Photograph: Courtesy of the city of Dubuque

The 1928 silent film Speedy will be screened at Dubuque’s historic Grand Opera House

He’ll Be There for a Cause

Want to revel in a world of vintage/indie cinema this weekend? Head for Dubuque, Iowa, where the annual Julien Dubuque International Film Festival runs Thursday, April 4, through Sunday, April 7. Over the course of the festival, roughly 70 films will be shown at 15 venues in the Mississippi River city. In addition to screenings, the fest includes free lectures from producers, directors, and writers, plus a chance to party with Gary Busey.

The films of the fest range from comic shorts (the award-winning 10-minute First Date) to full-length documentaries (Trans, a fascinating look at the life of U.S. vet and transwoman Christine McGinn) to independent feature films (Christina Ricci’s Civil War drama, War Flowers). Speakers include Brooklyn-based producer Holly Morris, the writer/director of PBS’s documentary Adventure Divas; the documentary producer Steve Michelson (Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives, River of Renewal, Burning the Future); and director Matt Coatsworth, whose eclectic roster of film credits include Gray Gardens and Saw 3D.

On Friday, April 5, Gary Busey will be on hand for the Cause We Can gala, which includes a screening of Busey’s Oscar-nominated turn in 1978’s The Buddy Holly Story and a Q-and-A session with the actor afterward; tickets to the event are $15, with proceeds going to the Busey Foundation for Children’s Kawasaki Disease. On Saturday, April 6, catch a celebration of silent film with a screening of 1928’s daffy comedy Speedy at the historic Grand Opera House (135 W. 8th St., 563-588-1305, The Harold Lloyd film will be backed by live music from a full orchestra under the baton of Robert Tomaro.

GO Julien Dubuque International Film Festival in Dubuque, Iowa. 563-588-4356,

Where to Stay: The Four Mounds Bed and Breakfast (4900 Peru Rd., 563-556-1908, has guest rooms in two mansions (a 105-year-old Arts and Crafts estate and a 1924 colonial revival) and a cabin overlooking the Mississippi River that sleeps up to four; rates range from $115 to $175 a night. Bernadine’s Stillman Inn (513 Bouthillier St., Galena, 815-777-0557, has seven luxurious guest rooms nestled on two acres of flower gardens, all within walking distance of downtown Galena, Illinois and a 30-minute drive from Dubuque; rates range from $240 to $550 for two nights.

Where to Eat: The L.May Eatery (1072 Main St., 563-556-0505, serves innovative comfort food (lobster lasagna, green chili burgers) and many gluten-free items. Pepper Sprout (378 Main St., 563-556-2167, has a new spring menu that features bison, stuffed quail, slow roasted shredded beef tortellini, and spring pesto bruschetta.