Visual AIDS invites you to join us on June 28th for our VAVA VOOM benefit, as we honor activist filmmakers Jean Carlomusto and Tom Kalin, Icon of the House of Ninja Milton Garcia Ninja, and artist Frank Moore (1953-2002), the founder of the Visual AIDS archive. Their dedication, passion and creativity have strengthened all of our communities and speak to the heart of Visual AIDS’ mission.

VAVA VOOM - Visual AIDS Vanguard Awards & Spring Gala

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 from 6:30 - 9:30 PM

Dinner, Cocktails, Performances, Silent Art Auction 

Houston Hall, 222 West Houston Street, NYC

Honoring: Jean Carlomusto, Milton Garcia Ninja, Tom Kalin, Frank Moore (1953-2002)

Dr. Daniel S. Berger, Carlos Gutierrez-Solana, Jim Hodges, Michael Paley & Noel Kirnon, PPOW, Rafael & Diana Viñoly Foundation

Young Patrons Committee: Isaac Alpert, Eden Deering, Sydney Fishman, Hollie Pollak

Hosted by Jake Brush and Candystore

DJ Sets by Skype Williams

Botanical Tablescapes by Conrad Ventur in honor of Hunter Reynolds

Performances curated by DUPLEX

Silent Art Auction Powered by Artsy will launch June 15th,
including works by Robin F. Williams, Kyle Dunn, Christopher Wool, Doron Langberg, Frank Moore, Chris Bogia, Matvey Levenstein, Joyce Pensato, Lisa Yuskavage, Randy Wray, Sean Black, Anthony Viti, Tuesday Smillie, Gordon Kurtti, Kembra Pfahler and more...

Purchase online here.

Tickets and Tables:

$350 Friend Ticket / 2 Tickets $700

$500 Patron Ticket

$4,000 Patron Table for 8

$5,000 Co-Chair Table for 10

$10,000 Sponsor Table for ten

Limited Artist and HIV+ Friend Tickets are available for $175. Please contact info@visualaids.org for information.

We hope you can join us at VAVA VOOM
. Your support will help make this a special night!

Learn more here.

Buy tickets here.

Questions about buying tickets and tables or joining the Benefit Committee? Reach out to info@visualaids.org.


Jean Carlomusto is a filmmaker, activist, and interactive media artist whose work explores the complex nature of unique individuals and marginalized populations. Her films are often unorthodox investigations of LGBT history and HIV/AIDS. Her work has been exhibited internatonally in festivals, museums and on television. She produced and directed HBO's Emmy nominated documentary, LARRY KRAMER IN LOVE & ANGER, which was featured at the Sundance Film Festival. Other notable projects include:

COMPULSIVE PRACTICE, (Co-curatored by Alexandra Juhasz and Hugh Ryan, documentary, 60 min, 2016). Produced by Visual AIDS for A Day Without Art, this film focuses on nine extraordinary artists who, through the use of video, focus artistic expression on the daily experiences of living with AIDS. Also, in collaboration with Hugh and Alexandra, she co-curated, EVERYDAY, an exhibition for Visual AIDS, focused on artistic expression of the daily experiences of living with HIV/AIDS.

SEX IN AN EPIDEMIC, (Produced/Directed/Edited, documentary, 60min). A powerful documentary that tells the story of how the safer sex movement was born and how HIV prevention movements continue today. Premiered on Showtime on World AIDS Day, 2011.

OFFERINGS, an interactive video altar that commemorates AIDS activists, has been featured at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles and toured South Africa as part of the Stop AIDS/Make Art project. In 2016, it was part of EVERYDAY at LaMama Galleria, NYC.

SHATZI IS DYING, (Produced/Directed/Edited, documentary, 55 min, 2000), A multilayered treatise exploring queer culture, AIDS politics, life and death, traced through the near-death experiences of a beloved rescue dog.

TO CATCH A GLIMPSE, (Produced/Directed/Edited, documentary, 60 min, 1997). A film that delves into Jean’s family history by trying to find out if the rumors about her grandmother's death -- trying to rid herself of an unwanted pregnancy in 1939 -- are true. Museum of Modern Art, NYC, permanent collections.

L IS FOR THE WAY YOU LOOK, A short work that cobbles together lesbian history using whatever scraps of gossip and memory can be found, weaving a humorous portrait of a population’s creative tussle for visibility and inclusion. Aired on PBS/WNET.

Jean was an early pioneer in the AIDS Activist video movement. In 1987, she started the Media Unit at Gay Men's Health Crisis. She was a founding member of DIVA TV (a video affinity group of ACT UP) and a member of the Testing The Limits Video Collective. The numerous works that she collaborated on, included: Doctors, Liars and Women: AIDS Activists Say No To Cosmo, Target City Hall, Seize Control of the FDA, Testing the Limits:NYC, and Women and AIDS.

She is a Professor in the Media Arts Department and Director of the Television Center at LIU Post.


