’Welcome to the Annual Dallas Litter and Puke Fest,” the shirt reads. “The wrong event for the right street. Brought to you by: greedy bar owners, an inept city government, Neanderthal beer corporations, tasteless radio stations, and hordes of alcoholics.” T.J. Tremmel, owner of The Tremmel T-Shirt Company, hated the annual Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day parade, which was officially banned this year, because it was terrible for his business. So he printed fifty of the shirts and sold them in less than three hours on the day of the abortive parade. The nearby Greenville Avenue Bar and Grill refused to serve Tremmel for six weeks thereafter (they have since waved the white flag) and the owner of the Blue Goose restaurant stopped in to say that he thought Tremmel was probably a homosexual.
Tremmel knew he had struck a nerve. “Dallas takes itself too seriously,” he says. “Nobody pokes fun at anything here.” So Trem-mel decided that he was the chosen poker, He poked DART with a rude acronym standing for “Forget About Rapid Transit.” The back of the shirt reads, “We’re here to get you nowhere.” Another target was the Dallas Arboretum: “A Public Park (if you have enough money) featuring secret agendas, an inept city government, destruction of the indigenous environment, private parties for the rich and your tax dollars.” Tremmel’s T-shirts are strictly different, and you’ll find all the best ones on the shelf labeled “Editorials, Semantics, and Rhetoric.”
Tremmel, obviously, is a cynic. “It seems that about five times a year someone with too much money or someone who wants to have too much money comes up with the next scheme that’s going to make Dallas a ’world-class, international city,’” he says. So what does he do? Hits ’em right where it hurts with another T-shirt. Just as he did recently with Cityplace.
The idea hit Tremmel while visiting a friend whose shop was located in the shadow of Cityplace’s massive east tower. When his friend mentioned that he was probably the only business left within a square mile of the site, inspiration struck: “PityPlace: A Debacle Within a City, featuring junk bonds, an inept city government, devastation of urban landscapes, granite curbs, and affordable development for the 22nd century.” And what will Tremmel pounce on next? “I thought Walker Railey was too pitiful, so I’m keeping a close eye on that PACE Amphitheater deal,” he says.