hmm... or we could just get a black character or two on the actual QaF... But oops, that would be all of Em's screentime. In July 2003, during Black Gay Pride weekend in Los Angeles, Patrik-Ian Polk was standing in a club full of gay black men when he was struck by the thought that there wasn't a single series on television aimed at this audience. Polk decided then and there that he was going to do something about the situation. "I thought, 'I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to find a way that won't require the powers that be in Hollywood to write checks and say yes,'" explained Polk, who is perhaps best known as the writer/producer/director of 2001's "Punks," an independent film about four gay black men trying to find love in Los Angeles. "I said before I left that club that by the same time next year the show would be a reality." Polk's dream has indeed become a reality with the launch of "Noah's Arc," although the series isn't on television. Instead, it's available for purchase on DVD. Using his own money and funds solicited from successful gay black men eager to bring his vision to life, Polk made the series without the help of Hollywood. "There's no example to even point to that would suggest that [Hollywood] might be interested in a show like this," Polk said. In fact, Polk charges that even the gay white producers behind "Will & Grace," "Queer as Folk" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" can't be bothered to feature gay black male characters in leading roles on their shows. "You would think that gay people, having gone through what we've gone through, would be more open-minded. But the reality is, the gay community is just like America. It's just as racist. It's just as segregated. So it's not surprising that they don't [include gay black men] on those shows. They don't even think about it," Polk contended. "You would think in this day and age we wouldn't have a show like 'Queer as Folk' be completely all white." Polk points out that in the 1980s, it was the norm for television drama series, such as "St. Elsewhere" and "Hill Street Blues," to have at least one black character. "So it just baffles me why, from the project's inception, no one from the ["Queer as Folk"] organization, no executive at Showtime, nobody on the producing staff, nobody in the casting office said, 'Do all of these guys have to be white?' They all look like brothers. I really don't get it." "Hollywood is progressive, but not in terms of race," continues Polk, who has worked in development on films ranging from "Election" to "Soul Food." "I don't care anymore. Now I'm like, 'Fuck it.' We need to do our own shit because if we sit around waiting for "Queer as Folk" to wise up, we'll never see it." Polk poured his heart and soul into the making of "Noah's Arc," which plays like a cross between "Sex and the City" (one of Polk's favorite shows) and "Queer as Folk." The central figure is Noah (Darryl Stephens), a struggling screenwriter, who Polk swears is not based on him. Noah has just begun a relationship with a fellow screenwriter named Wade (Jensen Atwood), who has only recently come out. Noah's circle of friends includes Alex (Rodney Chester, who was featured in "Punks"), an HIV/AIDS counselor who has no problem keeping it real with his clients but who isn't so forthright with his anesthesiologist boyfriend Trey (Gregory Keith). Then there are Ricky (Christian Vincent), a playboy who owns a trendy clothing store, and college professor Chance (Doug Spearman), who has married Eddie (Jonathan Julian) and adopted his partner's 3-year-old daughter after only a brief courtship. Are any of the show's stars gay? "Our cast is about half and half -- half gay, half not," Polk says, declining to identify who was which. (He and the actors have decided that doing so would "take away from the show and the characters.") Polk says that over the course of the show's first season, it will explore all kinds of stories, ranging from the light (the top versus bottom issue) to heavier themes such as HIV and AIDS in the gay community. "AIDS is still such an issue in our community, and it's been proven to us that traditional methods of outreach and prevention aren't reaching our community. We don't have programming out there that can address these issues. We don't have a "Queer as Folk" that's doing storylines about HIV," Polk said. "So as long as I can [deal with HIV and AIDS] in a way that's not didactic or preachy, that's what I want to do." Episodes one and two of "Noah's Arc" will be available for purchase beginning in July through www.noahsarc.net. Meanwhile, Polk has found some interest in the series among television networks. He has had talks with the gay channel Here! TV and the soon-to-launch gay network Logo. "We'll see what happens. I would certainly consider it if anyone came to me with an offer. Anything that's going to get my show to a larger audience, I'm definitely down for, as long as creatively we can keep the integrity of the show intact," Polk commented. "In a perfect world, this show would be on HBO, and all would be right."