The Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda isn’t usually known as a punk rock sort of venue, but that will all change at least for one day.

Punk music will take over the Lumber City with the Western New York big screen premiere of the new documentary “The Gits” on Wednesday at the Riviera.

The film tells the story of the grunge-era Seattle band that was tragically derailed on its course to stardom due to the murder of lead singer Mia Zapata on July 7, 1993. The film was recently released on DVD.

The theater was approached to host the premiere by the Buffalo International Film Festival, said David Bondrow, artistic director at the Riviera Theatre. The film’s official premiere took place Monday in New York City, but the Riviera wanted to hold off until next week.

“We figured it would be something good for Canal Fest,” Bondrow said of setting the film premiere to coincide with the popular Tonawandas festival. “It’ll be something (young people) can get into.”

Bondrow hopes the Riviera Theatre’s connections with young patrons will become a trend. Popular indie-rock band the New Pornographers played a concert at the theater last October.

“I think we definitely want to attract a more youthful audience to the Riv,” Bondrow said.

Music will also be a part of the equation Wednesday night as local punk bands The Apologies and Prescription Happiness take the stage. The Apologies will kick off the night at 7 p.m. The documentary will be shown at 8 p.m. and Prescription Happiness will close out the night with their performance at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets cost $8 in advance and $9 at the door.


* WHAT: Western New York premiere of “The Gits”

* WHEN: Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

* WHERE: Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda

* MORE INFORMATION: Call 692-2413 or visit

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