The cellphone thing was actually part of a large PR push last summer to curb cellphone use among the Hassidic population - Talmudic scholars didn't spend much time pondering the implications of social networks. The peak of the activity was a more-or-less "secret" meeting at the new Citifield, with overflow in Arthur Ashe. It was a pretty crazy event, from what I hear from some folks who worked the thing.
Hi! I'm one of the event's organizers. In this instance, it meant "every dollar that passed to our hands from the club" - this was proceeds from the door. After we tallied that up and added in some other donations we cleared $1,050.
Other times this means other things - ideally, we like to make money back on room rentals and artists fees, so we can do it again next time. These shows aren't designed to make money for a cause, they're designed to bring the NGO's name into a context that's less of a bummer than their cause - hence, AB rapping to feed folks. If a show is enough of a beast, we'll negotiate "rates" with the NGO we're working towards as well.
LOOK OUT FOR: Chris 'Daddy' Dave and Z's, somewhere in January, on behalf of we're not sure yet...
I'm the projections programmer, and I can tell you first-hand all three acts are definitely worth multiple sit-throughs. And don't even get me started on how sexy Michael Count's idea of an "opera set" is.