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Vintage movie poster leads photog to big idea


French-born photographer Francis George kept thinking bigger while envisioning his next Las Vegas project.

“I wanted to do something different because everything is bigger than life here,” he said.

His voila moment came when he recalled a poster for the 1958 B movie “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.”

After a month of preparation it all came together in December when he spent eight hours photographing 6-foot Chinese model Karmay in various poses.

Later, she was Photoshopped into the scenes along the famed Strip by George’s studio partner, Francis Baytan.

“It was something we had on the back burner for a long time,” Baytan said. “The first idea was monuments. Lucky for us, we sat on it for a while, and more (iconic) buildings were built,” such as CityCenter, the Palazzo and the monorails.

“It feels like another city now,” he said.

Eight of the 12 photographs they collaborated on are part of the Francis + Francis “Larger Than Life” exhibition that runs until Aug. 31 at Brett Wesley Gallery, 1112 S. Casino Center Blvd.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Country music legend Willie Nelson put The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in a whole new light after his Tuesday concert there. Philanthropist Fred Smith joked to Nelson that before The Smith Center came along, his idea of a performing arts center “was a beer joint where you listened to Willie Nelson.” Nelson, 80, said, “Well Mr. Smith, this is a pretty nice beer joint you have here.” The center is named for Smith and his late wife, Mary, in honor of the $50 million gift by The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, then helmed by Fred Smith, who was chairman. ... Leon Spinks on Saturday returns to the scene of his shocking upset of Muhammad Ali on Feb. 15, 1978, at the Las Vegas Hilton (now LVH). A 60th birthday party celebration will begin with a 2 p.m. autograph session at the LVH race and sports book. At 8 p.m., headliners of “Raiding the Rock Vault” will salute Spinks.

SIGHTINGS

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with his wife, Landra, and a large group of friends at La Comida on Thursday night before heading to The Smith Center for Chris Isaak’s show. ... More on the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” film shoot in Northern Nevada last week: They caused quite a stir when they camped at an RV park in Alamo. According to the Lincoln County Record, Bruce Jenner told locals he wanted to take the family camping and one of the daughters wanted to get as close as possible to Area 51.

THE PUNCH LINE

“The NFL says they are going to crack down on excessive celebrations this season. The only time they will allow a celebration is when an NFL player is found not guilty.” — Jay Leno

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.