Aug. 17 2011 10:37 AM

Our picks of events in San Diego this week

Friendship Park
Photo by Kinsee Morlan

1. Close the gap

“Friendship Park” is a bit of a misnomer. The plot of land where the southwestern-most corner of the United States meets Mexico is anything but friendly these days. With increased concerns about border security since 9/11, Friendship Park, at least on the U.S. side of the fence, has become more militarized; more fences have been constructed, making the place downright unwelcoming.

It’s sad, especially if you can remember a time when families separated by immigration status would use the border park as a place to meet up, share a picnic and even hold hands through the fence.

Those days are long gone, but Friends of Friendship Park, a San Diego-based coalition, is on the case.

They’re working hard to get the Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security to look at their plans for a new, more inviting design of the park, which has a long history of being a symbolic place that demonstrates solidarity between Mexico and the U.S.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, you can help make Friendship Park more friendly by attending the Binational Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Friendship Park. There will be a cross-border salsa-dance class; Congressmember Bob Filner will be there alongside Tijuana city representatives; Dan Watman of Border Encuentro will lead a symbolic watering of the binational Friendship Garden; and you can enjoy Son Jarocho music.

“I’m not going to quote her exactly correct, but when Patricia Nixon inaugurated the park back in 1971, she said something along the lines of ‘There shouldn’t be a fence anywhere,’” said Watman, an organizer of the event. “So, it’s kind of symbolic of our work of making more cross-border contact available.”

Meet at the parking lot of Border Fields State Park (1500 Monument Road in Imperial Beach) and hike in to Friendship Park.

2. Lucky 13

At the ripe old age of 13, FilmOut is one of San Diego’s longest running film festivals. The LGBT fest celebrates its 13th birthday with two weekends of gay-themed films at the Birch North Park Theatre. Things kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, with the short Go-Go Reject and the featurelength Going Down in LaLa Land. Along with highlights like The Green, which stars folks like Cheyenne Jackson and Julia Ormond, and a 15th anniversary screening of It’s My Party, there’s a free screening of I Was a Teenage Werebear at noon on Saturday, Aug. 20. Visit for a complete list of films, as well as showtime and ticket information, and make sure to pay attention to the parties. Like everything about FilmOut, they are fabulous.

3. Night riders 

Your mother may have forbidden riding your bike in the street at night, but you’re a grownup now. You eat cookies for breakfast and ride whenever you want. You can continue to disappoint your mom yet have a good, safe time at the Midnight Madness Fun Bicycle Ride. Riders are encouraged to don a wacky costume and join a gang of cycling mavericks for a 16-mile midnight ride on Saturday, Aug. 20. The meeting point is the south side of the San Diego County Administration Building (1600 Pacific Hwy.) at 8 p.m., where there’ll also be a costume contest at 10:30 p.m. Registration on the night of is $37. The fee will go toward San Diego Hostels’ youth education and outreach program. For a route map, see