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As the city prepares for next month's Pride festivities, it seems high time we discuss the hilarious Tumblr account that has all eyes on our gayest enclave. When in Philly Gayborhood, the funnier daughter of the already-established When in Philly Tumblr, follows a simple and effective formula: Take a typical, often highly specific Gayborhood situation ("When I'm trying to barter the Voyeur cover charge," for example, or "When I cut through Chancellor Street to get to Tabu," or "When the guy at Gay Pizza asks me how many slices I want") and illustrate it with a complementary gif file (Kristin Wiig in Bridesmaids mouthing "Help me, I'm poor," someone pulling off the track-to-track shortcut jump on Mario Kart's Rainbow Road, Mathlete Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls declaring that "The limit does not exist!"). Since its creation last month, the site's scored more than a quarter of a million views, but the person behind the keyboard remains a mystery — until now. We totally pulled our gay card to snag an interview with the blogger, who agreed to meet with us on the condition that we withhold his identity. So, in a dark corner of a little-known basement restaurant on Camac Street, we met to chat about what it feels like to become an overnight Internet sensation, his mission for the blog and why he thinks it's bringing families together.
City Paper: How did you come up with the concept for the blog?
When in Philly Gayborhood: I saw the When in Philly Tumblr and thought, "We need something like this for the Gayborhood." [I decided] I would make it and just send it to a bunch of my friends [for] a good laugh ... but all of a sudden it took off. I started my post Monday night and within two or three hours, I saw it on my Facebook news feed.
CP: It sounds like it ended up being a bigger project than you anticipated. Do you let other people contribute?
WIPG: I've had a lot of people write [to ask me to post about them], but I try to stay true to the Gayborhood and ... not promote anyone. Drag queens who haven't been on it are, like, "Please post about me!" And I'm, like, "When I find the gif that's right for you, it will happen."
CP: It's like your blog has become a marker of Gayborhood fame.
WIPG: I wouldn't say Gayborhood fame, exactly. I think I'm kind of calling out [things like] the boozing and the drag queens and things that people ... haven't necessarily voiced. The main thing I want people to take away from it is that I don't hate the Gayborhood. We literally have a six-block radius of gay businesses, and we can come here and feel like a community. I think [the blog] caught on so quickly because everyone's, like, "Oh my God, I can relate to that so much."
CP: It seems like your blog has filled a void in the community.
WIPG: I know after I created mine, one popped up in D.C., New York and Chicago. I don't know if it would have been successful if it had started in those cities, because those cities are so much bigger, but Philly is a smaller community where everyone could catch on.
CP: Was there any one post that received a crazy amount of attention?
WIPG: Oh, absolutely. The blog post that I get the most comments about is "While Cutting through the Parking Lot at 13th and Locust." It's a gif of Beyoncé [strutting through a parking lot in her "Crazy in Love" video]. People are, like, "I walk through that parking lot every single night and I think I know what I'm doing, because I know a shortcut," when [in reality everyone does it].
CP: Do you ever get negative feedback from people?
WIPG: I've gotten two comments saying that I'm gender-biased. I'm gonna say 98 percent of the blog is focused on the gay-male experience. But ... I really don't have any lesbian friends, and if I were gonna write about that I would just be writing about what other people think. That's not what I want to do.
CP: Do you feel like you have to hang out in the Gayborhood to understand your blog?
WIPG: No. I've gotten countless messages — from London, Brazil, all over the world — from people who are, like, "I read your blog and in my head I'm substituting the bar names for the gay-bar names in my city, and I get it." I had a guy [from the Gayborhood] tell me his mother, who lives in upstate Pennsylvania, sent him a link to my site, and he was, like, "How does my mother know about this before I do?" So I like to think my blog brings families together. I'm just one suicide note away from being an ABC Family original. Don't put that in there. Or you can, whatever.
Read more at wheninphillygayborhood.tumblr.com.