"Mad Men" star Vincent Kartheiser declined to confirm to me this Internet chatter about whom he's dating.

Since the relationship is right there on Kartheiser's Wikipedia page, I was just trying to double-check data. "I can't talk about it. If you weren't press, I could," said Kartheiser with a kind, sly smile even though he hadn't been feeling his best. He was overcoming what he believed was an unpleasant encounter with a mussel at a local restaurant that shall go nameless. "It was goooooood," Kartheiser said, "but I felt sick today; ate something wrong."

The Minnesotan who plays an ambitious, scummy young ad man on the Emmy-winning AMC TV show was unfailingly polite at a private garden party thrown Thursday at the home of Dr. Leo Furcht -- head of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and chair of the board of directors, University of Minnesota Physicians -- and his beloved, Katherine Roepke. The Roepke Public Relations owner is an long-time friend of mine and a member of the Minnesota Film Board of Directors, for which she threw this fundraiser starring Kartheiser.

Roepke always throws a fabulous soirée. One Roepke touch was the high-top tables adorned with potato chips and French onion soup mix dip. Furcht didn't get it. But I'm guessing the couple that dressed up like it was the 1960s recognized this snacking staple from that decade.

Chef Asher Miller, of the eponymous catering company, was in the kitchen turning out interesting items like "fried chicken and watermelon bites with creamy coleslaw." Imagine a miniature wooden pizza peel holding a cube of watermelon topped with a cube of fried chicken capped off with coleslaw. Delish. Miller is a former exec chef at 20/21, where he recalled seeing me trying to keep up with Wolfgang Puck back in the day.

International Cigars' Maria Caram was stationed in the beautiful garden with its pond and waterfall and water lilies, creating the smokes, which, like gardening, is one of Furcht's passions.

Caram was rolling complimentary cigars: big ones for men and women and cigarillos with leaves dipped in cream caramel that were designed to appeal to women. (The one I smoked didn't taste like caramel.) Caram, who rolled more than 100 cigars, endured a fair number of dense remarks from partygoers, my favorite being: "You've done this before?" But she wasn't the only one enduring indignities.

Kartheiser and I were out front preparing to shoot a video interview when we were interrupted.

"OK, so you just have to hit this," said a woman I'm going to call Ms. In The Moment -- MITM for short -- as she shoved her iPhone into my hand. "I don't know you but my stepson does," MITM told Kartheiser. He just laughed, wrapped his arm around her and smiled as though she had said something NICE. She was just warming up. "It doesn't even have to be that good," she said of the photo I was about to take. "It just has to be, you know, in the moment."

Kartheiser was amused by her "moment" comment if not her behavior.

It was a snapshot of how clueless people forget their manners and treat celebrities like objects instead of human beings.

"They don't even introduce themselves," said Kartheiser, unperturbed. "They just give the camera to you. OK, next time I'm getting paid."

By the time Kartheiser left the party he'd probably had enough of being a cause célèbre.

He missed an extraordinary private concert at an unscheduled after-party.

Vocalist-pianist Jason Richards was the garden party entertainment. One of the guests was jazz musician and composer Billy Peterson, who told me he recently auditioned for Lionel Richie (already having Steve Miller, B.B. King and Prince on his résumé). Peterson introduced a gentleman from Germany who's reportedly shooting a series of specials about cities with huge music scenes tentatively titled "Funky Town."

Richards relinquished the piano bench to Peterson and to an audience of five they performed an extended version of Earl Brent's "Angel Eyes" popularized by Ella Fitzgerald.

"Just amazing. I mean wow, what a treat to have those guys doing what they love," said Furcht.

What a shame that Kartheiser got musseled out of the entertainment fun.

Strange bedfellow

Ryan Hoag, the darling Twin Cities virgin -- not that I seek a status update every time our paths cross -- is inexplicably on ABC's "Bachelor Pad."

The new season of the raunchy show, which looks like the last place for a virgin, began airing Monday. According to the website:

"Ryan is a person who stands strong in his beliefs and is one to let it be known. He did not find love on DeAnna's [time as 'The Bachelorette'] and is not going on 'Bachelor Pad' to find it either -- he is here for the money."

That first sentence in his bio would suggest that Hoag, a high school dean and former NFLer, remains pure.

I just want to know if he's going to try to sing "My Girl" to Olympian athlete Lolo Jones, who exaggerated that being a virgin is more difficult than training for the Olympics. See video.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9.