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Friday, January 28, 2022

A thousand words about the Turlington Dancer

<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-f52c9a75-55b5-8fef-f33e-3507679f4813"><span>Dennis Kane, the self proclaimed "peace guy," makes a peace sign with his fingers on Turlington Plaza on Thursday afternoon.</span> <span><br class="kix-line-break" /></span></span></p>

Dennis Kane, the self proclaimed "peace guy," makes a peace sign with his fingers on Turlington Plaza on Thursday afternoon.

He picks out the tiny shorts at Goodwill. They show off his quads.

He responds to Dennis, but his full name is Dennis Harran Kane.

His mother, Barbara, named him after his great-grandfather.

His parents met and fell in love in Tallahassee. That’s where they first started a family.

He doesn’t like to say his age. He was born in 1975, but he’ll let you do the math (he’s 41).

He moved to Tampa early in his childhood.


Dennis Kane graduated from George D. Chamberlain High School in 1993.


As a kid, he had a miniature Schnauzer named Clyde Von Snyde. He looked forward to playing with him after school and remembers that “he was a crazy, rambunctious kind of creature.”

He hated nature, but liked being in Boy Scouts.

His older brother, Jason, “was never the most positive role model.” They lived together until he was 13.

He was shy, but hated being alone.

He played the viola.

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As a teenager, he would lock himself in his bedroom, turn off all the lights and listen to popular AM radio personalities like Michael “Lionel” Lebron and Bob “Mad Dog” Lassiter.

At George D. Chamberlain High School, he earned a perfect score on his Advanced Placement calculus test and was an athlete on the 1991-1992 Chamberlain Chiefs wrestling squad. He graduated at the top of his class.

He received a scholarship to the University of Florida, where he studied engineering and listened to Nirvana and Pearl Jam.


Kane lies on his bed in Room 1112A of Fletcher Hall during his freshman year at UF.


As a student, he often sat and watched the ducks by the Reitz Union pond while asking himself metaphysical questions like, “What is the world?” and “Who am I?”

He lived in Fletcher Hall, where he remembers playing Nintendo and watching the O.J. Simpson car chase on live television.

He hates long questions, but loves long answers.

After two years of college, he dropped out.

His parents tried to re-enroll him, but he refused. “He didn’t like the idea of memorizing things and spitting them back out for a good grade,” his mother said. “He wanted to understand things in a deeper way.”

Kane sits on the floor of his dorm in Yulee Hall during his sophomore year at UF.


He was a taxicab driver with United Cab Company until he got in an accident and lost his job. He drove pedicabs, delivered pizzas and spent his summer months working at Adventure Island water park in Tampa.

In 1997, he joined the Army.

He never failed to impress the drill sergeants at basic training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. His unparalleled physical fitness earned him rough-and-tough nicknames like “Billy Badass.”

He ran away from the Army — twice.

When he was flown back to base after escaping a second time, his sergeant was waiting for him at the airport, ready to officially discharge him from the military.

He started to lose his hair.

Doctors told him he might have bipolar and affective disorders. He still refuses an official diagnosis. “Who doesn’t have high highs and low lows?” he’ll say. “It’s not a literal thing, it’s more artistic.”

In 2008, he drove to California, where he chose homelessness to feel “absolutely embraced by Mother Nature.” He slept on the beaches of Santa Monica and Los Angeles, but would stay in shelters when the weather got cold.

He stood at the University of California, Los Angeles campus and held up a peace symbol sign, just because. They called him the “Peace Guy.”

He is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds. He exercises for 30 minutes every day to keep his muscles active. His favorite workout is the static leg squat.

He wakes up at about 9 a.m. to blog about philosophy and computer programming. “Time is nothing other than the infinite fullness that is the self. Time, in the strictest sense, is simply the absolute fullness that is given by pure experience,” he once wrote. He then eats a slice of toast with cream cheese.

He doesn’t want to be remembered “for any stupid, hand-holding, kumbaya, save-the-world kind of s---, because nobody believes in that anyway.”

He once tried to create a software program that “could take over the world.” Now he uses his computer to post photos of himself modeling in women’s clothing.

He is looking for love, but has yet to find it.

Once a week, he buys a microwave pizza and a 16 ounce can of Bud Light from a gas station before downloading a movie to watch.

He never talks about his income. “There are specific people out there who are my guardian angels as far as money goes,” he says. “The thing that I occupy my life with is changing the world, being the Peace Guy.”

He yells at frat boys and catcalls at girls. He likes being loud.

He knows his shorts are too short. He doesn’t care.

He was charged with trespassing on Turlington Plaza in 2012 for making threatening statements to students. He moved to a public sidewalk 5 feet from campus and continued his performance.

He sees himself as an outsider who doesn’t conform. A noble savage, he’ll say.

He travels almost everywhere on his black Hyper SpinFit bicycle. There’s a basket on the back for his backpack and the two or three water bottles he brings to campus with him each day. The almost 5-mile bike ride from his home to Turlington Plaza usually takes him half an hour.

He estimates the police have been called on him more than 20 times for disturbing the peace.

He sometimes wears a pair of earplugs to drown out the noise of the busy world around him.

On his way home from Turlington Plaza, he likes to stop by the Starbucks on Archer Road to download YouTube videos on philosophy to his Google Chromebook laptop. He’ll make a salad and watch the videos later that night.

“I have the tendency to get a little bit emotional,” he’ll say. “But I like to liven things up.”

His favorite color is blue, and he wears gray shoes.

You’ve seen him before.

You will likely see him again.

His name is Dennis Harran Kane.

Contact Max Chesnes at and follow him on Twitter at @chesnesmax

Dennis Kane, the self proclaimed "peace guy," makes a peace sign with his fingers on Turlington Plaza on Thursday afternoon.

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