Prairie Fire: Episode 10 - March 2024


On this episode of Prairie Fire, we take you to Taylor Studios in Rantoul. They create and manufacture the actual exhibits you see in museums nationwide. We’ll visit Flesor’s Candy Kitchen in Tuscola, one of the finest providers of hand-dipped chocolates, and hand-made caramels, sweets and fountain sodas in Central Illinois. And we remember Mark Rubel, a true pioneer of the local music scene and someone who left a lasting impression throughout the audio recording world.

Flesor’s Candy Kitchen

Her grandfather started it. Her dad took it over. She ran it with her sister, and now Devon Flesor Story and her husband and partner Bob are solidly in charge of Flesor’s Candy Kitchen in Tuscola. Devon tells us stories of how Flesors has remained the best confectionery shop in Central Illinois for generations. So what if it involves a few knife chases, ghosts, and a crabby mother. And don't get her started on their strict breakfast and lunch hours.

Taylor Studios

Have you ever wandered through a museum and wondered how an exhibit actually gets made? We visit Taylor Studios in Rantoul, a leading exhibit design and fabrication firm right here in Central Illinois.

For more than 30 years, the artists, designers, and project managers at Taylor Studios have been creating engaging displays inspired by storytelling and immersive experiences. We meet with members of the staff, and they invite us into the studio to see how pieces begin on the shop floor and transform into final museum displays, like the woolly mammoth statue on the UIUC campus.

Remembering Mark Rubel

We look back at the life of Mark Rubel, who was a fixture of Central Illinois’ music recording scene for more than 30 years. At Pogo Studio in Champaign, Ruble recorded everything from rock bands to university ensembles. He worked with Alison Krauss, Rascal Flatts, Ludacris, Adrian Belew, Luther Allison, Jay Bennett, Melanie, Ian Hobson, Henry Butler, and many more.

In Nashville, he educated generations of audio engineers and producers with his signature humor and a curious mind.

In 1980, he started a band with friends on a whim, and for over 40 years “Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets” entertained crowds with their trademark shows.

His loss is felt all throughout the music community, and many artists and past students took to social media to talk about the impression he left.