Milton Garcia Ninja (A.K.A. MGNinja) is an artist, cartoonist, voguer, dancer, choreographer and public speaker whose poetry alongside his cartoon vignettes portray aspects of his life and the lives of those around him. An Icon of the Legendary House of Ninja in NYC’s House/Ballroom scene, Milton inspires LGBTQ youth, young adults and other communities with his takes on beauty in the simplicity of life. In August 2002, Milton was diagnosed HIV positive and has never lost his commitment to enlightening everyone he knows and meets through his unique life experiences. Milton’s cartoon vignettes are a “pictorial diary” of his life experiences and what inspires and drives him. From subjects as simple as the color red and strawberries to complex issues such as infidelity in relationships and addiction, his colorful, playful and expressive cartoons will endure in your memory and your heart. Milton is an Artist Member of Visual AIDS and has worked with Visual AIDS on many projects, including creating artwork for PlaySmart condom kits, speaking on panels, and consulting on the Last Address Tribute Walk: Harlem in 2022.

Tom Kalin’s work traverses diverse forms and genres, from narrative feature films to short videos and mixed media installations to activism. His first feature, Swoon, was awarded prizes in Berlin, Stockholm, Sundance and the Gotham Awards. Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne, premiered in Cannes, screened worldwide and was named “top ten” by Artforum. As a producer, his films include I Shot Andy Warhol and Go Fish. He was co-writer of Cindy Sherman’s Office Killer.

In 1993, fashion designer Geoffrey Beene commissioned Kalin to direct a narrative film (with no dialogue) commemorating his 30th anniversary as a designer and starring Marcia Gay Harden, Claire Danes and Viveca Lindfors.

Kalin was a founding member of the AIDS activist collective Gran Fury, known for its provocative public work, which exhibited in the Venice Biennale and is in collection of the Whitney, MoMA and the Smithsonian among other institutions.

With frequent collaborator Doveman (Thomas Bartlett), Kalin exhibited in 2015 at Participant gallery with the live installation My Silent One (In The Sweetness of Time) and at Dublin’s National Concert Hall in a program inspired by Yeats. Bartlett, Kalin and actor Mandy Patinkin collaborated on a series of music videos, including a cover of Laurie Anderson’s seminal From The Air, which was integrated into Mandy’s 2018 and 2019 live tours.

In 2016, a retrospective of Kalin’s features and shorts was held in Ankara and Istanbul and in 2018, his films were installed in the museum show Music For The Eyes in the Santa Maria Della Scala in Siena.

Kalin received the Pride Award from the 2020 Ashland Independent Film Festival. He is a Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellow, has twice been included in the Whitney Biennial and has screened in venues including ICA, London; Reina Sofia, Madrid; The Cartier Foundation, REDCAT, MoMA and The Getty Museum among many others.

He directed the first episode of Pride (2021), a six part documentary series for the FX Networks about LGBTQ civil rights in America: his episode concerns the 1950s and features actor Alia Shawkat.

He was a major contributor to The Films of Andy Warhol, Volume 2, published by The Whitney Museum of American Art and Yale University Press in 2021. He also contributed an essay to The Oxford Handbook of Queer Cinema. His writing has appeared in ArtForum, Afterimage, Talkhouse, and The Village Voice among other publications.


Frank Moore was born in New York in 1953. He grew up on Long Island and spent his summers with his family in the Adirondacks. From his earliest youth, he had a strong interest in the natural world.

Moore attended Yale College, and spent a year in Paris at the Cite des Arts. He moved to the SoHo area of Manhattan in 1977. In addition to creating paintings and drawings, he designed sets and costumes and collaborated with several major choreographers and ballet companies. He formed a long-term partnership with choreographer and dancer Jim Self with whom he created the film Beehive in 1985, which was expanded into a ballet commissioned by the Boston Ballet in 1987.

In 1985, Moore and his partner, Robert Fulps, purchased a farmhouse in Deposit, New York. Renovating the house and establishing a flourishing garden deepened his connection to nature. He converted the barn on the property into a painting studio so that he could spend most of each summer, and much of the fall, in the country.

In 1985, Moore learned he was HIV positive. After his diagnosis, his work increasingly grappled with issues around AIDS, environmental degradation, bioethics, homosexuality, and health care. He became a noted AIDS activist. As a founding member of Visual AIDS, he was instrumental in creating and launching the Red Ribbon Project, which became a worldwide symbol of AIDS awareness.

Moore's first solo show was at the Clocktower in Tribeca in 1983. He had numerous one-person exhibitions most notably at Sperone Westwater Gallery, which continues to represent his estate. His work has been exhibited widely in the US and internationally, including in the 1995 Whitney Biennial, at Artists Space in New York City, the Parish Art Museum in Southampton, New York, and in museums in London and Japan. Moore received the Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999. A mid-career retrospective of his work opened at the Orlando Museum of Art in 2002, shortly after his death, and subsequently traveled to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.

Moore's work is represented in the collections of those museums, as well as in the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New York Public Library. A monograph on his work, Between Life & Death, was published by Twin Palms Publishers in 2002. His papers are in the collection of the Fales Library of New York University. A showing of the film Beehive was a highlight of the recent East Village Show at the New Museum of Contemporary Art.

As Roberta Smith wrote in her obituary in the New York Times:

Mr. Moore saw both sides of most issues, knowing that the advances of genetic engineering were keeping him alive yet deploring their effects on agriculture and human health. Linking his interest in AIDS and the environment, he once told an interviewer, "You cannot have healthy people in an unhealthy environment, and you can't have a healthy environment where unhealthy—greedy, exploitative—people predominate"

Roberta Smith, Frank Moore, "Painter with Activism on his Palette," The New York Times, April 26, 2002