Hi, How Are You Day
ACL Live at the Moody Theater, January 22, 7 P.M.
by Neal Baker
Photograph by George Salisbury
Down on Guadalupe and 21st, you can always find a friendly amphibious face asking the same question: “Hi, how are you?” Behind Austin’s favorite friendly frog is artist and musician Daniel Johnston, an important longtime contributor to his artistic worlds as well as his home in Austin. Johnston’s career has long been marked — though never defined — by an ongoing struggle with mental illness, and the simple message of his famous mural provides the inspiration behind the new Hi, How Are You Project. The nonprofit stands in support of open conversation about mental health within communities and on a national scale.
As a result of the organization’s efforts, January 22 — Johnston’s birthday — was named Hi, How Are You Day by the city. 2018 saw the first such celebration, taking place at The Mohawk and featuring a fistful of Austin musicians celebrating Johnston’s art. This year’s celebration promises even more; in addition to its relocation to ACL Live at The Moody Theater, the night will be headlined by The Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo, The Moth and The Flame, and Built To Spill’s Doug Martsch, with the music starting at 7 p.m. and playing into the night. In addition to the coming together around music, the event and its participants believe in the removal of the stigma connected to the topic of mental health and the realization of a culture of communicating with one another about the unseen problems affecting so many of us.