folds should get a purple heart for rescuing “Grey Seal” and “This Song Has No Title.” The casts of “Hair” and “The Lion King” were exemplary, respectively, on “Jamaica Jerk Off” and “Your Sister Don’t Twist.” Jane Krakowski got “Sweet Painted Lady” so right it was scary, and Sherie Rene Scott sent up Sarah Palin on “Dirty Little Girl” with a chorus of Palins.

But it was Sir Elton who people came to see, some paying really bigger bucks. The great Billie Jean King introduced him, and when Elton took over the deficiencies of the other performances became glaring. He wrapped up the night with the last three tracks from his classic 1973 double album: “Roy Rogers,” “Social Disease,” and a gorgeous delivery, with a choir, of the magnificent song, “Harmony.” Sir Elton even introduced Bernie Taupin, his longtime lyricist, a nice touch.

Mistakes aside, the performance of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” may have a silver lining. The material has held up beautifully, and really begs to be put on Broadway as a concert/revue show. Just seeing how Jane Krakowski handled her number showed what the potential was for a “Movin’ Out” kind of presentation and Elton and Bernie’s music.

So do send money this holiday season to www.ejaf.org. But get the most recent remixed CD of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Sir E himself, and let the Broadway people stick to their own turf.

Madonna Likes Tumbling; Catherine Keener Than Us

Ok, here’s the Madonna news of the morning: yesterday afternoon she watched daughter Lourdes take her weekly private gymnastic training at Chelsea Piers Field House, with two bodyguards along for the ride. My source says that Madonna paid minimal attention to the proceedings, disappeared for a while, then returned. Lourdes, they say, is very athletic, just like mom and dad Carlos Leon. (How long before there’s an MTV reality show called “My Sweet Lourdes”? Two years? Three?) London’s Daily Mail newspaper will undoubtedly steal this item since today they took our scoop about Alex Rodriguez buying an apartment near Madonna’s and our older story about his secret apartment. Go for it, you crazy, klepto Brits!...

…Talented, beautiful actresses Catherine Keener and Michelle Rodriguez took in last night’s New York Rangers game, then came over to the Waverly Inn with friends. Catherine is keener than we are on her new Charlie Kaufman movie, “Synecdoche,” a film that no one understands. Still, seeing her with Philip Seymour Hoffman in any movie is a good thing. They are phenomenal actors. Keener, by the way, is rapidly becoming the new Patricia Clarkson. She’s in three current films — “Synecdoche,” “What Just Happened,” and “Hamlet 2.” Then she’s just finished the new Nicole Holofcener film, plus “The Soloist” with Jamie Foxx, “Nailed” directed by David O. Russell, and Michael Winterbottom’s much admired “Genova.” Whew!... Also in the Waverly: Randy, from the Village People, reminiscing over truffle fries with Studio 54 party doyenne Carmen D’Alessio…

…Movie news: Universal Pictures is selling Rogue, the genre arm of Focus Features, to Relativity Media for $150 million. Next to go: Focus itself if Sean Penn’s Oscar bound “Milk,” about murdered San Francisco politician Harvey Milk isn’t a bonanza. Focus is still eating “Hamlet 2” losses, and the Coens’ “Burn After Reading” with Clooney and Pitt could have done a lot better had the company debuted the film not in Venice with bad subtitles but on home turf, at the New York Film Festival, instead. This was the marketing no no of 2008. Early word on “Milk” is Penn headed to the Oscar race, maybe the film, too. But is this “Brokeback Leche”? If there are tears over spilled “Milk,” Focus may find itself a gauzy memory…

Dee Dee Warwick, singing "You’re No Good" Rest in peace…