Elow was the stage name of Erich Lowinsky, a Weimar-era cabaret Conferencier.
He is perhaps most famous for his Kabarett De Namenlosen ( Cabaret Of The Nameless) which debuted in 1926 at the Monbijou Cabaret -formally The Weisse Maus- in Berlin’s Friedrichstraße. The concept was simple and would be easily recognisable to a modern-day audience. Anyone who applied was accepted to perform for the public. Elow received over 180 replies to his first advertisement for acts and hosted 15 acts at a time on Monday nights in front of a paying audience.
Inevitably, the acts were dreadful. Some convinced that the night would give them their ‘big break’ and set them on the road to fame and fortune, others just deluded amateurs, some mentally ill or schizophrenic.
The performers were greeted with laughter and heckling from the audience and many left the stage distressed and in tears.
The critics were outraged, describing the venture as “sadism” and “typical Berlin bad taste”
Unlike its’ modern-day ancestors, it was a relatively short-lived venture.
Elow is repeatedly, and incorrectly, referred to in books, journals and websites about the period as Erwin Lowinsky. His name was in fact Erich Lowinsky
I am indebted to his grandchildren Miriam and Steve Alexander for contacting me, supplying the above picture and allowing me to correct this oft-repeated mistake.