RazzleDazzle Barbershop's Taxpayer-Funded Video Is Not a Commercial, Says Owner

​"Welcome to RazzleDazzle Barbershop," the video says before cutting to a photo of a busty young woman in a skimpy Moulin Rouge-style outfit. "Haircuts with a view. Only $20."

As blogger Al Crespo pointed out last week, the video -- found on the City of Miami's homepage -- is straight-up creepy. It also raises a bunch of questions. First and foremost: Why is the city producing what looks like a commercial for a private business?

"It wasn't a commercial," says Razzledazzle owner Elena Linares, who appears in the video in a bowler hat and busty black corset. "It could easily be twisted that way, but it definitely was not a commercial."

Check out the video below and decide for yourself. Did we mention Mayor Tomás Regalado is in it? Classy!

The video first appeared on the City of Miami website about two weeks ago. But unlike most of the feel-good pieces intended to promote local culture or history, this one seems ripped straight from late-night TV commercials, like something you'd see wedged between an ad for boner pills and spray-on hair thickener.

Even though he's listed as the video's "executive producer," city communications director Angel Zayon didn't respond to repeated requests for comment.

But RazzleDazzle owner Elena Linares was able to shed some light on the strange commercial video, which appears to have been taken down since Crespo first wrote about it last week.

"The mayor's office decided it would be good to feature RazzleDazzle and the community," she said, explaining that the video was shot during an August 16 charity event for low-income families called Looking Cool on the First Day of School.

Despite its creepy intro -- where a man is being pampered by a half-dozen ladies in cancan outfits, including Linares -- and the openly advertised price of $20, the owner claims the video isn't a commercial.

"No, it's not promoting my business," Linares says. "It's promoting what I did for children. That's the facts."

She says Regalado wasn't paid to appear in the video, which would violate city rules. "Don't suggest that the mayor is doing anything not on the up-and-up," Linares says.

But Linares does have an idea for Riptide: She says she's in discussions to produce a reality TV show about the barbershop and its sexy ladies. Wouldn't we like to get in on it?

"RazzleDazzle will have its own reality show on a national network," she says. "Pitch the story for RazzleDazzle and write on it, honey."

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.