Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon at SXSW on March 8: A Social Phenomenon Turns 20

Written by Hugh Forrest | February 5, 2014

Kevin Bacon speaks at SXSW on Saturday, March 8

On Saturday, March 8 at 3:30 pm, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: A Social Phenomenon Turns 20” comes to Ballroom D of the Austin Convention Center. In today’s digital age, the success of a video, image or news story is determined by its ability to go social. Rarely does such a topic survive one news cycle, let alone two, and the idea that a social phenomenon would survive for two decades is unheard of. Unless you are Kevin Bacon

Arguably the first social phenomenon, the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon concept celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2014. Created by three college students at Albright College in Pennsylvania, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon has survived and thrived over the span of two decades to include a best-selling book, board game, app (The Oracle of Kevin Bacon), a charity (SixDegrees.org) and was most recently added to the Google search tool (the Bacon Number).

Bacon, who plays the starring role in this special March 8 session has established himself as one of the foremost actors of his generation. His talent for balancing starring roles with powerful supporting characters on both film and stage has allowed him to build a varied and critically acclaimed body of work. Currently starring in the hit FOX drama series, The Following (Mondays 9/8c), some of Bacon’s film credits include Oliver Stone’s JFK, Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men, The River Wild, Murder in the First, Ron Howard’s award-winning Apollo 13 and Balto; Barry Levinson’s Sleepers (with Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro); Picture Perfect (with Jennifer Aniston); Clint Eastwood’s Mystic; and Frost/Nixon.

At the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Bacon launched SixDegrees.org, a website that builds on the popularity of the “small world phenomenon” to create a charitable social network and to inspire giving to charities online. He started the network with other celebrities by highlighting their favorite charities, and he encourages everyone to be celebrities for their own causes by joining the Six Degrees movement. To date, the site has succeeded in raising more than five million dollars for charities around the world.

Brian Turtle, the co-creator of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon concept that originated in 1994, will moderate this special session at 3:30 pm on Saturday, March 8 in Ballroom D. The panel will include multiple SURPRISE guests with varying degrees of separation to the Golden Globe Award-winning actor. “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” is part of the Convergence initiative at SXSW 2014 and the session is therefore open to all SXSW Interactive, Film, Gold and Platinum badgeholders. Register now before prices increase on February 8 to be part of this special presentation.

Kevin Bacon photo by Michael Lavine.