Good reviews

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By David Giuliani

A movie project tied up Bridge Street for four days last week, but the crews are getting good reviews for their treatment of merchants.

Tito Chavez, owner of Tito’s Gallery, said he believed it was the first time that everyone on the street received at least some compensation from a movie company for the street being shut down at times.

“They talked to us and listened. They talked to those who were positive about it and negative about it. They won over negative people,” said Chavez, co-chairman of Las Vegas’ new Independent Business Alliance.

He added that film crews for the movie, “Paul,” gave merchants two months’ notice.

Earlier in the summer, the city enacted stricter regulations for movie projects in response to merchants’ complaints that they had been given the shaft in the past. The debate even attracted the attention of the Los Angeles Times.

Last week, signs at both ends of Bridge Street indicated that businesses were open. And Tito Chavez’s wife, Mary Chavez, said that their shop saw customers during the days of filming.

She said the compensation wasn’t a huge amount, but it “took the edge off.”

“It helped pay some of our overhead,” she said.

Mary Chavez said customers were allowed to come to their store through their front door most of the time, although sometimes the street was closed for a little while during shooting of scenes.

Justin Abreu, a senior at Robertson High School, said he knew a member of the film crew, so he was able to be in a few background shots. He got to see a Bridge Street store that was converted into a comic book shop for the movie set.

“There was a lot of really old ‘Star Wars’ stuff in the store that every kid dreams about having,” Abreu said.

He said there were  about eight takes that lasted 40 minutes — only for a few seconds of the movie.

Cindy Collins, the executive director of MainStreet Las Vegas, said she has heard nothing but good things about the filming. She said the film company removed the banners along Bridge Street and “very kindly” put them back up after the shooting was finished.

She also said the film company improved the Popular Dry Goods sign, putting the long missing “r” in the first word — to help with the scene.

“The film company bent over backward,” she said.