From the Editor

Embracing our connectedness

Published: Wednesday, June 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 30, 2005 at 11:30 a.m.

It's summer and the Six Degrees of Gainesville competition is heating up.

Never heard of it? It's our own little offshoot of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, created in the mid-`90s by three Pennsylvania college kids who bet every performer could be connected within six or fewer links to actor Kevin Bacon.

(And yes, the game was inspired by the film "Six Degrees of Separation," with its message that we are all more closely connected than we think.)

For a city of relatively modest population, Gainesville has surprising, globecrossing links from Hollywood to Hong Kong. Hence, it's worthy of its own version of the game.

Here's one example, right from within these pages:

Clint Eastwood and Gainesville, - How many degrees of separation?

Two, thanks to best-selling mystery writer Michael Connelly.

Connelly, who is profiled on page 33, is a University of Florida graduate and the author of popular crime-fiction novels. One of his books, "Bloodwork," was made into a film directed by and starring - that's right- Clint Eastwood.

(While this game may not pack the intellectual heft of grandmaster chess, it might come in handy if you're ever stuck in an elevator with a stranger.)

Gainesville's so tied in with the world because we're a community of globetrotters. That's especially true in the summer.

Many decamp for the entire season for places afar and lives very different. If you've ever wondered where they go and what they do when they get there, turn to "What I did last summer," on page 53. You'll meet Gainesvillians whose summer adventures range from studying the architecture of Hong Kong to researching fish anatomy off the coast of Maine.

You'll also read about those among us who escape the Florida heat to North Carolina abodes, recreating their community - complete with friends from home - in the mountains (page 62).

And then there are those of us who don't travel far geographically, but remake our lives every summer, such as the doctor who helps run a summer camp for children with diabetes or the family that bonds at the beach as they work to save endangered sea turtles.

On our cover is Gainesville native son Grant Thompson, an Oak Hall and Harvard grad who has been carving out an acting career in California. He's been highly visible with a recent stint on ESPN's "Dream Job," in Geico Insurance's popular "tiny house" television commercial (he plays the husband) and in his guest-starring turn on "The OC." Thompson shares his humorous perspective on the ups and downs of his chosen career on page 24 - and contributes to the Six Degrees of Gainesville competition by offering intriguing links to Hollywood.

For example, Gainesville and "Spiderman?" An easy three degrees, through Thompson, who had a small role as a quarterback in the cheerleading film "Bring It On," which starred Kirsten Dunst, who also starred in ... "Spiderman."

Adding a nice little twist, Gainesville actually boasts its own pretty impressive "Bacon game" score connecting the city to Kevin Bacon himself. Follow carefully now, because it's a bit complicated:

Longtime UF sociology professor and chair Mike Radelet moved to the University of Colorado a few years ago, where he is chair of its sociology department. A colleague there, Patti Adler, is the sister of actress Kyra Sedgwick, who is the wife of ... Kevin Bacon. Giving Gainesville a not-too-shabby score of four degrees oaf separation!

Do you have your own contributions to the Six Degrees of Gainesville game? Send them to me at levinej@gvillesun. com, and we'll share them.

In the meantime, thanks again for the support you have given Gainesville Magazine. This issue, our 12th, marks the magazine's second anniversary, and it's no exaggeration to say it owes its essence to your help and inspiration.

We wish you happiness, safe travels and many "close connections" wherever you venture this summer.

On a sad note: Just as this issue was going to press, we received word that construction company owner and philanthropist Charles Perry died suddenly of a heart attack. Chuck and his wife, Nancy Perry, a member of this magazine's advisory board, have been enthusiastic and generous contributors to good causes throughout the community. We extend our condolences to Nancy, their family and friends.

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