Above: Mariachi musicians at Silver City's Dia de los Muertos. Photography by Jay Hemphill.

“By the time I was 17, life was really whippin’ up and the son of a gun never stopped. It has been a dead run for 90 damn years and my ears laid back all the time.” That’s legendary New Mexico cowboy, novelist, and movie producer Max Evans in a new documentary previewing around the state this fall. Ol’ Max Evans: The First Thousand Years is a quirky, colorful romp through the life of a Western Renaissance man. The film shows at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe on October 20; at the KiMo Theater in Albuquerque on October 22; and at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces on November 4. Evans’ friend Peter Coyote narrates the film, while Sam Elliott gives voice to Evans’ writing. (505) 982-1338, ccasantafe.org; (505) 768-3522, kimotickets.com; and (575) 522-4100, nmfrhm.org

Fall celebrations of Día de los Muertos continue in Silver City October 29–November 2 with a profusion of art, color, joyful commemoration, and heartfelt remembrance. Join the Sunday parade, featuring local artists’ elaborate costumes and giant puppets. Then take in the street fair, mariachi music, food, crafts, and a children’s art exhibit. A midweek procession honors lost loved ones, with offerings at temporary altars throughout downtown. (575) 388-5725; nmmag.us/DiaSilverCity. (For more Day of the Dead events, see nmmag.us/Events-Oct17.)

College basketball is back! UNM’s Lady Lobos rip through an exhibition game against Eastern New Mexico University at the Pit (aka Dreamstyle Arena) in Albuquerque on November 1. The Lobo men start their season November 11, hosting Northern New Mexico. Can new men’s coach, Paul Weir (who spent 10 years at cross-state rival NMSU), work his sports-psychology magic? To prepare the team physically and mentally, he has them doing hot yoga, meditating, practicing critical-thinking skills—and running, running, running. Expect the Lobo defense to mount a full-court press; on offense they’ll lean on their high-altitude training to outrun sea-level opponents. Then get set for November 17, when Weir takes his Lobos to Las Cruces for the Aggies’ season opener with their new coach, Chris Jans, formerly of Bowling Green. Looking ahead, UNM hosts the top-ranked Arizona Wildcats at the Pit December 16. (505) 925-5626, golobos.com; (575) 646-1420, nmstatesports.com

About two dozen balloons take off November 3–4 in Artesia, and it’s all hands on deck. The Artesia Balloons and Tunes festival at Eagle Draw Park invites attendees to help crew the balloons and cheer along during the “Tunes” part of the event, when balloon pilots fire their burners in sync with music from the Artesia High School Band. Take note: This squad is so good it regularly earns State Honor Band awards. (575) 746-2744; artesiachamber.com

Calling all kings, queens, knights, faeries, and dragons. Jousting on horseback may be the hot attraction at the Renaissance ArtsFaire in Las Cruces, November 4–5, but ritualized equestrian warfare is a relatively new addition to the 46-year tradition. Lords and ladies anticipate this weekend, when wee urchins rule the Children’s Realm, and Magellan the Dragon inhabits the lake at Young Park, blowing smoke and roaring ferociously. Four stages present live theater, music, dance, jesters, jugglers, musicians, and puppet shows. Hie thee to the Dragon’s Eye Tavern for flagons of New Mexico’s own St. Clair wines and local beers. (575) 523-6403; daarts.org/ 2016-renaissance-artsfaire

Bestow your respect on those who served. The New Mexico Veterans Art Show opens November 10 at Expo New Mexico in Albuquerque. The juried event, open for three weekends in November, presents painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, and jewelry. Artists donate a portion of their sales to the nonprofit New Mexico Veterans Art project. nmveteransart.com

On November 11, the Gallup ArtsCrawl features a “Thank You for Your Service” theme. Downtown galleries and other businesses stay open late for a block party with live music, art and food vendors, carnival games, and the opening of a show at Art 123 featuring works by veterans. (505) 488-2136; galluparts.org/our-projects/artscrawl

More than 100 images from the popular Lowriders, Hoppers, and Hot Rods exhibit motor around the state this fall, after a successful nine-month idle at the New Mexico History Museum. Catch the November 11 opening at the El Morro Events Center in Gallup. (505) 863-1227; galluprealtrue.com

See a complete collection of 23 first-edition prints by celebrated artist Helen Hardin, the daughter of Santa Clara Pueblo painter Pablita Velarde, earned her own fame as an artist. Her uniquely abstract designs, including these copper-plate etchings, represented a contemporary take on ancestral imagery. Spirit Lines: Helen Hardin Etchings opens at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque on November 11 and runs through March 4, 2018. (505) 843-7270; indianpueblo.org

The 30th annual Festival of the Cranes alights on the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, November 14–19. More than a chance to see majestic migrating sandhill cranes, this is one of the oldest and best wildlife festivals in the country. Bird lovers and nature photographers flock in for tours, seminars, and workshops on animal behavior and wildlife photography. (575) 838-2120; friendsofthebosque.org

Taos jumps, jives, and grooves at the Frank Morgan Jazz Festival, November 15–19. Bebop over to the Taos Inn for a free opening show featuring the Doug Lawrence Quartet, with Pete Amal; other acts perform at the Taos Community Auditorium, Harwood Museum, and Taos Mesa Brewing. (575) 758-3147; taosjazz.org

Technically you’ll be sleeping near the stingrays, sea urchins, and sharks at the coolest slumber party in the state, the Aquarium Overnight at the Albuquerque BioPark, November 17. Make reservations for you and the kids, then grab your sleeping bags and flashlights. Meet animals in the touch pools, learn about sea life by doing crafts, and chill out in the theater watching ocean-themed movies. (505) 848-7180; nmmag.us/sleepwithfishes

Find your holiday gifts early at one of this month’s outstanding showcases of local arts, crafts, and food. Wander around the village of Placitas during the 36th annual Placitas Holiday Fine Arts & Crafts Sale, November 18–19. More than 75 local talents will show and sell their work at three sites. (505) 867-2450; placitasholidaysale.com

Score a one-of-a-kind gift with a history at the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival, November 17–19 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Every eye-catching item in this sale comes from at least 75 percent reused materials. (505) 603-0558; recyclesantafe.org

Load up on snacks for your foodie friends at Las Cruces’ HomeGrown: A New Mexico Food Show & Gift Market, at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, November 18–19. Now in its fourth year, this show boasts more than 60 vendors offering homemade salsa, wine, candy, honey, jerky, and more. (575) 522-4100; frhm.org

Get out and about on Thanksgiving weekend at the expansive Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival Holiday Show, November 24–26 at EXPO New Mexico in Albuquerque. (505) 222-9700; riograndefestivals.com

The very cool Taos Folk Pop-Up Gift Market, November 25–December 24, fills Stables Gallery with local jewelry, pottery, textiles, soap, books, music, wooden toys, and more. (575) 758-2052; taosfolk.com