November 17th, 2017
Press Contact:
Frankie Tartaglia
Fundraiser Benefit for the National Brain Tumor Society
A Retrospective of the Artistic Works
of Connie Villari Tartaglia


WHEN: Sunday, December 17th, 2017, 3:00pm – 11:00pm

WHY: Connie Villari Tartaglia has lived in South Philadelphia’s Italian Market most of her life. When she was 18 she ran away from home in an effort to escape a very strict Sicilian father and married Joe Tartaglia. Over the years, when times were tough, Connie found a tremendous amount of solace by escaping into her glorious, multicolored oil paintings. Those times would have been nearly unbearable if it were not for the love of her newborn son Jojo. During this period she churned out dozens of beautiful masterpieces, most of which she gave away to friends and family.
Eventually, the family welcomed another child, this one named Frankie. At that point, Connie packed away her paintbrushes to start a different kind of business in the Italian Market. Among the many fruit and produce stands, Connie opened a small electronics and knick-knack store and called it “Connie’s Ric Rac,” which she ran for nearly twenty years.
Over the years, her sons Jojo and Frankie worked as actors, movie producers, and musicians. After living in New York for a few years, they returned in 2006 to their roots and re-opened Connie’s Ric Rac. Only this time as a performance art venue. In just a few years, the ‘Ric Rac’, became a staple of the Philadelphia music scene. As the Ric Rac grew, both as a business and a community of artists, Jojo became gravely ill. He began to suffer splitting headaches, blurry eyesight and the inability to operate his legs. The bizarre symptoms sent him to the ER one day and he was quickly diagnosed with glioblastoma, also called GBM, a lethal type of brain cancer. Within 6 short months, the disease took Jojo’s life, leaving the family, including his three children Vienna, Joseph, and little Frankie, devastated. Connie would stare into her yard every morning hoping to see a red bird believing it to be Jojo visiting her from the beyond. After some time, she dusted off those old paintbrushes and began again. Out of this tremendous tragedy came something beautiful, the re-birth of an artist.
“I just like to play,” she often says as she works on paintings in her kitchen that overlooks her beautiful garden.

Frankie, upon noticing the pileup of new paintings in her house, had an idea: Connie deserves to have these works displayed.
Being modest about her talents, it took some coaxing from Frankie to convince his mother to have a showing of her works. “I’ll do it,” she said, “but only if all the proceeds go to brain cancer research”.

Fundraiser Benefit for the National Brain Tumor Society &
Retrospective of the Artistic Works of Connie Villari Tartaglia

Sunday, December 17th, 2017
3:00pm – 11:00pm

Musical performances to be announced.  For updates, RSVP to the event on Facebook at

Paintings and Prints will be for sale.
All proceeds will benefit the National Brain Tumor Society.


About Connie’s Ric Rac
Connie’s Ric Rac is an event venue located on The 9th Street Italian Market in South Philadelphia, presenting local and regional music, comedy and performing arts. The Ric Rac has been a mainstay in the Philly scene since it’s inception in 2006. It’s underground, DIY atmosphere has drawn the likes of prominent Philadelphia artists such as Amos Lee and Dead Milkmen, as well as national act comedians Hannibal Burress (SNL, 30 Rock) and Matt Besser (Upright Citizens Brigade).

Frankie Tartaglia
Founder, Creative Director
Connie’s Ric Rac

South Philly’s Home For Live Original Music