SKIRT! JUST PEACHY

At this rate, she’ll be giving Condé Nast a run for the money. Nikki Hardin, the Kentucky native and self-made media mogul who dreamed up Skirt! magazine 12 years ago (with just a yen for an outlet for her own poetry and no real publishing experience) is pushing still deeper into the Peach State with her free monthly women’s lifestyle magazine. After establishing a surprisingly successful niche for herself in Charleston, Hardin cut a buyout deal with Augusta-based Morris Communications in December 2003 that called for versions of Skirt! to be published in Savannah, Augusta, Athens, and Jacksonville. Last year, the franchise marched into Charlotte. Now, as of May 1, women (and probably plenty of men, too, if Charleston is any example) in Atlanta, Ga., will be perusing a localized version of the smartly designed tabloid-sized newsprint magazine, which Hardin describes as “part fashionista, part feminista.” The magazine’s total current circulation is in the neighborhood of 205,000, though an ATL circ is certain to ratchet that number up considerably. The Atlanta franchise will be edited by Stephanie Davis, a former assistant editor for GQ. “Skirt! celebrates women — their work, play, families, creativity, style, health and wealth, bodies and souls,” Hardin says. How it’s going to celebrate traffic gridlock, out-of-control sprawl, and going head-to-head with Creative Loafing’s seeming stranglehold on cosmetic surgery ads remains to be seen. —Patrick Sharbaugh

CHAMBER MUSIC COMING OUT OF WOODWORK!

In the wake of last week’s news of the disbanding of the Chamber Music Society of Charleston, it looks like the Department of Music at the College of Charleston’s School of the Arts heard opportunity knocking. They’ve stepped up to fill the gap by announcing a new series of chamber music concerts and a festival to take place in the 2006-2007 season. For the moment, the series and the festival remain unnamed, but we do know that artistic direction will be shared by violinist Lee Chin and cellist Natalia Khoma, who were brought to the College partly to promote a chamber music and strings program. In addition to Chin and Khoma, the first season will feature acclaimed musicians such as CofC pianist (and International Piano Series founder) Enrique Graf, cellist Suren Bagratuni, pianist Volodomyr Vynnytsky, and Randolph Kelly, principal violist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. According to organizers, venues and dates for the concerts and festival will be announced later this summer. —PS